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A Place Called Peachtree

This lovely city was once an American Indian village and its name translated to “Standing Peachtree”. The land that has become the Atlanta Metropolitan area was gotten from the Cherokee Indians and Creek Indians in 1822. The first white settlement was established in Decatur.

On December 21, 1836, it was decided to build the Western and Atlantic Railroad so that there would be a trade route to the Midwestern U.S. When the railroad was beginning to develop the settlement was named “Terminus”. By 1846 there were six buildings and thirty residents and the town got a new name “Marthasville”. As time went on the Chief Engineer of the Georgia Railroad suggested the name “Atlantica-Pacifica” after the Western and Atlantic Railroad but the name was shortened to Atlanta and the town was incorporated on December 29, 1847.

During the Civil War Atlanta became the hub for military supply distribution due to the railroads. The Atlanta region became the target of the major invasion of northern Georgia by the Union. It was the region of several major army battles. The burning of Atlanta started on November 11, 1864, as General Sherman and his army torched all of the buildings burning them to the ground, preparing the march of his army to the southeast. Those who have seen “Gone With the Wind” know what that looked like and the city was really destroyed but the churches and hospitals were spared.

When the Civil War ended in 1865 the rebuilding of Atlanta was gradual and U.S. Army soldiers stayed at McPherson Barracks in southern Atlanta from 1867 until 1888.  In 1868 Atlanta became the capital of Georgia. It was unfortunate that as the city grew so did ethnic and racial tensions and in the Atlanta Race Riot of 1906 27 people died and more than 70 were injured.

Atlanta hosted the movie premiere of “Gone with the Wind” on December 15, 1939. The stars in attendance were Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland, and Hattie McDaniel as well as legendary producer David O. Selznick. It was held at Loew’s Grand Theater which has since been demolished. The reception took place at the Georgian Terrace Hotel.

During WW II manufacturing industries such as the Bell Aircraft Company set up a large factory in the northwestern suburb of Marietta. There was also the manufacture of railroad cars. The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were founded in Atlanta. In the 1960s the city was a major organizing center of the Civil Rights Movement. In 1961, Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. became one of the few Southern white mayors to support the desegregation of the city’s public schools.

Atlanta was proud to host the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. Afterward, many people chose to relocate to this beautiful city.


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