Railroads have played a tremendous role in the life of Atlanta—even its name was shortened from “Atlantica-Pacifica” since just before the Civil War when rails created a link to both oceans. Growth came to the area once it became a major hub, which also made it a strategic target during the war.
Since Atlanta played such a key role in the Civil War, it was a central character and host to the 1939 premiere of ‘Gone with the Wind’, based on Margaret Mitchell’s Pullitzer Prize winning novel. Held at Lowe’s Grand Theatre, since demolished, Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland and Hattie McDaniel attended with producer David O. Selznick.
In 1868 the city became Georgia’s 5th state capital and to promote it as the “New South”—based on a less agricultural economy—The Georgia Institute of Technology was created in 1885 and later, builder of the first supersonic aircarft, the Bell Aircraft Company opened a factory in Marietta.
In the 60s, the Civil Rights Movement was mainly organized within the Atlanta headquarters of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee—led primarily by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph David Abernathy, and local college students.
Today Atlanta’s the world headquarters for Delta Airlines, AT&T Mobility, Home Depot, UPS, the CDC—moved from New York in 1942 in response to widespread malaria cases in the Southeast—and it’s the birthplace of Coca-Cola and Turner Broadcasting which includes CNN and the Cartoon Network.
While the greater area of Atlanta is home to three Fortune 100 companies, Midtown is the place for arts in the city. Within this 4-square-mile area, it’s home to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Fox Theatre, Woodruff Arts Center, and the High Museum of Art.