One of my goals for 2018 is to see 12 new places in Georgia to help it feel more like home; readers and friends poured in with suggestions and we’ll be spending the rest of forever exploring things now! We had a lot of time constraints this month so we decided to explore an urban legend (or is it??) in Georgia. Enter in… the Autrey Mill monkey massacre memorial.
When we saw the Autrey Mill monkey massacre memorial on a website suggestion, we knew this was right up our alley of funny things we have visited. Interesting enough, no one around here that we spoke to had actually heard of it. We like kitschy roadside trips…. it is really as simple as that; this is why we visited the biggest ball of stamps, why my husband took me to a town that had the yellow brick road, and why I’ve seen and hugged the largest ball of twine twice.
Autrey Mill monkey massacre memorial
What exactly was the monkey massacre?
According to the website Atlas Obsscura:
According to folklore, a circus train crashed near Duluth, Georgia sometime in the early 20th century. Dozens of escaped monkeys scampered into the woods. The local farmers had never seen such creatures before, and set out to shoot and kill every single one in what would become a legendary monkey massacre.
An anonymous artist created a set of monkey statues to commemorate the dark moment in the area’s history. Supposedly, the unknown sculptor wanted his creations to send a message that not understanding something is not a reason to want to destroy it.
However, Atlanta Journal Constituion seems to make it pretty clear that they think the monkey massacre is folklore. Either way, I’d love to think that no monkeys were shot and it is just a funny story 😉 .
Location of the monkey massacre memorial
The Autrey Mill Nature Preserve & Heritage center was established in 1989 and is 46 acres of trails. The site is located at: 9770 Autrey Mill Rd, Johns Creek, GA 30022. If you locate the public restrooms at the center, the Forest Trail where the monkey massacre memorial is located, begins by the women’s restroom side. Apparently the monkey statues are often moved around, but we had no idea! The monkey’s normal position is usually arranged in a circle next to a park bench about two or three minutes of a walk into the trail.
The monkey massacre memorial trail itself is pretty short. The trail begins with several places to stop for children to play, including a teepee and an art installation, where kids are allowed to bang on metal as loudly as they would like. The trail has a free cell phone tour you can take and the only thing you have to worry about is tripping on tree roots. The trail isn’t stroller friendly by any means, but it would be an easy trail for a family because it has so many loops to turn around and many covered stopping points.
We already have our trip for next month planned out and we plan on doing some bigger day trips once work is less busy for Devin. I can already tell that exploring Georgia more at least once a month is going to become my new favorite weekend thing to do though. Our destinations may not always be as interesting as the Autrey Mill monkey massacre memorial, but we can only hope 😉 .