is the Capital of


See Also Atlanta

born and raised in Atlanta...lived there forty years...not anymore though...I didn't outgrow it... Atlanta outgrew me...

That's been the essence of Atlanta though, and the reason it always has been the Big Apple of the south. Growth! In the early 1800's, the western edge of america's frontier, at least in the south, was no farther than where Atlanta is now. Obviously the first people here were the Native Americans, mostly from either the Creek or the Cherokee nations. But the Creeks ceded their land to the State of Georgia in 1825 and the Cherokees departed ten years later, when under the Treaty of New Echota, they moved west, an act now known as just one part of the Trail of Tears.The white settlers who came next were mostly farmers and craftsmen from the Carolinas, Virginia, and North Georgia. These were hard-working, God-fearing, small land owners, thanks to a lottery disbursement system, who built churches and schools, and until they departed, lived peacefully with their Cherokee neighbors.

Thanks to the steam engine, the Georgia Congress envisioned a more proficient way to get goods and services from the Georgia coast, inland to this now somewhat bustling area of the Piedmont Plateau and beyond, where roads, rivers and people, all began to converge. The railroad had arrived and this area, soon to be called Terminus, would be the terminal for the new railroad ; The Western and Atlantic Railroad of the State of Georgia. After surveying several different routes, Colonel Stephen Harriman Long "drove a stake in the red clay of Georgia" to designate zero milepost. Atlanta did, in essence, grow up around this milepost, that was positioned in what is now underground Atlanta, near Five Points in downtown Atlanta.

This now bustling community resembled more of what would come to be known as the wild, wild west, rather than the deep, deep south. Full of energy and loaded with land speculators, visionaries, salesmen, con-artists, thieves, and various merchants, this little settlement was becoming "a railroad center with the vices common to rough frontier settlements... Drinking, gambling dives, and brothels were run wide open." Even so, some citizens thought better of the community and the name. In 1843, Martha Lumpkin, the daughter of the Georgia Governor, Wilson Lumpkin, had enough "pomp and circumstance" to change the name from Terminus to "Marthasville", in honor of, guess who. But that didn't last long either. In 1845, the Chief Engineer of Georgia's second railroad, the Georgia Railroad, decided Atlanta was a much more suitable name for this community. This process took a couple years before finally in 1845, the city of Atlanta was officially incorporated. Whether the new name had anything to do with the Atlantic part of the railroad or the fact that Martha Lumpkin's middle name was Atalanta, was certainly food for thought. Whatever the reason, Atlanta had arrived.

And in the next twenty years, Atlanta had its first major growth burst, not only in population, where it reached 10,000 people, but in regional importance. There was a reason General William Tecumseh Sherman and the Union forces of the Civil War decided to burn Atlanta. It had become the supply and shipping center of the Confederate Army. With four rail lines, iron foundries, warehouses, mills, banks, and virtually every kind of manufacturing facility needed to support a war effort, Atlanta was about to be Gone With the Wind. With an effort that began in Chattanooga, Tennessee in July, 1864, Sherman drove to, and burned Atlanta, in a seige that lasted a month before Atlanta surrendered on September the 2nd. Before he continued his march to Savannah, Sherman ordered this city in flames, evacuated and "all buildings of possible use to the confederacy destroyed." Left in rubble with only 400 structures left standing, Atlanta once again showed its true spirit. In a post-war rebuilding effort, Atlanta became the "hub of southeastern commerce" and doubled its pre-war population.

Once again, the central theme of growth and transportation reigned supreme. From the initial one-mile city limit, Atlanta spread from the central business district downtown, in a circular pattern, outward towards its new and evolving neighborhoods. West End's upper class residential and business community was now rivaled by the new and prosperous black enclave, which became known as the "sweet Auburn" district. Architecture in the newly designed city ranged from various Victorian styles to the Italianate design of the new railroad depot. In the 1890's, this depot would become the home of Southern Railway, and with the convergence of ten rail lines, Atlanta easily retained its dominance as the railway center of the south.

A series of fairs and expositions began in the 1880's and helped Atlanta fight periods of recessions until the turn of the century. In order to attract northern mills to this area, The International Cotton Exposition of 1881 and The Cotton States and International Exposition of 1895, had the desired effect. Textile mills did move to Atlanta, the largest of which, the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills, built its own housing district, known now and then as "Cabbagetown." Only a few miles away, the downtown area received its first "skyscraper" in the eight-story Equitable Building. Developed by Joel Hurt, who with the help of reknown architect Frederick Olmsted also developed Inman Park, the city's first planned residential community. With growth raging, developers and visionaries designed and developed suburbs and parks, including Piedmont Park in the center of town, which today serves as the finish line of the Peachtree Road Race, as well as the home of the annual Atlanta Arts Festival.

After World War I, the building boom rekindled with development of more high-rise buildings and hotels. Large retail stores were now needed to accommodate the demand of travelers to the city. Office buildings became an investment, as did railway and insurance interests. By 1929, with the on-set of The Great Depression, thanks to architect Haralson Bleckly, the cities streets bridged the railroad gulch; a plan which included boulevards, walkways and paths and was known as the "Beautiful Beaux Arts Tradition." Post-depression architectual styles were mostly revival elements of Gothic, Colonial, and Commercial styles. Druid Hills, Buckhead, and Ansley Park became the last of "intown" neighborhoods before suburban sprawl raised its ugly head.

After World War II, Atlanta's growth continued to escalate with businesses like Coca-Cola, UPS, and the Center for Disease Control selecting Atlanta as its national headquarters. In the '60's, Atlanta became a center for Civil Rights, with Atlanta native Martin Luther King, Jr. coordinating non-violent demonstrations for equal rights for all citizens. Not too many years later, this equality was finally made evident with the election of Atlanta's first black mayor, Maynard Jackson. In 1996, Atlanta hosted the Summer Olympics. Also known as The Dogwood City, Atlanta continues to grow, as evidenced by the traffic clogged perimeter highways, and it continues to prosper. I'm proud to have been a part of its growth, albeit a small part, and although it has outgrown me, it will never outgrow the fond memories of the city and the people who live there. To this day, there is nothing quite as appealing as the southern accent of a born and bred Atlanta girl. Really.


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