Big Red Apple
The Big Red Apple and Tallulah Falls Railroad Depot, Cornelia, GeorgiaSynopsis:

Cornelia's Big Red Apple, located at the old train depot in downtown, pays homage to the apple and apple growers of the county. Built of steel and concrete in 1925 the statue, according to Habersham County, The Big Red Apple weighs 5,200 pounds and is 7 feet high (it sits on a pedestal, so it is significantly taller than 7 feet).

Why a statue to an apple?

Towards the end of the Great War (it wasn't called World War I until World War II came about), "Extension agents" began to play a very important role in northeast Georgia. These people, as a group, supported the end of the one-crop (cotton) economy. Throughout the state they began to educate farmers in crop diversification so that if one crop failed income from other crops could support the family. In Gwinnett, Cherokee and Hall County, farmers increased production of dairy products. The peach crop in Bartow County was expanded. In Habersham and Gilmer Counties farmers increased production of apples (and peaches, but that's a different story).

Older view of the Big Red AppleThe Extension Agents push for this diversity seemed almost prescient, for in 1922 the boll weevil began the systematic destruction of cotton crops in the state of Georgia. By 1924 cotton output had dropped to 50% of earlier levels. In 1925 the people of Cornelia realized that the apple had been a key in preventing the scourge that destroyed other counties and drove rural families to cities like Atlanta and Macon. The concept for the statue was born, thanks in part to the newly formed Kiwanis Club.

At the dedication on June 4, 1926 many notables attended, including Senator Walter George. This however, is not the end of the apple crop story. Because apple sales were off dramatically in 1932 local farmers decided to put them in cold storage until the following Spring, but the sales did not materialize, so the farmers were not only out the cost of raising the crop, they were also out the cost of storing the crop. By the summer of 1933, the apples that had saved the county less than 10 years earlier nearly destroyed it.

Through the years downtown Cornelia changed dramatically. As the railroad era passed the old depot was closed and boarded up, and the once central location was only a side street. A recent renovation has brought the depot back to life and the quiet "Big Red Apple" is the focal point of a yearly festival held the first week in October and a 5K road race held at the end of October.

Location: Downtown Cornelia
Directions: Take Level Grove Rd. east from U. S. 441 to 129 Bypass. The Big Red Apple and the depot are directly across the street from this intersection.
Additional information:
Date added: November 16, 2003
Last update: December 2, 2003

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