The Piedmont Region of Georgia

A Virtual Exploration of Georgia's Land of Red Clay

By Georgia Public Broadcasting

Physiographic Regions of Georgia (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

With more than 4.5 million inhabitants, the Piedmont is Georgia’s most populous region. Located north of the Fall Line, this region is characterized by rolling hills, shallow valleys, and red clay soil. A unique feature of the area is the presence of monadnocks, or granite rock outcrops, such as Stone Mountain, Panola Mountain, and Arabia Mountain.

Piedmont Region Map (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

The word piedmont means foothill and describes an area of land sloping from the foot ("pied") of a mountain ("mont") to an adjoining lowland. Prominent cities in the Piedmont region include Macon, Columbus, Athens, and the state capital of Atlanta.

Manufacturing based in these and other urban centers is the primary commercial industry of the region; however agriculture, mainly in the form of poultry production, is also a significant enterprise.

Georgia's Largest Cities - Piedmont (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

The Piedmont contains Georgia's two largest cities in population and geographic area, Atlanta and Augusta.

Georgia's Minerals - Piedmont Region (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

The Piedmont region contains pockets of granite, gneiss, gold, mica, and feldspar.

Granite Stones (2012) by Hans BraxmeierGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Granite is a type of igneous rock that is composed of quartz, feldspar, mica, and hornblende. Stone Mountain and Arabia Mountain were once quarried for granite.

Feldspar (2007) by Dave DyetGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Feldspar is a group of minerals that can be found in igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. It is a key ingredient in the manufacture of glass and clay.

Lepidolite (2010) by Rob LavinskyGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Mica consists of a group of minerals that possess very similar characteristics. Ground mica can be found in cosmetics, such as eyeliner and blush, and in some plastics used by the auto industry.

Piedmont Region | Regions of GeorgiaGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Atlanta Skyline From Buckhead (2007-01-08) by Koehler, ChuckGeorgia Public Broadcasting

The Piedmont region is the most populous region in the state and is home to several major cities, including Atlanta, Augusta, and Athens.

The Sandhills of Georgia | Georgia Outdoors (2019) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Stone Mountain (2007) by KyleandMelissa22Georgia Public Broadcasting

Enormous rock outcrops known as monadnocks are a unique feature of the Piedmont. Stone Mountain, one of Georgia’s seven natural wonders, is an example. These exposed masses of bedrock can only be found in the five states that cross the Piedmont region.

A Legacy of Land | Georgia Outdoors (2018) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Ocmulgee Earth Lodge (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

The Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park, located near the Fall Line in Macon, Georgia, protects prehistoric Native American ceremonial mounds that were created during the Mississippian period, beginning around 900 CE.

Unearthing the Past | Georgia Outdoors (2018) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Georgia's Rivers and Lakes (2015) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Lakes and rivers in the Piedmont region provide municipal water for highly populated areas like metro Atlanta and host recreational opportunities around river cities like Augusta and Macon.

East Palisades (2012-04-29) by KeizersGeorgia Public Broadcasting

The Chattahoochee River flows through the Piedmont region and south into Florida, where it meets with the Flint River to become the Apalachicola.

Enchanted River: The Chattachoochee | Georgia Outdoors by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Stone Mountain Quarries, Stone Mountain, DeKalb County, GA (1910) by Watson, Thomas LeonardGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Granite has been commercially quarried from sites throughout the Piedmont, including the town of Elberton, which is known as the “Granite Capital of the World.”

Rock outcroppings like Stone Mountain, Pine Mountain, and Arabia Mountain were also historic sources of this durable and decorative rock. Taken in 1910, this photo depicts one such quarry at Stone Mountain.

A Legacy of Land | Georgia Outdoors (2018) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Did You Know - Piedmont (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Did you know that the Piedmont region is known for its red clay soil, its lucrative chicken industry, and its Little White House, the beloved second home of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt?

Chicken (2015-05-02) by YvonneHGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Although dairy and beef cattle are also raised in the Piedmont, poultry is the region's main livestock industry.​ Georgia consistently ranks as one of the top five chicken broiler producers in the country, with nearly 18 billion dollars in revenue each year.

Roosevelt Receiving Physical Therapy (1928) by Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & MuseumGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Warm Springs in Meriwether County is the home of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s historic Little White House.

Suffering from partial paralysis due to the debilitating disease of polio, he visited the area 41 times over a period of nearly 20 years. The temperature and mineral content of the natural springs helped relax his muscles and allowed him to swim for long periods of time. Warm Springs is one of Georgia’s seven natural wonders​.

Georgia Red Clay (2015) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

One of the best-known characteristics of Georgia is its red clay, which is especially widespread in the Piedmont region. Iron oxides in the soil create the striking color.

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