Friday, July 3, 2015

Atlanta, Georgia

 

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This article is about the city in the U.S. state of Georgia. For other uses, see Atlanta (disambiguation).
Atlanta, Georgia
City
City of Atlanta
From top to bottom left to right: Atlanta skyline seen from Buckhead, the Fox Theatre, the Georgia State Capitol, Centennial Olympic Park, Millennium Gate, the Canopy Walk, the Georgia Aquarium, The Phoenix statue, and the Midtown skyline
From top to bottom left to right: Atlanta skyline seen from Buckhead, the Fox Theatre, the Georgia State Capitol, Centennial Olympic Park, Millennium Gate, the Canopy Walk, the Georgia Aquarium, The Phoenix statue, and the Midtown skyline
Flag of Atlanta, Georgia
Flag
Official seal of Atlanta, Georgia
Seal
Nickname(s): Hotlanta,[1] ATL,[2] The City in a Forest,[3] The A,[4] The Gate City.[5] (See also Nicknames of Atlanta)
Motto: Resurgens (Latin for rising again)
City highlighted in Fulton County, location of Fulton County in the state of Georgia
City highlighted in Fulton County, location of Fulton County in the state of Georgia
Atlanta is located in USA
Atlanta
Atlanta
Location of the city of Atlanta, Georgia
Coordinates: 33°45′18″N 84°23′24″WCoordinates: 33°45′18″N 84°23′24″W
Country United States
State Georgia
Counties Fulton, DeKalb
Terminus 1837
Marthasville 1843
City of Atlanta December 29, 1847
Government
 • Mayor Kasim Reed
 • Body Atlanta City Council
Area
 • City 132.4 sq mi (343.0 km2)
 • Land 131.8 sq mi (341.2 km2)
 • Water 0.6 sq mi (1.8 km2)
 • Urban 1,963 sq mi (5,080 km2)
 • Metro 8,376 sq mi (21,690 km2)
Elevation 738 to 1,050 ft (225 to 320 m)
Population (2013)
 • City 447,841[6]
 • Density 3,380/sq mi (1,306/km2)
 • Urban 4,975,300
 • Urban density 2,540/sq mi (979/km2)
 • Metro 5,522,942[7] (9th)
 • Metro density 660/sq mi (255/km2)
 • CSA 6,162,195[8] (11th)
 • Demonym Atlantan[9]
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code(s) 30060, 30301-30322, 30324-30334, 30336-30350, 30353
Area code(s) 404/678/470
FIPS code 13-04000[10]
GNIS feature ID 0351615[11]
Website AtlantaGA.gov
Atlanta (Listeni/ætˈlæntə/, locally Listeni/ætˈlænə/) is the capital of and the most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia, with an estimated 2013 population of 447,841.[6] Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, home to 5,522,942 people and the ninth largest metropolitan area in the United States.[7] Atlanta is the county seat of Fulton County, and a small portion of the city extends eastward into DeKalb County.
Atlanta was established in 1837 at the intersection of two railroad lines, and the city rose from the ashes of the Civil War to become a national center of commerce. In the decades following the Civil Rights Movement, during which the city earned a reputation as "too busy to hate" for the progressive views of its citizens and leaders,[12] Atlanta attained international prominence. Atlanta is the primary transportation hub of the Southeastern United States, via highway, railroad, and air, with Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport being the world's busiest airport since 1998.[13][14][15][16]
Atlanta is considered an "alpha-" or "world city",[17] ranking 36th among world cities and 8th in the nation with a gross domestic product of $270 billion.[18] Atlanta's economy is considered diverse, with dominant sectors including logistics, professional and business services, media operations, and information technology.[19] Topographically, Atlanta is marked by rolling hills and dense tree coverage.[20] Revitalization of Atlanta's neighborhoods, initially spurred by the 1996 Olympics, has intensified in the 21st century, altering the city's demographics, politics, and culture.[21][22]

 

    History

    Main article: History of Atlanta
    Prior to the arrival of European settlers in north Georgia, Creek and Cherokee Indians inhabited the area.[23] Standing Peachtree, a Creek village located where Peachtree Creek flows into the Chattahoochee River, was the closest Indian settlement to what is now Atlanta.[24] As part of the systematic removal of Native Americans from northern Georgia from 1802 to 1825,[25] the Creek ceded the area in 1821,[26] and white settlers arrived the following year.[27]
    Marietta Street, 1864
    In 1836, the Georgia General Assembly voted to build the Western and Atlantic Railroad in order to provide a link between the port of Savannah and the Midwest.[28] The initial route was to run southward from Chattanooga to a terminus east of the Chattahoochee River, which would then be linked to Savannah. After engineers surveyed various possible locations for the terminus, the "zero milepost" was driven into the ground in what is now Five Points. A year later, the area around the milepost had developed into a settlement, first known as "Terminus", and later as "Thrasherville" after a local merchant who built homes and a general store in the area.[29] By 1842, the town had six buildings and 30 residents, and was renamed "Marthasville" to honor the Governor's daughter.[30] J. Edgar Thomson, Chief Engineer of the Georgia Railroad, suggested the town be renamed "Atlantica-Pacifica," which was shortened to "Atlanta".[30] The residents approved, and the town was incorporated as Atlanta on December 29, 1847.[31]
    By 1860, Atlanta's population had grown to 9,554.[32][33] During the Civil War, the nexus of multiple railroads in Atlanta made the city a hub for the distribution of military supplies. In 1864, following the capture of Chattanooga, the Union Army moved southward and began its invasion of north Georgia. The region surrounding Atlanta was the location of several major army battles, culminating with the Battle of Atlanta and a four-month-long siege of the city by the Union Army under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman. On September 1, 1864, Confederate General John Bell Hood made the decision to retreat from Atlanta, ordering all public buildings and possible assets to the Union Army destroyed. On the next day, Mayor James Calhoun surrendered Atlanta to the Union Army, and on September 7, General Sherman ordered the city's civilian population to evacuate. On November 11, 1864, in preparation of the Union Army's march to Savannah, Sherman ordered Atlanta to be burned to the ground, sparing only the city's churches and hospitals.[34]
    Atlanta in ruins during the Civil War, 1864
    After the Civil War ended in 1865, Atlanta was gradually rebuilt. Due to the city's superior rail transportation network, the state capital was moved to Atlanta from Milledgeville in 1868.[35] In the 1880 Census, Atlanta surpassed Savannah as Georgia's largest city. Beginning in the 1880s, Henry W. Grady, the editor of the Atlanta Constitution newspaper, promoted Atlanta to potential investors as a city of the "New South" that would be based upon a modern economy and less reliant on agriculture. By 1885, the founding of the Georgia School of Technology (now Georgia Tech) and the city's black colleges had established the city as a center for higher education. In 1895, Atlanta hosted the Cotton States and International Exposition, which attracted nearly 800,000 attendees and successfully promoted the New South's development to the world.[36]
    During the first decades of the 20th century, Atlanta experienced a period of unprecedented growth. In three decades' time, Atlanta's population tripled as the city limits expanded to include nearby streetcar suburbs; the city's skyline emerged with the construction of the Equitable, Flatiron, Empire, and Candler buildings; and Sweet Auburn emerged as a center of black commerce. However, the period was also marked by strife and tragedy. Increased racial tensions led to the Atlanta Race Riot of 1906, which left at least 27 people dead and over 70 injured.[37] In 1915, Leo Frank, a Jewish-American factory superintendent, convicted of murder, was hanged by a lynch mob, drawing attention to antisemitism in the United States.[38] On May 21, 1917, the Great Atlanta Fire destroyed 1,938 buildings in what is now the Old Fourth Ward, resulting in one fatality and the displacement of 10,000 people.
    In 1907, Peachtree Street, the main street of Atlanta, was busy with streetcars and automobiles.
    On December 15, 1939, Atlanta hosted the film premiere of Gone with the Wind, the epic film based on the best-selling novel by Atlanta's Margaret Mitchell. The film's legendary producer, David O. Selznick, as well as the film's stars Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, and Olivia de Havilland attended the gala event at Loew's Grand Theatre, but Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel, an African American, was barred from the event due to the color of her skin.[39]
    Atlanta played a vital role in the Allied effort during World War II due the city's war-related manufacturing companies, railroad network, and military bases, leading to rapid growth in the city's population and economy. In the 1950s, the city's newly constructed freeway system allowed middle class Atlantans the ability to relocate to the suburbs. As a result, the city began to make up an ever smaller proportion of the metropolitan area's population.[citation needed]
    During the 1960s, Atlanta was a major organizing center of the Civil Rights Movement, with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph David Abernathy, and students from Atlanta's historically black colleges and universities playing major roles in the movement's leadership. While minimal compared to other cities, Atlanta was not completely free of racial strife.[40] In 1961, the city attempted to thwart blockbusting by erecting road barriers in Cascade Heights, countering the efforts of civic and business leaders to foster Atlanta as the "city too busy to hate".[40][41] Desegregation of the public sphere came in stages, with public transportation desegregated by 1959,[42] the restaurant at Rich's department store by 1961,[43] movie theaters by 1963,[44][45] and public schools by 1973.[46]
    The Olympic flag waves at the 1996 games
    In 1960, whites comprised 61.7% of the city's population.[47] By 1970, African Americans were a majority of the city's population and exercised new-found political influence by electing Atlanta's first black mayor, Maynard Jackson, in 1973. Under Mayor Jackson's tenure, Atlanta's airport was modernized, solidifying the city's role as a transportation center. The opening of the Georgia World Congress Center in 1976 heralded Atlanta's rise as a convention city.[48] Construction of the city's subway system began in 1975, with rail service commencing in 1979.[49] However, despite these improvements, Atlanta lost over 100,000 residents between 1970 and 1990, over 20% of its population.[50]
    In 1990, Atlanta was selected as the site for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. Following the announcement, the city government undertook several major construction projects to improve Atlanta's parks, sporting venues, and transportation infrastructure. While the games themselves were marred by numerous organizational inefficiencies, as well as the Centennial Olympic Park bombing,[51] they were a watershed event in Atlanta's history, initiating a fundamental transformation of the city in the decade that followed.[50]
    During the 2000s, Atlanta underwent a profound transformation demographically, physically, and culturally. Suburbanization, rising prices, a booming economy, and new migrants decreased the city's black percentage from a high of 67% in 1990 to 54% in 2010.[52][53] From 2000 to 2010, Atlanta gained 22,763 white residents, 5,142 Asian residents, and 3,095 Hispanic residents, while the city's black population decreased by 31,678.[54][55] Much of the city's demographic change during the decade was driven by young, college-educated professionals: from 2000 to 2009, the three-mile radius surrounding Downtown Atlanta gained 9,722 residents aged 25 to 34 holding at least a four-year degree, an increase of 61%.[56][57] Between the mid-1990s and 2010, stimulated by funding from the HOPE VI program, Atlanta demolished nearly all of its public housing, a total of 17,000 units and about 10% of all housing units in the city.[58][59][60] In 2005, the $2.8 billion BeltLine project was adopted, with the stated goals of converting a disused 22-mile freight railroad loop that surrounds the central city into an art-filled multi-use trail and increasing the city's park space by 40%.[61] Lastly, Atlanta's cultural offerings expanded during the 2000s: the High Museum of Art doubled in size; the Alliance Theatre won a Tony Award; and numerous art galleries were established on the once-industrial Westside.[62]

    Geography

    Main article: Geography of Atlanta
    Atlanta encompasses 132.4 square miles (342.9 km2), of which 131.7 square miles (341.1 km2) is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) is water. The city is situated among the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and at 1,050 feet (320 m) above mean sea level, Atlanta has the highest elevation of major cities east of the Mississippi River.[63] Atlanta straddles the Eastern Continental Divide, such that rainwater that falls on the south and east side of the divide flows into the Atlantic Ocean, while rainwater on the north and west side of the divide flows into the Gulf of Mexico.[64] Atlanta sits atop a ridge south of the Chattahoochee River, which is part of the ACF River Basin. Located at the far northwestern edge of the city, much of the river's natural habitat is preserved, in part by the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.[65]

    Cityscape

    The Downtown skyline
    The Midtown skyline
    The Buckhead skyline
    Most of Atlanta was burned during the Civil War, depleting the city of a large stock of its historic architecture. Yet architecturally, the city had never been particularly "southern"—because Atlanta originated as a railroad town, rather than a patrician southern seaport like Savannah or Charleston, many of the city's landmarks could have easily been erected in the Northeast or Midwest.[20]
    The skyline of Midtown (viewed from Piedmont Park) emerged with the construction of modernist Colony Square in 1972.
    During the Cold War era, Atlanta embraced global modernist trends, especially regarding commercial and institutional architecture. Examples of modernist architecture include the Westin Peachtree Plaza (1976), Georgia-Pacific Tower (1982), the State of Georgia Building (1966), and the Atlanta Marriott Marquis (1985). In the latter half of the 1980s, Atlanta became one of the early adopters of postmodern designs that reintroduced classical elements to the cityscape. Many of Atlanta's tallest skyscrapers were built in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with most displaying tapering spires or otherwise ornamented crowns, such as One Atlantic Center (1987), 191 Peachtree Tower (1991), and the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta (1992). Also completed during the era is Atlanta's tallest skyscraper, the Bank of America Plaza (1992), which, at 1,023 feet (312 m), is the 61st-tallest building in the world and the 9th-tallest building in the United States. The Bank of America Plaza is the tallest building outside of New York City and Chicago, and was the last building built in the United States to be in the top 10 tallest buildings in the world until One World Trade Center was completed externally on May 2013.[66] The city's embrace of modern architecture, however, translated into an ambivalent approach toward historic preservation, leading to the destruction of notable architectural landmarks, including the Equitable Building (1892–1971), Terminal Station (1905–1972), and the Carnegie Library (1902–1977). The Fox Theatre (1929)—Atlanta's cultural icon—would have met the same fate had it not been for a grassroots effort to save it in the mid-1970s.[20]
    Atlanta is divided into 242 officially defined neighborhoods.[67][68][69] The city contains three major high-rise districts, which form a north-south axis along Peachtree: Downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead.[70] Surrounding these high-density districts are leafy, low-density neighborhoods, most of which are dominated by single-family homes.[71]
    Downtown Atlanta contains the most office space in the metro area, much of it occupied by government entities. Downtown is also home to the city's sporting venues and many of its tourist attractions. Midtown Atlanta is the city's second-largest business district, containing the offices of many of the region's law firms. Midtown is also known for its art institutions, cultural attractions, institutions of higher education, and dense form.[72] Buckhead, the city's uptown district, is eight miles (13 km) north of Downtown and the city's third-largest business district. The district is marked by an urbanized core along Peachtree Road, surrounded by suburban single-family neighborhoods situated among dense forests and rolling hills.[73]
    Craftsman bungalows in Inman Park
    Beath-Dickey House (1890) in Inman Park neighborhood, 2011
    Surrounding Atlanta's three high-rise districts are the city's low- and medium-density neighborhoods,[73] where the craftsman bungalow single-family home is dominant.[74] The eastside is marked by historic streetcar suburbs built from the 1890s-1930s as havens for the upper middle class. These neighborhoods, many of which contain their own villages encircled by shaded, architecturally-distinct residential streets, include the Victorian Inman Park, Bohemian East Atlanta, and eclectic Old Fourth Ward.[20][75] On the westside, former warehouses and factories have been converted into housing, retail space, and art galleries, transforming the once-industrial West Midtown into a model neighborhood for smart growth, historic rehabilitation, and infill construction.[76] In southwest Atlanta, neighborhoods closer to downtown originated as streetcar suburbs, including the historic West End, while those farther from downtown retain a postwar suburban layout, including Collier Heights and Cascade Heights, home to much of the city's affluent African American population.[77][78][79] Northwest Atlanta contains the areas of the city to west of Marietta Boulevard and to the north of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, including those neighborhoods remote to downtown, such as Riverside, Bolton and Whittier Mill, which is one of Atlanta's designated Landmark Historical Neighborhoods. Vine City, though technically Northwest, adjoins the city's Downtown area and has recently been the target of community outreach programs and economic development initiatives.[80]
    Gentrification of the city's neighborhoods is one of the more controversial and transformative forces shaping contemporary Atlanta. The gentrification of Atlanta has its origins in the 1970s, after many of Atlanta's neighborhoods had undergone the urban decay that affected other major American cities in the mid-20th century. When neighborhood opposition successfully prevented two freeways from being built through city's the east side in 1975, the area became the starting point for Atlanta's gentrification. After Atlanta was awarded the Olympic games in 1990, gentrification expanded into other parts of the city, stimulated by infrastructure improvements undertaken in preparation for the games. Gentrification was also aided by the Atlanta Housing Authority's eradication of the city's public housing.[81]

    Climate

    Atlanta's Piedmont Park, with a dusting of winter snow.
    Under the Köppen classification, Atlanta has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) with four distinct seasons and generous precipitation year-round, typical for the inland South. Summers are hot and humid, with temperatures somewhat moderated by the city's elevation. Winters are cool but variable, with an average of 48 freezing days per year[82] and temperatures dropping to 0 °F (−17.8 °C) on rare occasions.[83][84] Warm air from the Gulf of Mexico can bring spring-like highs while strong Arctic air masses can push lows into the teens (≤ −7 °C).
    July averages 80.2 °F (26.8 °C), with high temperatures reaching 90 °F (32 °C) on an average 44 days per year, though 100 °F (38 °C) readings are not seen most years.[85] January averages 43.5 °F (6.4 °C), with temperatures in the suburbs slightly cooler due largely to the urban heat island effect. Lows at or below freezing can be expected 40 nights annually,[85] but extended stretches of high temperatures below 40 °F (4 °C) are very rare, with a recent hit in January 2014. Extremes range from −9 °F (−23 °C) on February 13, 1899 to 106 °F (41 °C) on June 30, 2012.[86] Dewpoints in the summer range from 63.6 °F (18 °C) in June to 67.8 °F (20 °C) in July.[85]
    Typical of the southeastern U.S., Atlanta receives abundant rainfall that is relatively evenly distributed throughout the year, though spring and early fall are markedly drier. The average annual rainfall is 50.2 inches (1,280 mm), while snowfall is typically light at around 2.1 inches (5.3 cm) per year.[87] The heaviest single snowfall occurred on January 23, 1940, with around 10 inches (25 cm) of snow.[88] However, ice storms usually cause more problems than snowfall does, the most severe occurring on January 7, 1973. Tornadoes are rare in the city itself, but the March 15, 2008 EF2 tornado damaged prominent structures in downtown Atlanta.