Top 10 Outstanding Facts about Atlanta
Atlanta is the capital of the U.S. state of Georgia, located among the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The city was originally founded as the terminus of a major state-sponsored railroad. The settlement was originally known as Terminus, and later Thrasherville, after a local merchant who built homes and a general store in the area. In 1842, it was renamed to Marthasville to honor Governor Wilson Lumpkin’s daughter, Martha. Later, John Edgar Thomson, Chief Engineer of the Georgia Railroad, suggested the town be renamed Atlanta.
The city featured prominently during the 1950s and 1960s as a major organizing center of the civil rights movement, with Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph David Abernathy, and many other locals playing major roles in the movement’s leadership. With such a deep and rich history, below is a list of top 10 outstanding facts about Atlanta;
1. Rising from the ashes like a Phoenix
In 1864 during the American Civil War, the Union Army 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 November 11, 1864, Sherman prepared for the Union Army’s March to the Sea by ordering the destruction of Atlanta’s remaining military assets. The city was burnt down, with only 400 buildings survived the razing.
After the Civil War ended in 1865, Atlanta was gradually rebuilt during the Reconstruction era. The city rebuilt itself from the ashes, which is why the city symbol is the phoenix.
2. The busiest airport in the world
Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport also known as Atlanta Hartsfield–Jackson International Airport, Atlanta Airport, Hartsfield, Hartsfield–Jackson or by its airport code ATL, is the primary international airport serving Atlanta, Georgia, United States. It is named after former Atlanta mayors William B. Hartsfield and Maynard Jackson.
It was the world’s busiest airport by passenger traffic from 1998 to 2019, losing its title in 2020 due to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and being surpassed by Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport as a result. However, Hartsfield-Jackson remains the busiest airport by passenger traffic in the United States.
3. The city is the most heavily forested urban areas in the United States
The National Forest Service has deemed Atlanta “the most heavily forested urban area in the country” with over 100,000 shade trees planted and distributed through the non-profit ‘Trees Atlanta’. With a tree canopy coverage of 36.7%, but has declined from 48% in 1974 and 38% in 1996.
Atlanta has an amazing tree canopy surrounding the city that is uncommon in most urban cities. The city’s lush canopy filters out pollutants and cools sidewalks and buildings, reducing energy costs in the unforgiving Southern heat.
4. The largest bas-relief in the world
Stone Mountain is well known for not only its geology, but also the enormous rock relief on its north face, the largest bas-relief artwork in the world. A bas-relief is a piece of artwork that is sculpted, carved or molded in such a way that it barely protrudes from the background flat surface.
The carving, completed in 1972, depicts three Confederate leaders, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson.
5. Coca-Cola, the world’s most famous soda, was invented and founded in Atlanta
Coca-Cola, or Coke, is a carbonated soft drink manufactured by The Coca-Cola Company. Originally marketed as a temperance drink and intended as a patent medicine. The drink’s name refers to two of its original ingredients: coca leaves, and kola nuts (a source of caffeine).
In 1886, when Atlanta and Fulton County passed prohibition legislation Atlanta pharmacist, Dr. John S. Pemberton, developing Coca-Cola, a nonalcoholic version of Pemberton’s French Wine Coca. The first sales were at Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 8, 1886,
Today, Coca-Cola still calls Atlanta home. Locals and tourists alike can visit the World of Coca-Cola near Centennial Olympic Park to learn all about the company and sample its products from around the globe.
6. The world’s largest drive-in restaurant
The Varsity is a restaurant chain in Atlanta, Georgia. Originally named “The Yellow Jacket”, The Varsity was established in 1928 at the corner of Luckie Street and Hemphill Avenue in Midtown Atlanta by Frank Gordy of Thomaston, Georgia. To accommodate the crowds, Gordy was forced to move the restaurant to 61 North Avenue (on the northwest corner of Spring Street).
The name was changed to “The Varsity,” reflecting Gordy’s desire to expand to other college campuses. During the drive-in era, The Varsity began its curbside service, which continues to this day.
The main branch of the chain is the largest drive-in fast food restaurant in the world, taking up two city blocks and can accommodate 800 diners.
7. The fastest baseball game in history happened in Atlanta
In 1910, the Mobile Seagulls and Atlanta Crackers played a game that took 32 minutes, a contest of speed instead of endurance. According to Baseball-Reference, as of 6-6-2021, the average time it takes to complete a baseball game is three hours and eight minutes.
To hasten the tempo, the teams sprinted off the field between innings. Players typically swung at the first pitch, attempting to put the ball in play. And yet, in the Seagulls 2-1 victory, there was a walk and four stolen bases.
8. Atlanta is one of two cities in the world to have housed two Nobel Peace Prize winners
The two Nobel Peace Prize winners were Martin Luther King Jr. & President Jimmy Carter. The Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 was awarded to Martin Luther King Jr. “for his non-violent struggle for civil rights for the Afro-American population.”
In 2002, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to former President Jimmy Carter, citing “his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.”
9. Atlanta has the largest Hindu temples outside of India
The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Atlanta is a traditional Hindu mandir, or place of worship, inaugurated on 26 August 2007 by the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, a denomination of the Swaminarayan branch of Hinduism headed by Mahant Swami Maharaj.
It is the largest mandir of its kind outside of India. The mandir is made of 34,450 pieces of hand-carved Italian marble, Turkish Limestone and Indian pink sandstone, situated on landscaped grounds spread over 30 acres.
10. Atlanta is the next Hollywood
Atlanta is the next Hollywood as George actively courted the industry with tax breaks, production costs are cheaper here than LA and has a wide variety of locations to shoot — mountains in the north, plains in the south, rolling hills in between, an ocean coastline with sea islands, small towns, farmland, antebellum plantations, urban areas, rivers and lakes, industrial areas, all within a day’s drive of Atlanta.
However, there are those who feel like Atlanta will never be the “New Hollywood” as Hollywood has a complex history with films, that goes as far as 1908.