Atlanta(redirected from Atlantan)
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Economy and Transportation
Points of Interest
Notable sites include the capitol (1889), housing the state library; the city hall; the Woodruff Arts Center, home of the High Museum of Art and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; the Fernbank Museum of Natural History; the state archives building; the Altanta History Center and the huge Cyclorama of the Battle of Atlanta; Oakland Cemetery, containing Civil War dead; “Underground Atlanta,” a four-block tract covered for 50 years by a viaduct system and restored as a tourist district; the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site, including King's birthplace and grave as well as Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he preached; Grant Park, with a zoo and Confederate Fort Walker (restored); and the Georgia Aquarium, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and other attractions clustered around Centennial Olympic Park. The Carter Presidential Center (1986) contains a museum and library dedicated to former President Jimmy Carter as well as a forum (part of Emory Univ.) for the discussion of international issues.
Many departments of the federal government have branches in and near Atlanta, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; also there are Fort McPherson, headquarters of the U.S. 3d Army, and a naval air station. The Atlanta penitentiary (est. 1899) is one of the most widely known U.S. federal prisons. The city's numerous parks are famous for their dogwood blooms. Nearby is Stone Mountain Park, with enormous relief carvings of Confederate figures and a 19th-century plantation, reminiscent of the Atlanta depicted in the film Gone with the Wind (1939). Also in the area are Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park (see National Parks and Monuments, table) and Six Flags Over Georgia, a large theme park.
Atlanta is the seat of Emory Univ., Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State Univ., Oglethorpe Univ., the Atlanta School of Art, and Atlanta Univ., with its adjacent and affiliated schools: Clark, Morehouse, Morris Brown, and Spelman colleges. The city is home to the Atlanta Braves (baseball), Falcons (football), and Hawks (basketball).
Hardy Ivy, the first settler, built (1833) a cabin on what had been Creek tribal land. The town, founded (1837) as Terminus, one end of the Western & Atlantic rail line, was incorporated as Marthasville in 1843 and renamed Atlanta in 1845. It became a rail and marketing hub and in the Civil War was a communication and supply center; it fell to Gen. W. T. Sherman on Sept. 2, 1864 (see Atlanta campaign). Most of the city was burned on Nov. 15, before Sherman began his march to the sea. Rapidly rebuilt, it thrived as a commercial and industrial center, and became temporary (1868) and permanent (1877, following a popular vote) capital of Georgia. Conventions and expositions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries drew attention to the city's growth and strategic position. In 1973, Atlanta became the first major Southern city to elect an African American as mayor, Maynard Jackson. By then it was already losing residents to its rapidly expanding suburbs; in the late 1990s the metropolitan area had a population close to 4 million, and “sprawl” had become a major concern. This number continued to increase, topping 6 million in the 2020 census.
In 1981, Andrew Young was elected mayor, serving for two terms through 1990, and hosting the Democratic National Convention there in 1988. In 1996, Atlanta hosted the Summer Olympic Games, an event marred by the Centennial Park bombing, in which two people were killed and dozens injured. In 2001, Shirley Franklin was elected mayor, the first Black woman to lead a major Southern city and Atlanta's first female mayor. In 2008, the first recorded tornado (since weather records began in 1880) tore through the city's downtown, doing damage to major sporting arenas and other buildings. Keisha Lance Bottoms (2017-21) served as the city's mayor during a period when riots occurred following the shooting of George Floyd and the subsequent killing of Rayshard Brooks outside of a fast food restaurant in the city. Widely viewed as a rising star in the Democratic party, she surprised political insiders by declining to run for a second term.
See T. A. Hartshorn, Atlanta (1976), H. H. Martin, Atlanta and Environs (1987).