Atlanta: A Brief History
Atlanta was founded in 1837 as the end of the Western & Atlantic railroad line. It was first named Marthasville in honor of the then-governor's daughter, nicknamed Terminus for its rail location, and then changed soon after to Atlanta, the feminine of Atlantic — as in the railroad.
Today the fast-growing city remains a transportation hub, not just for the country but also for the world: Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport is one of the nation's busiest in daily passenger flights. Direct flights to Europe, South America, and Asia have made metro Atlanta easily accessible to the more than 1,000 international businesses that operate here and the more than 50 countries that have representation in the city through consulates, trade offices, and chambers of commerce. The city has emerged as a banking center and is the world headquarters for 13 Fortune 500 companies.
Atlanta is the capital city of the southeast, a city of the future with strong ties to its past. The old in new Atlanta is the soul of the city, the heritage that enhances the quality of life in a contemporary city. In the turbulent '60s, Atlanta was "the city too busy to hate." And today, in the 21st century, Atlanta is the "city not too busy to care."
For more than four decades Atlanta has been linked to the civil rights movement. Civil rights leaders were the visionaries who saw a new South, a new Atlanta. In part because of them, Atlanta became a fast-paced modern city that opened its doors to the 1996 Olympics.
While die-hard southerners view the city as the heart of the Old Confederacy, Atlanta has also become the best example of the New South, a fast-paced modern city proud of its heritage.
In the past two decades Atlanta has experienced unprecedented growth — the official city population remains steady, at about 420,000, but the metro population has grown in the past decade by nearly 40 percent, from 2.9 million to 4.1 million people. A good measure of this growth is the ever-changing downtown skyline, along with skyscrapers constructed in the Midtown, Buckhead, and outer perimeter (fringing I-285) business districts.
Since the late 1970s dozens of dazzling skyscrapers designed by such luminaries as Philip Johnson, I.M. Pei, and Marcel Breuer have reshaped the city's profile. In 21st century Atlanta, history is being written ...
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Adapted from www.atlantaga.gov/index.aspx?page=624.