Atlanta History

The history of Atlanta and its neighborhoods dates back to 1836, when Georgia decided to build a railroad to the U.S. Midwest and a location was chosen to be the line’s terminus. During the American Civil War, Atlanta, as a distribution hub, became the target of a major Union campaign, and in 1864 Union William Sherman’s troops set on fire and destroyed the city’s buildings and assets, save churches and hospitals. After the war the population grew rapidly, as did manufacturing, while the city retained its role as a rail hub.

The city’s elite black colleges were founded between 1865 and 1885, and despite disenfranchisement and the later imposition of Jim Crow laws in the 1910s, a prosperous black middle class and upper class emerged. By the early 20th century, “Sweet” Auburn Avenue was called “the most prosperous Negro street in the nation”. In the 1950s blacks started moving into city neighborhoods that had previously kept them out, while Atlanta’s first freeways enabled large numbers of whites to move to, and commute from, new suburbs. Atlanta was home to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and a major center for the Civil Rights Movement. Resulting desegregation occurred in stages over the 1960s. Slums were razed and the new Atlanta Housing Authority built public housing projects.

 

Atlanta Historic Center
Atlanta Historic Center

Just north of it, gleaming office towers and hotels rose, and in 1976 the new Georgia World Congress Center signaled Atlanta’s rise as a major convention city. While the suburbs grew rapidly, much of the city itself deteriorated and the city lost 21% of its population between 1970 and 1990.

In 1996 Atlanta hosted the Summer Olympics, for which new facilities and infrastructure were built. Hometown airline Delta continued to grow, and by 1998-9, Atlanta’s airport was the busiest in the world. Since the mid-90s, gentrification has given new life to many of the city’s intown neighborhoods. The 2010 census showed blacks leaving the city, whites moving to the city, and a much more diverse metro area with heaviest growth in the exurbs at its outer edges.

The region where Atlanta and its suburbs were built was originally Creek and Cherokee Native American territory. In 1813, the Creeks, who had been recruited by the British to assist them in the War of 1812, attacked and burned Fort Mims in southwestern Alabama. The conflict broadened and became known as the Creek War. In response, the United States built a string of forts along the Ocmulgee and Chattahoochee Rivers, including Fort Daniel on top of Hog Mountain near present-day Dacula, Georgia, and Fort Gilmer. Fort Gilmer was situated next to an important Indian site called Standing Peachtree, named after a large tree which is believed to have been a pine tree (the name referred to the pitch or sap that flowed from it). The word “pitch” was misunderstood for “peach,” thus the site’s name. The site traditionally marked a Native American meeting place at the boundary between Creek and Cherokee lands, at the point where Peachtree Creek flows into the Chattahoochee. The fort was soon renamed Fort Peachtree. A road was built linking Fort Peachtree and Fort Daniel following the route of existing trails.

As part of the systematic removal of Native Americans from northern Georgia from 1802 to 1825, [3] the Creek ceded the area that is now Metro Atlanta in 1821. Four months later, the Georgia Land Lottery Act created five new counties in the area that would later become Atlanta. [4] Dekalb County was created in 1822, from portions of Henry, Fayette, and Gwinnett Counties, and Decatur was created as its county seat the following year. [5] As part of the land lottery, Archibald Holland received a grant of 202.5 acres where downtown Atlanta would later be built. [6] [7] Holland farmed the land and operated a blacksmith shop. The land was wet and low-lying, so his cows often became mired in the mud. He left the area in 1833 to farm in Paulding County.

In 1830 an inn was established which would be known as Whitehall due to the then-unusual fact that it had a coat of white paint when most other buildings were of washed or natural wood. Later, Whitehall Street would be built as the road from Atlanta to Whitehall. The Whitehall area would be renamed West End in 1867 and is the oldest intact Victorian neighborhood of Atlanta.

In 1835, some leaders of the Cherokee Nation ceded their territory to the United States without the consent of the majority of the Cherokee people in exchange for land out west under the Treaty of New Echota, an act that led to the Trail of Tears.

During the American Civil War, Atlanta, as a distribution hub, became the target of a major Union campaign, and in 1864 Union William Sherman’s troops set on fire and destroyed the city’s assets and buildings, save churches and hospitals. In the 1950s blacks started moving into city neighborhoods that had previously kept them out, while Atlanta’s first freeways enabled large numbers of whites to move to, and commute from, new suburbs. Just north of it, gleaming office towers and hotels rose, and in 1976 the new Georgia World Congress Center signaled Atlanta’s rise as a major convention city. While the suburbs grew rapidly, much of the city itself deteriorated and the city lost 21% of its population between 1970 and 1990.
The 2010 census showed blacks leaving the city, whites moving to the city, and a much more diverse metro area with heaviest growth in the exurbs at its outer edges.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Atlanta


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