Category: About the City
ATLANTA: Your New Hometown
…to a city where every other street seems to have “Peachtree” in its name, where its citizens are as determined and resilient as Scarlet O’Hara, where a soft drink has become “the Real Thing” the world over, where the courageous leader of America’s civil rights movement called home and where the status of an international city is firmly established by hosting the Olympics.
The area of Atlanta was originally populated by a Native American mound-building society. Many of Atlanta’s corridors follow the paths created by the Creek and Cherokee Indian nations, who inhabited the area until the early 19th Century. A large Creek settlement was called Standing Pitch Tree after a tall lone tree. Over time, the “pitch tree” became “peach tree.” No matter where you go in Atlanta, you always seem to be driving on Peachtree.
By the time of the American Revolution, the Creek, thought to be descendants of the early inhabitants, had established Standing Peachtree Village near the site of an ancient mound by the confluence of the Chattahoochee River and Peachtree Creek. The village was a hub for several major trails and functioned as an important trading center. A large section of one of the main trails, which ran from the village to present-day Suwannee, was upgraded by local European settlers near Fort Daniel built, during the War of 1812, in what is now Gwinnett County. This led to the building in 1813 of Fort Peachtree on a rise overlooking the Chattahoochee River. The former trail that now connected the two forts became known as the original Peachtree Road.
In 1821 the Creek ceded the lands surrounding the Atlanta area to the State of Georgia. The first European settler in what is now Atlanta was Hardy Ivy, who in 1833 built a cabin near present day Courtland Street and International Boulevard. In 1836, in an effort to compete for trade, the Georgia legislature approved the construction of a railroad to connect the area near Chattanooga, Tennessee to “”…a point on the southeastern bank of the Chattahoochee River.” Army engineer Colonel Stephen Harriman Long was chosen to determine the most practical route for the new Western and Atlantic Railroad line. After exploring half a dozen options he chose a site nine miles south of the river. In 1837, a stake was driven into the red clay on Hardy Ivy’s property and the town that was to become the city of Atlanta became the “end of the line.” Aptly named Terminus by the railroad’s chief engineer, the town boomed. As the town continued to grow and prosper, the name Atlanta was chosen to represent the thriving, progressive community that today nearly 5,500,000 residents call home.
Today, the Atlanta metropolitan area consistently ranks high in overall quality of life when compared to other cities in the country for numerous reasons. It is home to notable businesses such as Cingular Wireless, CNN, Cox Communications, EarthLink, Equifax Georgia-Pacific, Horne Depot, the Weather Channel and UPS, and continues to function as a major economic hub.
With a passenger terminal complex equivalent to more than 45 football fields, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the world’s busiest passenger airport. Atlanta is an ideal location for carriers like hometown Delta Air Lines, as the city is only a 2-hour flight away from 83 percent of U.S. cities. Every day, nearly 250,000 passengers travel through Hartsfield-Jackson making it the world’s busiest passenger airport.
Atlanta offers its residents distinct seasons and a temperate climate. The flowering of the dogwood trees in the spring brings a festive air to the city, one of the greenest metro areas in the eastern part of the nation. Summers, which can have extended hot and humid spells, are tempered somewhat by Atlanta’s elevation on the edge of north Georgia’s Piedmont region. When fall moseys into the Atlanta region, the abundant greenery creates a decidedly more colorful canopy. Winters can be cold but daytime temperatures are usually comfortable enough to enjoy being outdoors.
Due to Atlanta’s ideal location, recreational activities abound in Georgia. Day trips offer opportunities in hiking, water skiing and whitewater rafting. A four-hour drive from Atlanta can bring you to the charm and grace of Savannah and the Georgia Coast, or the splendor of the North Carolina Mountains.
With over 8,000 restaurants in the metro area that range from simple and satisfying to elegant and gourmet, one never needs to go far to find a good meal. With every major U.S. regional cuisine represented as well as offerings from the cuisines of Europe, Latin and South America, Africa and Asia, those in search of outstanding culinary experiences will have an endless adventure.
Cultural appetites can also be well sated. The High Museum of Art, The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Ballet, the Alliance Theater, the famous Fox Theater and the Civic Center plus art galleries, comedy clubs, live music venues and local festivals are but a few of the host of choices available for a sophisticated night on the town or a weekend of fun. For entertainment the whole family would enjoy Atlanta offers Six Flags Over Georgia, the Presidential Center, the Fembank Natural History Museum, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Zoo Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coke.
Pro sporting events run year-round in Atlanta, which is home to baseball’s Atlanta Braves, football’s Atlanta Falcons, basketball’s Atlanta Hawks and hockey’s Atlanta Thrashers. Three state-of-theart facilities, Philips Arena, the Georgia Dome, and Turner Field host these events and have also been home to the World Series, Major League Baseball’s All Star Game, two Super Bowls, NCAA Regional and Final Four basketball tournaments, the Peach Bowl and the SEC Championship Game.
Education is well served in the Atlanta area with 26 public school systems and over 150 private schools. Atlanta consistently ranks high in the total number of post¬secondary degrees conferred annually. Students from around the world come to Atlanta to attend renowned institutions such as Emory University, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Georgia State University.
Housing choices abound in the metro Atlanta area. Because the region covers such a large area there are homes and settings available to match any lifestyle. For those who enjoy in-town living, choices can run the gamut from quaint bungalows, 19th
century Victorian homes and amenity-rich condo and apartment communities to trendy urban lofts, posh high-rises and modern, custom-built mansions. Prefer a suburban setting? There are plentiful options that range from family-oriented neighborhoods to upscale golf, equestrian and tennis communities featuring luxurious homes.
The rural areas of the metro region offer spacious settings for existing or new homes with a relaxed feel embodying the graciousness of the South. Land is available for people who have plans for building a dream house, while existing homes offer choices sure to satisfy anyone seeking a pastoral repose.
Opportunities are also available for homeowners with exclusive tastes. Numerous choices exist in golf and country club communities offering private memberships and custom homes.
Only in Atlanta
Ride your bike from Atlanta to Alabama. The Silver Comet Trail begins in Smyrna and runs all the way across the Alabama border.
Participate in the race that runners from around the world descend on Atlanta for each Fourth of July – the Peachtree Road Race. Approximately 60,000 runners participate each year, making it one of the largest 10K foot races in the world.
Ask directions from locals and you may hear “ITP” or “OTP.” These nicknames reference communities that are “Inside the Perimeter” or “Outside the Perimeter” created by Interstate 285, a nearly 63-mile stretch of highway that encircles much of the city of Atlanta.
View Atlanta from the tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere and stay for dinner. The rotating Sun Dial Restaurant Bar and View atop the cylindrical Westin Peachtree Plaza in Downtown Atlanta provides a breathtaking 360-degree view of the city and surrounding area while enjoying delicious cuisine.
Witness the Eastern Continental Divide, a continental divide in the U.S. that separates the Gulf of Mexico drainage from the watersheds that flow directly into the Atlantic Ocean, runs right through downtown Atlanta and then east and through Decatur. Rainwater that falls on the south and east side of the divide runs eventually into the Atlantic Ocean while rainwater on the north and west side of the divide runs into the Gulf of Mexico.
Taste over 60 different coke products from around the globe at the World of Coca-Cola and explore the complete story past, present, and future of the world’s best-known brand!
Let you imagination run wild with LEGO fans young and old at LEGOLAND Discovery Center –
made up of a series of interactive features with creative inspiration at every turn.
Sit at the center of a panorama of the Battle of Atlanta and take a stirring journey through time in Atlanta’s Cyclorama & Civil War Museum, which showcases large circular paintings depicting the 1864 Battle of Atlanta, and the APEX Museum, which includes depictions of African American history of Georgia.
Dive into a one-of-a-kind aquatic experience at the Georgia Aquarium — the world’s largest aquarium, where you’ll discover beluga whales, whale sharks, penguins and aquatic animals from around the globe.
Other notable attractions are The Georgia State Museum of Science and Industry, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, and Braves Museum & Hall of Fame. The city also offers easy access to other historical sites such as the Tullie Smith Farm, Wren’s Nest, and Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Site. The Stone Mountain Park has nature trails, a tennis center, and amenities for swimming and fishing. Visitors to this park can also see the figures of Confederacy President Jefferson Davis, Lt. Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, and Gen. Robert E. Lee that are carved in the granite of the mountain. Other popular attractions include the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Yellow River Game Ranch, Zoo Atlanta, and the Atlanta Farmers Market. Additionally, three of Atlanta’s more prestigious universities are located close to the downtown area Georgia State University, Morehouse College, and Clark Atlanta University.
Atlanta offers tons of fun for adults and children alike. There are so many things to do in Atlanta – from top attractions and history, to outdoor adventures and award-winning culture – you’re sure to find seasonal sensations year-round whose high school curricula have been revised to align with college and workplace expectations and one of 47 states whose graduation requirements have been raised to college/career standards. Partly as a result of this new, rigorous curriculum the number of schools meeting or exceeding standards for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act, continues to rise, with 77 percent of schools currently meeting AYP.
Atlanta is Thriving
Companies are voting with their feet and choosing Atlanta to expand their campuses and build their headquarters. Companies like NCR Corporation, the global leader in consumer transaction technologies, announced that they will relocate their headquarters to Midtown, bringing up to 3,600 jobs to Atlanta. Porsche Cars, Cardlyitcs, Prince Tennis, Athena Health and Pulte Group are all moving into the City of Atlanta, creating new jobs and opportunity for our residents.
We are witnessing a rebirth in residential and commercial development. We celebrated the grand opening of Buckhead Atlanta and Ponce City Market is set to open next spring. Underground Atlanta was sold to WRS, Inc. who plans to redevelop the 12-acre property to include mixed-use retail and housing space furthering the improvement of our downtown corridor. I also attended the grand openings of two new attractions in our main tourism corridor – the Center for Civil and Human Rights and the College Football Hall of Fame. Every ribbon cutting event and groundbreaking ceremony is not just a win for our business community, it’s a win for Atlanta because these new developments create new jobs and revitalize neighborhoods across our great city.
Now more than ever, we are a place where you can start and grow your business. We have established programs that offer invaluable resources for entrepreneurs in the City. Programs like the Women’s Entrepreneurs Initiative, that provides women entrepreneurs in the city resources such as educational workshops, mentorship, and legal and marketing advice to accelerate their business growth and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program, who along with ACE will provide $3 million in loan capital for small businesses in Atlanta. We recognize that empowering entrepreneurs promotes job creation and strengthens our economy.
We have a vision of not just being another great city but being the leader in economic and cultural development in the southeast. The City of Atlanta was awarded the largest TIGER II grant in America and on December 30, 2014 we celebrated the official opening of the Atlanta Streetcar. The Atlanta Streetcar represents the first step in the dawning of a new era for transit in our city. The addition of the Atlanta Streetcar to the City will stimulate increased investment, grow jobs and offer residents, students, and visitors another transit option, an option that 51,000 people chose in the first month of operation. We are also expanding the Atlanta Beltline. This fall we broke ground on the Atlanta BeltLine’s Westside Trail, the largest expansion in its history of Atlanta Beltline through $43 million public-private investment. The Atlanta Beltline connects 45 neighborhoods and my Administration has already taken the first steps in bringing the Streetcar to the Beltline. We’re promoting connectivity between communities and neighborhoods, so that regardless of where you live, you can experience everything this great city has to offer.
It’s an exciting time in the City of Atlanta. Families and companies are choosing the City of Atlanta because Atlanta has proven to be a destination for innovation and opportunity. Atlanta is a city where you can bring and build your dreams.