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Atlanta ( or ) is the capital and most populous city in the state of Georgiamarker, as well as the urban core of one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the United Statesmarker.

With a 2008 estimated population of 537,958, Atlanta is the thirty-third largest city in the United States, and the 28-county Atlanta Metropolitan Area is the eighth largest such region in the United States, and the largest in the Southeastern U.S. with more than 5,376,285 residents. The Atlanta Combined Statistical Area, home to 5,729,304 people, is the tenth largest in the country.

Considered a top business city and transportation hub, Atlanta is the world headquarters of The Coca-Cola Company, AT&T Mobility, and Delta Air Lines. The surrounding area contains additional corporate headquarters, including Home Depot and UPSmarker. Atlanta has the country's third largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies along with Chicago inside city boundaries, and more than 75 percent of the Fortune 1000 companies have a presence in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airportmarker, which is located seven miles south of downtown Atlanta, is the world's busiest airport and the only major airport to serve the city.

Atlanta is the county seat of Fulton Countymarker and the fifth location for the seat of government of the state of Georgia. A small portion of the city of Atlanta corporate limits extends into DeKalb Countymarker. Residents of the city are known as Atlantans.


A map showing roads and Indian trails circa 1815, with late 19th century Fulton County and City of Atlanta outlines overlaid.

The land constituting the city of Atlanta was once a Native American village called Standing Peachtree. The land that became the Atlanta area was taken from the Cherokee and Creeks by white settlers in 1822, with the first area settlement being Decaturmarker.

On December 21, 1836, the Georgia General Assembly voted to build the Western and Atlantic Railroad to provide a trade route to the Midwestern United States. Following the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation between 1838 and 1839 the newly depopulated area was opened for the construction of a railroad. The area around the eastern terminus to the line began to develop first, and so the settlement was named "Terminus" in 1837. It was nicknamed Thrasherville after John Thrasher, who built homes and a general store there. By 1842, the settlement had six buildings and 30 residents and the town was renamed "Marthasville". The Chief Engineer of the Georgia Railroad, J. Edgar Thomson, suggested that the area be renamed "Atlanticamarker-Pacificamarker", which was quickly shortened to "Atlanta". The residents approved, and the town was incorporated as Atlanta on December 29, 1847. By 1854, another railroad connected Atlanta to LaGrangemarker, and the town grew to 9,554 by 1860.

During the American Civil War, Atlanta served as an important railroad and military supply hub. In 1864, the city became the target of a major Union invasionmarker. The area now covered by Atlanta was the scene of several battles, including the Battle of Peachtree Creekmarker, the Battle of Atlanta, and the Battle of Ezra Churchmarker. On September 1, 1864, Confederate General John Bell Hood evacuated Atlanta after a four-month siege mounted by Union General William T. Sherman and ordered all public buildings and possible Confederate assets destroyed. The next day, Mayor James Calhoun surrendered the city, and on September 7 Sherman ordered the civilian population to evacuate. He then ordered Atlanta burned to the ground on November 11 in preparation for his march south, though he spared the city's churches and hospitals.

The rebuilding of the city was gradual. From 1867 until 1888, U.S. Army soldiers occupied McPherson Barracksmarker in southwest Atlanta to ensure Reconstruction era reforms. To help the newly freed slaves, the Freedmen's Bureau worked in tandem with a number of freedmen's aid organizations, especially the American Missionary Association. In 1868, Atlanta became the fifth city to serve as the state capital. Henry W. Grady, the editor of the Atlanta Constitution, promoted the city to investors as a city of the "New South", one built on a modern economy, less reliant on agriculture. However, as Atlanta grew, ethnic and racial tensions mounted. The Atlanta Race Riot of 1906 left at least 27 dead and over 70 injured.

In 1907, Peachtree Street, the main street of Atlanta, was busy with streetcars and automobiles.
December 15, 1939, Atlanta hosted the premiere of Gone with the Wind, the movie based on Atlanta-born Margaret Mitchell's best-selling novel of the same name. Stars Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, and Olivia de Havilland attended the gala, which was held at Loew's Grand Theatre, now destroyed. The reception was held at the Georgian Terrace Hotel, which is still standing.

During World War II, manufacturing such as the Bell Aircraft factory in the suburb of Mariettamarker helped boost the city's population and economy. Shortly after the war, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was founded in Atlanta. The recption that followed was held at the

In the wake of the landmark U.S.marker Supreme Courtmarker decision Brown v. Board of Education, which helped usher in the Civil Rights Movement, racial tensions in Atlanta began to express themselves in acts of violence. On October 12, 1958, a Reform Jewish temple on Peachtree Street was bombed; the synagogue's rabbi, Jacob Rothschild, was an outspoken advocate of integration. A group of anti-Semitic white supremacists calling themselves the "Confederate Underground" claimed responsibility.

In the 1960s, Atlanta was a major organizing center of the Civil Rights Movement, as Dr. Martin Luther King and students from Atlanta's historically black colleges and universities played major roles in the movement's leadership. Two of the most important civil rights organizations, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, had their national headquarters in Atlanta.Despite some racial protests during the Civil Rights era, Atlanta's political and business leaders labored to foster Atlanta's image as "the city too busy to hate". In 1961, Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. became one of the few Southern white mayors to support desegregation of his city's public schools.

African-American Atlantans demonstrated growing political influence with election of the first African-American mayor in 1973. They became a majority in the city during the late 20th century but suburbanization, rising prices, a booming economy and new migrants have decreased their percentage in the city from a high of 69 percent in 1980 to about 54 percent in 2004. The addition of new immigrants such as Latinos and Asians is also altering city demographics, along with an influx of white residents.

In 1990, Atlanta was selected as the site for the 1996 Summer Olympics. Following the announcement, Atlanta undertook several major construction projects to improve the city's parks, sports facilities, and transportation. Atlanta became the third American city to host the Summer Olympics. The games themselves were marred by numerous organizational inefficiencies, as well as the Centennial Olympic Park bombingmarker.

Contemporary Atlanta is sometimes considered to be an archetype for cities experiencing rapid growth and urban sprawl. Unlike most major cities, metropolitan Atlanta does not have any natural boundaries, such as an ocean, lakes, or mountains, that might constrain growth.

The city has recently been commended by bodies such as the Environmental Protection Agency for its eco-friendly policies. In 2009, Atlanta's Virginia-Highland became the first carbon-neutral zone in the United States. Verus Carbon Neutral developed the partnership that links 17 merchants of the historic Corner Virginia-Highland shopping and dining neighborhood retail district, through the Chicago Climate Exchange, to directly fund the Valley Wood Carbon Sequestration Project (thousands of acres of forest in rural Georgia).


Atlanta's Piedmont Park, with a blanket of winter snow.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of . of it is land and of it is water. The total area is 0.51% water. At about above mean sea level (the airport is at ), Atlanta sits atop a ridge south of the Chattahoochee River. Atlanta has the second highest average elevation of any major city east of Denvermarker, after Pittsburghmarker.

The Eastern Continental Dividemarker line enters Atlanta from the south, proceeding to the downtown area. From downtown, the divide line runs eastward along DeKalb Avenue and the CSX rail lines through Decatur. Rainwater that falls on the south and east side runs eventually into the Atlantic Oceanmarker, while rainwater on the north and west side of the divide runs into the Gulf of Mexicomarker via the Chattahoochee River. That river is part of the ACF River Basin, and from which Atlanta and many of its neighbors draw most of their water. Being at the far northwestern edge of the city, much of the river's natural habitat is still preserved, in part by the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Areamarker. Downstream however, excessive water use during droughts and pollution during floods has been a source of contention and legal battles with neighboring states Alabamamarker and Floridamarker.


Atlanta has a humid subtropical climate, (Cfa) according to the Köppen classification, with hot, humid summers and mild, but occasionally chilly winters by the standards of the southern United States. July highs average or above, and low average . Infrequently, temperatures can even exceed . The highest temperature recorded in the city is , reached in July, 1980. January is the coldest month, with an average high of , and low of . Generally average lows are in the upper 20s and lower 30s in the north Georgia region. Warm fronts can bring springlike temperatures in the 60s (high teens) and 70s (low 20s) in winter, and Arctic air masses can drop temperatures into the single digits (around -15 C) as well. The coldest temperature ever recorded was in February 1899. A close second was , reached in January 1985. Atlanta has a more temperate climate than other southern cities of the same latitude due to its relatively high elevation of ( above sea level.

Like the rest of the southeastern U.S., Atlanta receives abundant rainfall, which is relatively evenly distributed throughout the year. Average annual rainfall is . An average year sees frost on 36 days; snowfall averages about annually. The heaviest single storm brought on January 23, 1940.Blizzards are rare but possible; one hit in March 1993. Frequent ice storms can cause more problems than snow; the most severe such storm may have occurred on January 7, 1973.

In 2007, the American Lung Association ranked Atlanta as having the 13th highest level of particle pollution in the United States. The combination of pollution and pollen levels, and uninsured citizens caused the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to name Atlanta as the worst American city for asthma sufferers to live in.

On March 14, 2008, an EF2 tornado hit downtown Atlanta with winds up to . The tornado caused damage to Philips Arenamarker, the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotelmarker, the Georgia Domemarker, Centennial Olympic Parkmarker, the CNN Centermarker, and the Georgia World Congress Centermarker. It also damaged the nearby neighborhoods of Vine City to the west and Cabbagetownmarker, and Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills to the east. While there were dozens of injuries, only one fatality was reported. City officials warned it could take months to clear the devastation left by the tornado.



Atlanta's skyline is punctuated with highrise and midrise buildings of modern and postmodern vintage. Its tallest landmark – the Bank of America Plazamarker – is the 37th-tallest building in the world at . It is also the tallest building in the United States outside of Chicagomarker and New York Citymarker.
Unlike many other Southern cities such as Savannahmarker, Charlestonmarker, Wilmingtonmarker, and New Orleansmarker, Atlanta chose not to retain its historic Old South architectural characteristics. Instead, Atlanta viewed itself as the leading city of a progressive "New South" and opted for expressive modern structures. Atlanta's skyline includes works by most major U.S. firms and some of the more prominent architects of the 20th century, including Michael Graves, Richard Meier, Renzo Piano, Pickard Chilton, and soon, David Chipperfield. Atlanta's most notable hometown architect may be John Portman whose creation of the atrium hotel beginning with the Hyatt Regency Atlantamarker (1967) made a significant mark on the hospitality sector. Through his work, Portman—a graduate of Georgia Techmarker's College of Architecture -- reshaped downtown Atlanta with his designs for the Atlanta Merchandise Mart, Peachtree Center, the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotelmarker, and SunTrust Plazamarker.The city's highrises are clustered in three districts in the city — Downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead. (there are two more major suburban clusters, Perimeter Center to the north and Cumberland/Viningsmarker to the northwest). The central business district, clustered around the Hyatt Regency Atlanta hotel – one of the tallest buildings in Atlanta at the time of its completion in 1967 – also includes the newer 191 Peachtree Towermarker, Westin Peachtree Plazamarker, SunTrust Plazamarker, Georgia-Pacific Tower, and the buildings of Peachtree Center. Midtown Atlanta, farther north, developed rapidly after the completion of One Atlantic Centermarker in 1987.

Urban development

Businesses continue to move into the Midtown district. The district's newest office tower, 1180 Peachtreemarker, opened there in 2006 at a height of , and achieved a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification that year from the U.S. Green Building Council. Atlanta has been in the midst of a construction and retail boom, with over 60 new highrise or midrise buildings either proposed or under construction as of April 19, 2006. October 2005 marked the opening of Atlantic Stationmarker, a former brownfield steel plant site redeveloped into a mixed-use urban district. In early 2006, Mayor Franklin set in motion a plan to make the 14-block stretch of Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta (nicknamed "Midtown Mile") a street-level shopping destination envisioned to rival Beverly Hillsmarker' Rodeo Drivemarker or Chicagomarker's Magnificent Mile.

Atlanta at night.
In spite of civic efforts such as the opening of Centennial Olympic Parkmarker in downtown in 1996, Atlanta ranks near last in area of park land per capita among cities of similar population density, with per thousand residents (36 m²/resident) in 2005. The city has a reputation, however, as a "city of trees" or a "city in a forest"; beyond the central Atlanta and Buckhead business districts, the skyline gives way to a sometimes dense canopy of woods that spreads into the suburbs. Founded in 1985, Trees Atlanta has planted and distributed over 68,000 shade trees.

The city's northern district, Buckheadmarker, is eight miles north of downtown Atlanta and features wealthy neighborhoods, such as Peachtree Battle, Tuxedo Park, Peachtree Hills, and Chastain Park, and is consistently ranked as one of the most affluent neighborhoods in America. Atlanta's East Side is quickly emerging as an intown destination as a result of the rapid gentrification it has undergone in the current decade. It boasts hip and urban neighborhoods with craftsman bungalows, Victorian mansions, and new infill. Some of the more established neighborhoods include Inman Parkmarker, Candler Parkmarker, Lake Claire, and Little Five Pointsmarker. The more affordable neighborhoods of Kirkwoodmarker, Old Fourth Ward, East Atlantamarker, Cabbagetownmarker, Reynoldstown and Edgewoodmarker also have much to offer. These areas of the city are also appealing to the younger, hip generation of people between the ages of 18-35 due to the location of shopping, transportation and cultural living. In addition to creating new space within the city, developers have also utilized many old buildings to create living space for the forementioned neighborhoods. In the city's Southwestern section, Collier Heightsmarker is home for the wealthy and elite African-American population of the city, and features neighborhoods such as Cascade Heights and Peyton Forest.


Entertainment and performing arts

Atlanta's classical music scene includes the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Opera, Atlanta Ballet, New Trinity Baroque, the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Georgia Boy Choir and the Atlanta Boy Choir. Classical musicians have included renowned conductors Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony's Robert Spano.

The city has a well-known and active live music scene. The Fox Theatremarker is an historic landmark and one of the highest grossing venues in the world. The city also has a large collection of highly successful music venues of various sizes that host top and emerging touring acts. Popular local venues include the Tabernaclemarker, the Variety Playhousemarker, The Masquerademarker and the EARL.

The most famous galleries in the city include the renowned High Museum of Artmarker, the Center for Puppetry Artsmarker, the Atlanta Institute for the Arts, and the Georgia Museum of Contemporary Art.


Atlanta attracts the thirteenth-highest number of foreign tourists of any city in the United States, with more than 478,000 foreign visitors arriving in the city in 2007. That same year (according to Forbes), it was estimated that Atlanta attracted 37 million visitors into the city. The city features the world's largest indoor aquarium, the Georgia Aquariummarker, which officially opened to the public on November 23, 2005. The new World of Coca-Colamarker, opened adjacent to the Aquarium in May 2007, features the history of the world-famous soft drink brand and provides visitors the opportunity to taste different Coca-Cola products from around the world. Underground Atlantamarker, a historic shopping and entertainment complex lies under the streets of downtown Atlanta. Atlantic Stationmarker, a huge new urban renewal project on the northwestern edge of Midtown Atlanta, officially opened in October 2005.
Atlanta hosts a variety of museums on subjects ranging from history to fine arts, natural history, and beverages. Museums and attractions in the city include the Atlanta History Centermarker; the Carter Center; the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Sitemarker; the Atlanta Cyclorama and Civil War Museummarker; historic house museum Rhodes Hallmarker; and the Margaret Mitchell House and Museummarker. Children's museums include The Fernbank Science Centermarker and Imagine It! Children's Museum of Atlanta.

Piedmont Parkmarker hosts many of Atlanta's festivals and cultural events. Atlanta Botanical Gardenmarker sits next to the park. Zoo Atlantamarker, in Grant Parkmarker, features a panda exhibit. Just east of the city rises Stone Mountainmarker, the largest piece of exposed granite in the world.

During Labor Day weekend each year, Atlanta hosts the popular multi-genre convention Dragon*Con, held downtown at the Hyatt Regency, Marriot Marquis, Hilton and Sheraton hotels. The event attracts an estimated 30,000 attendees annually.


Atlanta is home to several professional sports franchises, including teams from all four different major league sports in the U.S. The Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball and the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League, have played in the city since 1966. The Braves began playing in 1871 as the Boston Red Stockings, and is the oldest continually operating professional sports franchise in America. The Braves won the World Series in 1995, and had an unprecedented run of 14 straight divisional championships from 1991 to 2005.

The Atlanta Falcons are an American football team of the National Football League have played in Atlanta since 1966. The team currently plays at the Georgia Domemarker. They have won the division title three times, and one conference championship – going on to lose to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII on January 31, 1999. Atlanta hosted Super Bowl XXVIII in 1994 and Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000.

The Atlanta Hawks of the National Basketball Association have played in Atlanta since 1968. The team's history goes back to 1946, when they were known as the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, playing in the area now known as the Quad Citiesmarker (Molinemarker and Rock Island, Illinoismarker, and Davenport, Iowamarker). The team then moved to Milwaukee in 1951, and to St. Louis in 1955, where they won their sole NBA Championship as the St. Louis Hawks. In 1968, they came to Atlanta. In October 2007, the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) announced that Atlanta would receive an expansion franchise, that commenced their first season in May 2008. The new team is the Atlanta Dream, and plays in Philips Arenamarker. The new franchise is not affiliated with the Atlanta Hawks.

From 1972–1980, the Atlanta Flames played ice hockey in the National Hockey League (NHL). The team moved to Calgarymarker, Albertamarker, Canada in 1980, due to financial difficulties of the owner, and became the Calgary Flames. On June 25, 1997, Atlanta was awarded an NHL expansion franchise, and the Atlanta Thrashers became the city's newest ice hockey team. The Thrashers play at Philips Arenamarker. The team began play on September 18, 1999, losing to the New York Rangers 3-2 in overtime in a preseason game. The Thrashers first home victory came on October 26, 1999, defeating the Calgary Flames.

Atlanta was also home to the Atlanta Silverbacks of the United Soccer Leagues First Division (men) and W-League (women). In 2007, the Silverbacks had their best season advancing to the USL Finals against the Seattle Sounders, who have since been promoted to the MLS. The city is supposedly also being considered for a potential expansion team in Major League Soccer. The Atlanta Chiefs won the championship of the now-defunct North American Soccer League in 1968. In golf, the final PGA Tour event of the season that features elite players, The Tour Championship, is played annually at East Lake Golf Clubmarker. This golf course is used because of its connection to the great amateur golfer Bobby Jones, an Atlanta native.

Atlanta has a rich tradition in collegiate athletics. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets participate in seventeen intercollegiate sports, including football and basketball. Tech competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and is home to Bobby Dodd Stadiummarker, the oldest continuously used on campus site for college football in the southern United States, and oldest currently in Division I FBS. The stadium was built in 1913 by students of Georgia Techmarker. Atlanta also played host to the second intercollegiate football game in the South, played between Auburn Universitymarker and the University of Georgiamarker in Piedmont Parkmarker in 1892; this game is now called the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry. The city hosts college football's annual Chick-fil-A Bowl (Formerly known as The Peach Bowl) and the Peachtree Road Race, the world’s largest race.

Atlanta was the host city for the Centennial 1996 Summer Olympics. Centennial Olympic Parkmarker, built for 1996 Summer Olympics, sits adjacent to CNN Centermarker and Philips Arenamarker. It is now operated by the Georgia World Congress Centermarker Authority. Atlanta hosted the NCAA Final Four Men's Basketball Championship most recently in April 2007.

Atlanta is home to two of the nation's Gaelic Football teams, Na Fianna Ladies Gaelic Football Club and Clan na nGael Ladies Gaelic Football Club. Both are members of the North American County Board, a branch of the Gaelic Athletic Association, the worldwide governing body of Gaelic games.

Club Sport League Venue League Championships/Championship Appearances
Atlanta Falcons American Football National Football League Georgia Domemarker 0, Super Bowl XXXIII
Atlanta Braves Baseball Major League Baseball, NL Turner Fieldmarker 3 (1914, 1957, 1995), 5(1991, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1999)
Atlanta Hawks Basketball National Basketball Association Philips Arenamarker 1 (1958)
Atlanta Thrashers Ice hockey National Hockey League Philips Arenamarker 0
Atlanta Dream Women's Basketball Women's National Basketball Association Philips Arenamarker 0
Atlanta Silverbacks Soccer USL First Division RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Stadiummarker 0, 1 (2007)
Atlanta Beat Women's soccer Women's Professional Soccer RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Stadiummarker 0
Atlanta Xplosion Women's football Independent Women's Football League James R. Halford Stadium 1 (2006), 3 (2005, 2006, 2007)
Georgia Force Arena Football Arena Football League Arena at Gwinnett Centermarker 0, 1 (ArenaBowl XIX)
Gwinnett Gladiators Ice hockey ECHL Arena at Gwinnett Centermarker 0, 1 (2005–2006 Kelly Cup Finals)
Gwinnett Braves Baseball International League Gwinnett Stadium 0


The Atlanta metro area is served by many local television stations and is the eighth largest designated market area (DMA) in the U.S. with 2,310,490 homes (2.0% of the total U.S.). There are also numerous local radio stations serving every genre of music and sports.The four major networks are WSB-TV (ABC), WAGA-TV (FOX), WXIA-TV (NBC), and WGCL-TV (CBS). WXIA also owns MyAtl-TV (My Network TV) and airs their 10 pm news there.

Atlanta is commonly seen as the Hip-Hop capital of the world, being the home of many aspiring and upcoming artists, not to mention the home of major recording studios/companies such as So So Def



Atlanta is one of eight U.S. cities classified as a "beta world city" by a 2008 study at Loughborough Universitymarker, and ranks third in the number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered within city boundaries, behind New York Citymarker and Houstonmarker. Several major national and international companies are headquartered in Atlanta or its nearby suburbs, including three Fortune 100 companies: The Coca-Cola Company, Home Depot, and United Parcel Servicemarker in adjacent Sandy Springsmarker. The headquarters of AT&T Mobility (formerly Cingular Wireless), the second largest mobile phone service provider in the United States, is located near Lenox Squaremarker. Newell Rubbermaid is one of the most recent companies to relocate to the metro area; in October 2006, it announced plans to move its headquarters to Sandy Springs. Other headquarters for some major companies in Atlanta and around the metro area include Arby's, Chick-fil-A, Earthlink, Equifax, Gentiva Health Services, Georgia-Pacific, Oxford Industries, RaceTrac Petroleum, Southern Company, SunTrust Banks, Mirant, and Waffle House. In early June 2009, NCR Corporation announced that they will relocate its headquarters to the nearby suburb of Duluth, Georgiamarker. Over 75% of the Fortune 1000 companies have a presence in the Atlanta area, and the region hosts offices of about 1,250 multinational corporations. As of 2006 Atlanta Metropolitan Area ranks as the 10th largest cybercity(high-tech center) in the US, with 126,700 high-tech jobs.

Delta Air Lines is the city's largest employer and the metro area's third largest. Delta operates one of the world's largest airline hubs at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airportmarker and, together with the hub of competing carrier AirTran Airways, has helped make Hartsfield-Jackson the world's busiest airport, both in terms of passenger traffic and aircraft operations. The airport, since its construction in the 1950s, has served as a key engine of Atlanta's economic growth.

Atlanta has a sizable financial sector. SunTrust Banks, the seventh largest bank by asset holdings in the United States, has its home office on Peachtree Street in downtown. The Federal Reserve System has a district headquarters in Atlanta; the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, which oversees much of the deep South, relocated from downtown to midtown in 2001. Wachovia announced plans in August 2006 to place its new credit-card division in Atlanta, and city, state and civic leaders harbor long-term hopes of having the city serve as the home of the secretariat of a future Free Trade Area of the Americas.

The auto manufacturing sector in metropolitan Atlanta has suffered setbacks recently, including the planned closure of the General Motors Doraville Assemblymarker plant in 2008, and the shutdown of Ford Motor Company's Atlanta Assemblymarker plant in Hapevillemarker in 2006. Kia, however, has broken ground on a new assembly plant near West Pointmarker, Georgiamarker.

The city is a major cable television programming center. Ted Turner began the Turner Broadcasting System media empire in Atlanta, where he bought a UHF station that eventually became WTBS. Turner established the headquarters of the Cable News Network at CNN Centermarker, adjacent today to Centennial Olympic Parkmarker. As his company grew, its other channels – the Cartoon Network, Boomerang, TNT, Turner South, Turner Classic Movies, CNN International, CNN en Español, HLN, and CNN Airport Network – centered their operations in Atlanta as well (Turner South has since been sold). Turner Broadcasting is a division of Time Warner. The Weather Channel, owned by a consortium of NBC Universal, Blackstone Group, and Bain Capital, has its offices in the nearby suburb of Mariettamarker.

Cox Enterprises, a privately held company controlled by siblings Barbara Cox Anthony and Anne Cox Chambers has substantial media holdings in and beyond Atlanta; it is headquartered in the City of Sandy Springsmarker. Its Cox Communications division, headquartered in unincorporated DeKalb Countymarker, is the third-largest cable television service provider in the United States; the company also publishes over a dozen daily newspapers in the United States, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. WSBmarker – the flagship station of Cox Radio – was the first AM radio station in the South.

Unincorporated DeKalb County is also home to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Adjacent to Emory Universitymarker, with a staff of nearly 15,000 (including 6,000 contractors and 840 Commissioned Corps officers) in 170 occupations, including: engineers, entomologists, epidemiologists, biologists, physicians, veterinarians, behavioral scientists, nurses, medical technologists, economists, health communicators, toxicologists, chemists, computer scientists, and statisticians. Headquartered in DeKalb County, CDC has 10 other offices throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. In addition, CDC staff are located in local health agencies, quarantine/border health offices at ports of entry, and 45 countries around the world. Originally established in 1946 as the Communicable Disease Center, its primary function was to combat malaria, the deep southeast being the heart of the U.S. malaria zone at the time.

Law and government

Atlanta is governed by a mayor and a city council. The city council consists of 15 representatives—one from each of the city's twelve districts and three at-large positions. The mayor may veto a bill passed by the council, but the council can override the veto with a two-thirds majority. The mayor of Atlanta is Shirley Franklin.

Every mayor elected since 1973 has been black. Maynard Jackson served two terms and was succeeded by Andrew Young in 1982. Jackson returned for a third term in 1990 and was succeeded by Bill Campbell. In 2001, Shirley Franklin became the first woman to be elected Mayor of Atlanta, and the first African-American woman to serve as mayor of a major southern city. She was re-elected for a second term in 2005, winning 90% of the vote. Atlanta city politics during the Campbell administration suffered from a notorious reputation for corruption, and in 2006 a federal jury convicted former mayor Bill Campbell on three counts of tax evasion in connection with gambling income he received while Mayor during trips he took with city contractors.

As the state capital, Atlanta is the site of most of Georgia's state government. The Georgia State Capitolmarker building, located downtown, houses the offices of the governor, lieutenant governor and secretary of state, as well as the General Assembly. The Governor's Mansionmarker is located on West Paces Ferry Road, in a residential section of Buckhead. Atlanta is also home to Georgia Public Broadcastingmarker headquarters and Peachnet, and is the county seat of Fulton County, with which it shares responsibility for the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library Systemmarker. The city of Atlanta is served by the Atlanta Police Department, which has an estimated 1700 officers working in the force.

The United States Postal Service operates several post offices throughout the city. The Atlanta Main Post Office is located at 3900 Crown Road SW, in close proximity to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airportmarker.


According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's annual Uniform Crime Report, Atlanta recorded 141 homicides in 2006, down from 151 in 2004. In 2007 Dekalb County had a record 102 murders, Clayton County amassed 56 murders, and unincorparted parts of Fulton County (East Point, College Park, and Union City) recorded 75. All together, the five-county core area of metro Atlanta (Cobb, Clayton, Fulton, Gwinnett, and Dekalb counties) recorded 487 murders in 2007. Atlanta's incident rate for violent crimes is higher than most other major US cities.

Atlanta's Mayor Franklin is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, an organization formed in 2006 and co-chaired by New York Citymarker mayor Michael Bloomberg and Bostonmarker mayor Thomas Menino.


According to the 2006-2008 American Community Survey, Blacks or African Americans made up 55.8% of Atlanta's population. White Americans made up 38.4% of Atlanta's population. American Indian made up 0.2% of the city's population. Asian Americans made up 1.9% of the city's population. Pacific Islander Americans made up less than 0.1% of the city's population. Individuals from some other race made up 2.6% of the city's population. Individuals from two or more races made up 1.1% of the city's population. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 4.9% of Atlanta's population.

As of the 2008 American Community Survey, the city of Atlanta had a population of 537,958; an increase of 28% from the 2000 Census. As of the 2007 U.S. Census estimates, the Atlanta metropolitan area had an estimated population of 5,376,285. The racial makeup of the city was 56.8% black, 37.7% white, 2.0% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 2.3% from some other race, and 1.0% from two or more races; 4.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. The city of Atlanta also has one of the highest LGBT populations per capita. It ranks 3rd of all major cities, behind San Franciscomarker and slightly behind Seattlemarker, with 12.8% of the city's total population recognizing themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

According to the 2000 United States Census (revised in 2004), Atlanta has the twelfth highest proportion of single-person households nationwide among cities of 100,000 or more residents, which was at 38.5%.

The median income for a household in the city was $51,482 and the median income for a family was $55,939. Males had a median income of $36,162 compared to $30,178 for females. The per capita income for the city was $29,772. About 22.7% of the population and 21.3% of families lived below the poverty line.

According to a 2000 daytime population estimate by the Census Bureau, over 250,000 more people commuted to Atlanta on any given workday, boosting the city's estimated daytime population to 676,431. This is an increase of 62.4% over Atlanta's resident population, making it the largest gain in daytime population in the country among cities with fewer than 500,000 residents.

According to census estimates, Metropolitan Atlanta is the fastest growing area in the nation since 2000 by numerical increase. It was the fourth-fastest growing metro area from 2007 to 2008 in terms of numerical increase. The city of Atlanta itself was the thirteenth fastest growing city in the nation, in terms of both percentage and numerical increase.

Much of the growth is driven by the increase in the African American population. Atlanta has long been a magnet for African-American professionals, drawn by the city's historically black colleges, the civil rights legacy and the city's black political structure, with African-American mayors dating to Maynard Jackson in the 1970s. Recently, Atlanta passed Chicago as the metropolitan area with the second largest black population, after New York.

Atlanta is also seeing a unique and drastic demographic increase in its white population, and at a pace that outstrips the rest of the nation. The proportion of whites in the city's population, according to Brookings Institution, grew faster between 2000 and 2006 than that of any other U.S. city. It increased from 31% in 2000 to 35% in 2006, a numeric gain of 26,000, more than double the increase between 1990 and 2000. The trend seems to be gathering strength with each passing year. Only Washington, D.C.marker saw a comparable increase in white population share during those years.

The Korean population of Metro Atlanta has also seen a drastic change. Metro Atlanta currently is home to the fastest-growing Korean population in the country. The Korean population saw a sharp increase from 42,000 in 2000, to an estimated 80,000 in 2006.

Since the 1990s, the number of immigrants from Latin America to the Atlanta metropolitan area has greatly increased. This flow of immigrants has brought new cultural and religious practices and affect the economy and demography of the urban area, resulting in vibrant Hispanic communities within the city.

Atlanta is also home to the fastest growing millionaire population in the United States. The number of households in Atlanta with $1 million or more in investable assets, not including primary residence and consumable goods, will increase 69% through 2011, to approximately 103,000 households.

Surrounding municipalities

The population of the Atlanta region spreads across a metropolitan area of – a land area larger than that of Massachusettsmarker. Because Georgia contains more counties than any other state east of the Mississippi River, area residents live under a heavily decentralized collection of governments. As of the 2000 census, fewer than one in ten residents of the metropolitan area lived inside Atlanta city proper.


Al-Farooq Masjid Mosque Atlanta

There are over 1,000 places of worship within the city of Atlanta. Protestant Christian faiths are well represented in Atlanta, the city historically being a major center for traditional Southern denominations such as the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church, and the Presbyterian Church . There are a large number of "mega churches" in the area, especially in suburban areas.

Atlanta contains a large, and rapidly growing, Roman Catholic population which grew from 292,300 members in 1998 to 750,000 members in 2008, an increase of 156 percent. About 10 percent of all metropolitan Atlanta residents are Catholic. As the see of the 84 parish Archdiocese of Atlanta, Atlanta serves as the metropolitan see for the Province of Atlanta. The archdiocesan cathedral is the Cathedral of Christ the King and the current archbishop is the Most Rev. Wilton D. Gregory. Also located in the metropolitan area are several Eastern Catholic parishes which fall in the jurisdiction of Eastern Catholic eparchies for the Melkite, Maronite, and Byzantine Catholics.

The city hosts the Greek Orthodox Annunciation Cathedral, the see of the Metropolis of Atlanta and its bishop, Alexios. Other Orthodox Christian jurisdictions represented by parishes in the Atlanta area include the Antiochian Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Romanian Orthodox Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church in America.

Atlanta is also the see of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, which includes all of northern Georgia, much of middle Georgia and the Chattahoochee River valley of western Georgia. This Diocese is headquartered at the Cathedral of St Philip in Buckhead and is led by the Right Reverend J. Neil Alexander.

Atlanta serves as headquarters for several regional church bodies also. The Southeastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America maintains offices in downtown Atlanta; ELCA parishes are numerous throughout the metro area. There are eight United Church of Christ congregations in the Atlanta metro area, one of which, First Congregational in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood, is noted for being the church with which former mayor Andrew Young is affiliated.

Traditional African American denominations such as the National Baptist Convention and the African Methodist Episcopal Church are strongly represented in the area. These churches have several seminaries that form the Interdenominational Theological Centermarker complex in the Atlanta University Center.

The headquarters for The Salvation Army's United States Southern Territory is located in Atlanta. The denomination has eight churches, numerous social service centers, and youth clubs located throughout the Atlanta area.

The city has a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located in the suburb of Sandy Springs, Georgiamarker.

The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Atlantamarker in adjacent Lilburn, Georgiamarker is currently the largest Hindu temple in the world outside of Indiamarker. It is one of approximately 15 Hindu temples in the metro Atlanta area, along with 7 other Hindu temples in Georgia serving nearly 100,000 Hindus in Atlanta, Augusta, Macon, Perry, Savannah, Columbus, Rome/Cartersville and other remote centers.

There also are an estimated 75,000 Muslims in the area and approximately 35 mosques.

Metropolitan Atlanta is also home to a Jewish community estimated to include 120,000 individuals in 61,300 households. This study places Atlanta's Jewish population as the 11th largest in the United States, up from 17th largest in 1996. Atlanta also has a considerable number of ethnic Christian congregations such as Korean Baptist/Methodist/Presbyterian Churches, Tamil Church Atlanta, Telugu Church, Hindi Church, Malayalam Church, Ethiopian, Chinese, and many more traditional ethnic religious groups.


Colleges and universities

Atlanta is home to one of the largest concentrations of colleges and universities in the country. The city has more than 30 institutions of higher education, including the Georgia Institute of Technologymarker, a predominant engineering and research university that has been ranked in the top ten public universities since 1999 by US News and World Report, and Georgia State Universitymarker. The city also hosts the Atlanta University Center, the largest consortium of historically black colleges and universities in the country. Its members include Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse Collegemarker, Spelman College, and the Interdenominational Theological Centermarker. Adjoining the AUC schools, but independent from them, is the Morehouse School of Medicine. The Savannah College of Art and Design opened a Midtown Atlanta campus in 2005 and shortly thereafter bought out and closed the Atlanta College of Art. Also in the city are the John Marshall Law School and the Reformed Theological Seminary.

Outer Atlanta contains several colleges, including Emory Universitymarker, an internationally prominent liberal arts and research institution that has been consistently ranked as one of the top 20 schools in the United States by US News and World Report; Oglethorpe University, a small liberal arts school named for the founder of Georgia with a faculty rated 15th in the nation by the Princeton Review; Agnes Scott Collegemarker, a women's college; and several state-run institutions such as Clayton State University, Georgia Perimeter College, Kennesaw State Universitymarker, Southern Polytechnic State Universitymarker, and the University of West Georgia.

Elementary and secondary schools

The public school system (Atlanta Public Schools) is run by the Atlanta Board of Education with superintendent Dr. Beverly L. Hall. As of 2007, the system has an active enrollment of 49,773 students, attending a total of 106 schools: including 58 elementary schools (three of which operate on a year-round calendar), 16 middle schools, 20 high schools, and 7 charter schools. The school system also supports two alternative schools for middle and/or high school students, two single-sex academies, and an adult learning center. The school system also owns and operates radio station WABE-FMmarker 90.1, a National Public Radio affiliate, and Public Broadcasting Service television station WPBA 30.


Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airportmarker , the world's busiest airport as measured by passenger traffic and by aircraft traffic, provides air service between Atlanta and many national and international destinations. Delta Air Lines and Airtran Airways maintains their largest hubs at the airport. Situated ( ) south of downtown, the airport covers most of the land inside a wedge formed by Interstate 75, Interstate 85, and Interstate 285. The MARTA rail system has a station in the airport terminal, and provides direct service to Downtown, Midtown, Buckhead, and Sandy Springs. The major general aviation airports near the city proper are DeKalb-Peachtree Airportmarker and Brown Fieldmarker . See List of airports in the Atlanta area for a more complete listing.

With a comprehensive network of freeways that radiate out from the city, Atlantans rely on their cars as the dominant mode of transportation in the region Atlanta is mostly encircled by Interstate 285, a beltway locally known as "the Perimeter" which has come to mark the boundary between the interior of the region and its surrounding suburbs.

Three major interstate highways converge in Atlanta; I-20 runs east to west across town, while I-75 runs from northwest to southeast, and I-85 runs from northeast to southwest. The latter two combine to form the Downtown Connector (I-75/85) through the middle of the city. The combined highway carries more than 340,000 vehicles per day. The Connector is one of the ten most congested segments of interstate highway in the United States. The intersection of I-85 and I-285 in Doravillemarker – officially called the Tom Moreland Interchangemarker, is known to most residents as Spaghetti Junction. Metropolitan Atlanta is approached by thirteen freeways. In addition to the aforementioned interstates, I-575, Georgia 400, Georgia 141, I-675, Georgia 316, I-985, Stone Mountain Freeway (US 78), and Langford Parkway (SR 166) all terminate just within or beyond the Perimeter, with the exception of Langford Parkway, limiting the transportation options in the central city.

This strong automotive reliance has resulted in heavy traffic and contributes to Atlanta's air pollution, which has made Atlanta one of the more polluted cities in the country. The Clean Air Campaign was created in 1996 to help reduce pollution in metro Atlanta.

Around 2008 the Atlanta metro area has ranked at or near the top of the longest average commute times in the U.S. Also, the Atlanta metro area has ranked at or near the top for worst traffic in the country.

Notwithstanding heavy automotive usage, Atlanta's subway system, operated by Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), is the seventh busiest in the country. MARTA also operates a bus system within Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb and Gwinnett Counties. Clayton, Cobb, and Gwinnett counties each operate separate, autonomous transit authorities, using buses but no trains.

Atlanta has a reputation as being one of the most dangerous cities for pedestrians, as far back as 1949 when the Gone with the Wind author Margaret Mitchell was struck by a speeding car and killed while crossing Peachtree Street.

The proposed Beltline would create a greenway and public transit system in a circle around the city from a series of mostly abandoned rail lines. This rail right-of-way would also accommodate multi-use trails connecting a string of existing and new parks. In addition, there is a proposed streetcar project that would create a streetcar line along Peachtree Street from downtown to the Buckhead area, as well as possibly another East-West MARTA line.

Atlanta began as a railroad town and it still serves as a major rail junction, with several freight lines belonging to Norfolk Southern and CSX intersecting below street level in downtown. It is the home of major classification yards for both railroads, Inman Yard on the NS and Tilford Yard on the CSX. Long-distance passenger service is provided by Amtrak's Crescent train, which connects Atlanta with many cities between New Orleans and New York. The Amtrak stationmarker is located several miles north of downtown — and it lacks a connection to the MARTA rail system. An ambitious, long-standing proposal would create a Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal downtown, adjacent to Philips Arena and the Five Points MARTA station, which would link, in a single facility, MARTA bus and rail, intercity bus services, proposed commuter rail services to other Georgia cities, and Amtrak.

Greyhound Lines provides intercity bus service between Atlanta and many locations throughout the United States, Canada, and the Mexican border.

Sister cities

Atlanta has eighteen sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI):


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  59. ">


  • Atlanta and Environs: A Chronicle of Its People and Events: Years of Change and Challenge, 1940–1976 by Franklin M. Garrett, Harold H. Martin
  • Atlanta, Then and Now. Part of the Then and Now book series.
  • Darlene R. Roth and Andy Ambrose. Metropolitan Frontiers: A short history of Atlanta. Atlanta: Longstreet Press, 1996. An overview of the city's history with an emphasis on its growth.
  • Sjoquist, Dave (ed.) The Atlanta Paradox. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. 2000.
  • Stone, Clarence. Regime Politics: Governing Atlanta, 1946–1988. University Press of Kansas. 1989.
  • Elise Reid Boylston. Atlanta: Its Lore, Legends and Laughter. Doraville: privately printed, 1968. Lots of neat anecdotes about the history of the city.
  • Frederick Allen. Atlanta Rising. Atlanta: Longstreet Press, 1996. A detailed history of Atlanta from 1946 to 1996, with much about City Councilman, later Mayor, William B. Hartsfield's work in making Atlanta a major air transport hub, and about the American Civil Rights Movement as it affected (and was affected by) Atlanta.

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