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 Atlanta Landmarks

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Margifish
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PostSubject: Atlanta Landmarks   Wed Aug 19, 2015 11:03 pm

Underground Atlanta




Exhibiting some of its original architecture and rich history, Underground Atlanta remains one of oldest and most unique attractions in the city. Commonly referred to as the "City Beneath the Streets," visitors from all over the world come to learn and understand more about Atlanta and Underground Atlanta's pivotal role in the city's early beginnings.

1836-1860

The state of Georgia chartered a railroad to connect farming and cotton states to eastern markets and ports in 1836. A rail line was built between Atlanta and Chattanooga and 138 mile markers were placed. The Zero Milepost still stands next to Underground Atlanta today on the basement level of the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot. A bustling new town emerged around the Zero Milepost. On the eve of the Civil War, Atlanta had 10,000 people. It had already become the trade and cultural center for the South. Alabama Street, between Peachtree Street and Central Avenue, was the city's center, which was to become Underground Atlanta.

1861-1864

Atlanta Serves As the Supply Depot of the Confederacy During The Civil War

Georgia seceded from the Union in January 1861. Atlanta, the railroad center of the South, was a prime target for the army of General William T. Sherman. Federal shelling into the city's center damaged the gas lamp, which still stands at Peachtree and Lower Alabama Streets. The railroad depot that stood between Pryor Street and Central Avenue was where Scarlett O'Hara and doctors worked frantically over Confederate soldiers, wounded in battles surrounding the city in the fictional movie "Gone with the Wind". Only a month after the siege began, Atlanta was surrendered to federal troops. A Union camp was established near Underground Atlanta.

1866-1920

Atlanta Rises from the Ashes

In 1866, Atlantans sifted through the ashes of wartime destruction, once again building their city around the Zero Milepost. In the five years between 1866 and 1871, the city's population doubled to 22,000. In 1869, the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot was built with an impressive three-story head house. The remaining single story structure, which still stands next to Underground Atlanta, is Central Atlanta's oldest building. In the 1870's, the district included the train station, banks, hotels, saloons, grain wholesalers, law offices, a whiskey distillery and Packinghouse Row, on the northern side of Alabama Street between Pryor Street and Central Avenue. In 1887, Coca-Cola was served at Jacob's Pharmacy soda fountain on Peachtree Street a half block from Union Station. In 1889, Atlanta introduced the electric streetcar to the South. By 1900, Union Station Depot served 100 trains a day with direct rail service from New York, Cincinnati, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Macon, Augusta and Columbus. By 1910, several iron bridges had been constructed to cross the rail tracks at Union Street. Local architect Haralson Bleckley proposed that new concrete bridges be built to replace the iron bridges. A linear mall at bridge level would connect the concrete viaducts and create a series of public plazas.

1920-1929

The Viaducts Create a "City Beneath The Streets"

During the 1920's, construction of the concrete "viaducts" elevated the street system one level to permit a better flow of traffic. Merchants moved their operations to the second floor, leaving the old fronts for storage and service. Thus, giving birth to what is now Underground Atlanta.

1930-1969

Atlanta Grows While Underground Atlanta Lies Dormant

Atlanta continued to stride forward, attracting new industries and increasing its role as a transportation center for the United States. In 1943, a new park, named Plaza Park, was built over the railroad gulch. It was the only one of Bleckley's proposed plazas to be constructed. The park was replaced by a new and larger plaza, Peachtree Fountains Plaza, which has become a major entrance to Underground Atlanta. In the 1960's, Atlanta was the cradle of the Civil Rights Movement. In the commercial district near Atlanta, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led numerous non-violent demonstrations to protest racial segregation. Tragedy struck when Dr. King was assassinated in 1968. The funeral procession from his church to the cemetery passed over the viaducts through the Underground Atlanta district.

1968-Present


Underground Atlanta Is Restored

In 1968, the Atlanta Board of Aldermen declared the five-block area of the original downtown historic site. Many significant architectural features survived from original storefronts, including ornate marble, granite archways, cast iron pilasters, decorative brickwork, and hand-carved wood posts and panels. One-year later, Underground Atlanta opened as a retail and entertainment center. In 1980, the construction of the MARTA rapid transit line and other factors led to the closing of the original Underground Atlanta. Yet, upon its closing, civic and business leaders succeeded in having Underground Atlanta placed on the National Register of Historic Places and leaders vowed to reopen the area.

Underground Atlanta was reopened in 1989, at a cost of $142 million, through a joint venture between the City of Atlanta and private industry. It was redesigned to be one of the major projects aimed at preserving and revitalizing the center of Atlanta as the focal point of community life. Today, Underground offers a complete family experience, with retail shops, specialty and gift shops, fast food in the Old Alabama Eatery, unique features and entertainment, special events and cultural programming.


Fox Theater



The historic Fox Theatre is one of Atlanta’s premiere venues for live entertainment. The Fox’s 4,678 seat theatre is booked more than 300 performances a year ranging from Broadway to rock to comedy to movies. In December 2004, Billboard Magazine ranked the Fox Theatre in Atlanta as “The #1 non-residency venue worldwide for the decade (5,000 seats or less).”

The Fox Theatre, world-renowned as a concert and event venue like no other, began its story in a most unusual way.

In 1928, the Fox was originally conceived as a home for Atlanta’s Shriners organization. To create a headquarters befitting the group’s prominent social status, the Shriners looked to the ancient temples of the Far East to inspire a mosque-style structure befitting their stature. Storied architectural gems like the Alhambra in Spain and Egypt’s Temple of Kharnak heavily influenced the building’s elaborate and intensely ornate design. Bursting with soaring domes, minarets and sweeping archways, the exterior of the building gave way to stunning gold leaf details, sumptuous textiles and exquisite trompe l’oeil art (an art technique that uses realistic imagery to create optical illusions) inside.

Ultimately, the design was so fantastical, it became more of a financial burden than the Shriners could bear. Shortly before its completion, the Shriners leased their beautiful auditorium to William Fox, a movie mogul who had launched his empire by building theatres across the country to meet America’s insatiable affection for the new moving pictures that were sweeping the nation. By the end of the 1920s, these aptly-named “movie palaces” were an integral part of nearly every community in the country, each one more gilded and exquisite than the next. Developers like Fox spared no expense, understanding all too well that these movie palaces were the gateway to a brave new world, transporting eager audiences to exotic, elegant settings they could only imagine.

With Fox’s financial backing (the project cost more than $3 million, the equivalent of nearly $40 million today), the 250,000 square foot Fox Theatre was completed, with the crowning addition of “Mighty Mo”, the 3,622-pipe Möller organ that remains the largest Möller theatre organ in the world even today. The Fox opened on Christmas Day in 1929 to a sold-out crowd, premiering Steamboat Willie, Disney’s first cartoon starring Mickey Mouse.

Word about the magnificent new Fox Theatre quickly spread. Its striking red-carpet entryway and ornate gilt work, soaring turreted ceilings and stained glass windows, all leading to a vast cobalt “sky” with a sea of twinkling stars, were the perfect accent for the glamorous productions audiences lined up to see. Despite its popularity, the Fox’s grandeur couldn’t save it from the far-reaching effects of the Great Depression. In 1932, William Fox and the theatre were forced to declare bankruptcy, and Fox lost his namesake movie palace. The Fox was auctioned on courthouse steps and sold to a private company for a paltry $75,000 during Mr. Fox’s bankruptcy proceedings, but remained a beloved destination for Atlanta’s moviegoers. For the next three decades, the Fox remained in high demand, showing hundreds of acclaimed films, hosting live performances ranging from the Metropolitan Opera Company to pop legends like Nelson Eddy, and reigning as the favorite dance hall in Atlanta as the craze for live Big Band and Swing music swept the nation.

But the rocky fate of the Fox was still in flux. By the late 1960s, beautiful landmark movie palaces like the Fox were falling out of favor, replaced by suburban movieplexes built for efficiency and multiple-screen showings. As customers began migrating to the suburbs, the Fox fell into disrepair, and in 1974, Mosque Inc. closed the Fox’s doors, seemingly forever. This stunning landmark, beloved for generations, was suddenly facing demolition. Confronted with the possibility of losing their beloved landmark, the residents of Atlanta sprang into action. They created a non-profit called Atlanta Landmarks and launched the now-legendary “Save The Fox” campaign, which raised funds through every possible means – collecting donations from both public and private organizations, organizing benefit concerts featuring everyone from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Liberace, even collecting pennies at local businesses, all to save the Fox from what seemed a certain fate.

Saving the Fox truly was a community achievement, a journey of a thousand small steps. Of the $3 million raised, no single donation was over $400,000; the vast majority of the fund was made up of small personal donations from Atlanta residents intent on rescuing this stunning structure. In 1975, after months of painstaking restoration efforts, the Fox opened its doors once again, to the joy and celebration of the patrons and employees who had pulled it from the brink of disaster.

Atlanta Landmarks (now called Fox Theatre, Inc.) continues to run the theatre today, making it one of an elite group of not-for-profit theatres in the country, committed to making performance art accessible to everyone. Continuing their efforts to give back to the community they love, in 2008, the Fox launched the Fox Theatre Institute (FTI), a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of historic theatres. The FTI provides essential technical, historical and organizational support and education to theatres across the country. The successful program recently spawned Georgia Presenters, a booking consortium project that helps small communities band together to attract high-grade talent and performance art in their area for an affordable price.

Since the “Save The Fox” campaign, the Fox has become a destination for audiences, historians and tourists alike, all of whom flock to the renowned theatre to see its grandeur firsthand. Now primarily a venue for a huge variety of headlining events, the “Fabulous Fox” (as it is affectionately known) has truly become a legend in its own right, showcasing unforgettable performances by everyone from Elvis Presley to Madonna, and playing host to countless Broadway shows, including the world premiere of The Phantom of the Opera’s touring production. In addition, the theatre’s lavish ballrooms, lounges and outdoor terraces are perpetually in high demand for fashionable weddings and special events taking place in Atlanta.

Each year, the award-winning theatre hosts more than 250 shows and half a million visitors for its legendary offerings. In the past decade, the Fox has been widely recognized by leading industry influencers for excellence in arts and entertainment, preservation and arts education. It was nominated for Theatre of the Year by Billboard and Pollstar Magazines, and awarded the Outstanding Historic Theatre of the Year award in 2011 by the League of Historic American Theatres. The Fabulous Fox was most recently given the distinction by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of “The Best Big Rooms in America”. For the past decade, The Fox Theatre has been consistently ranked in the top three theatres in North America for gross ticket sales, making it clear that this time, the Fox is here to stay.

Oakland Cemetery



Less than a mile from the heart of downtown Atlanta, a hidden treasure, a secret sanctuary, welcomes you. This garden cemetery, founded in 1850, is the final resting place of many of Atlanta’s settlers, builders, and most noted citizens like Bobby Jones, Margaret Mitchell, and Maynard Jackson. It is also a showplace of sculpture and architecture, and a botanical preserve with ancient oaks and magnolias. Here in this peaceful place the full scope of the city’s rich and fascinating history unfolds before you.

Important Atlanta milestones are represented at Oakland, from early builders, to Civil War soldiers, to leaders of industry, to Civil Rights pioneers, no matter where you turn, history surrounds you. It is a shining example of the “rural garden” cemetery movement of the 19th century. The garden cemetery featured winding paths, large shade trees, flowers, and shrubs, and appealing vistas. The garden cemetery concept was a forerunner of public park development in America. Today, Oakland Cemetery is still used as a park for the community and is a valued green space in Atlanta. It is also a repository for stunning art and architecture. Elaborate mausoleums, soaring sculptures and effusive inscriptions speak of an age when the bereaved found consolation in extravagant expression. Impressive art and architecture can be seen in many styles: Victorian, Greek Revival, Gothic, Neo-classical, Egyptian and Exotic Revival. Several mausoleums feature stained glass windows from Tiffany Studios. Bronze urns over six feet high were cast at Gorham Manufacturing Company in New York, the first art foundry in America.

Oakland was founded in 1850, during the height of the rural or garden cemetery movement. Prior to this time small urban churchyards were the norm but the rural cemetery movement promoted larger, park-like spaces on the outskirts of town. These cemeteries were planned as public spaces from their inception and provided a place for all citizens to enjoy refined outdoor recreation amidst art and sculpture. Elaborate gardens were planted and family outings to the cemetery became popular social activities.

World War I and the following years brought much change to Oakland. Families moved away or no longer visited regularly. Younger generations lost touch and Oakland, never planned as a perpetual care cemetery, slipped into decline.

The years following World War I brought many changes and by the mid-1970s Oakland had lost much of her glory. Her gardens were largely gone and theft and vandalism had become serious problems. It was at this point that a group of concerned families formed what would become the Historic Oakland Foundation, with the goal of partnering with the City of Atlanta to restore, preserve, enhance, and share this wonderful jewel in our city. Through these efforts the first two phases of restoration have been completed and Phase III is currently underway.

Victorian Style

Oakland’s grounds are made up of hundreds of individual lots, each belonging to individual families. Though little more than cleared farmland in the beginning, early photographs show that many hedges were installed to delineate these property lines and young trees were quickly planted to break the heat of the summer sun. Today these saplings are towering giants that pay homage to all who have passed beneath them.

The families continued developing their lots and pictures from the turn of the century show the refinement that had occurred. Walls, fountains and ornate iron fences had been added to grace the gardens.

The Victorian period brought with it a fascination with the natural world and a keen interest in plants was an integral part of this passion. Plant collectors explored remote parts of the world to bring back new and exotic specimens. It became quite fashionable to decorate your home with exotic, often tropical, plants. Atlanta’s first greenhouse was built to grow flowers for the cemetery but it was also used to overwinter these tender plants.

Symbolism and the Language of Flowers


Many plants and flowers were symbolic to the Victorians, either through their ‘language of flowers’ or religious beliefs. Lilies, symbolizing resurrection, weeping willows for sorrow and palm fronds to indicate triumph of the soul are frequently seen on grave markers. You will often see these plants growing nearby. The many Victorian era books on the ‘Language of Flowers’ gave meaning to each flower and a bouquet could be used to send a private message telling of one’s love, or hate. Such bouquets can also be seen carved on the stones.

Swan House



Swan House, traditionally known as one of the most recognized and photographed landmarks in Atlanta, is an elegant, classically styled mansion built in 1928 for the Edward H. Inman family, heirs to a cotton brokerage fortune. The mansion, designed by famed Atlanta architect Philip Trammell Shutze, provides a glimpse into the lifestyle of this Atlanta family during the 1920s and 1930s. Explore the many rooms of this beautifully restored historic house and enjoy gardens, fountains, and breathtaking views on the Swan House grounds. We offer a variety of experiences at the Swan House including Open House Experiences and a special Capitol Tour.

Centennial Olympic Park



Less than two decades ago, Centennial Olympic Park’s neighborhood was a run-down part of town. That all began to change on the day Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games CEO Billy Payne gazed out his office window and a brilliant inspiration came to him – to convert a multi-block eyesore into a glorious gathering spot for visitors and residents to enjoy during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games and for years to come.

Atlanta responded to that vision with tremendous support. The estimated $75 million in development costs came entirely from private-sector donations – contributions in the form of commemorative bricks, funds raised by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and local philanthropic foundation grants.

This community support, coupled with the willingness of the State of Georgia to take the lead in the Park’s development and to assume ownership after the Games, transformed a dream into a grand reality – Centennial Olympic Park.

Following the Olympic Games, a large portion of the park was closed and redesigned for daily public use. A gala commemoration weekend in March 1998 introduced the newly landscaped Park and its expanded amenities.

Today, this unique 21-acre park performs a dual mission: it serves as Georgia’s lasting legacy of the Centennial Olympic Games and it anchors efforts to revitalize residential and commercial development in Georgia’s capital city of Atlanta.

The Georgia World Congress Center Authority has operational responsibility for Centennial Olympic Park, as well as the Georgia Dome and Georgia World Congress Center.

The Park sponsors community-wide free events, including the Fourth of July Celebration, Music@Noon, the Wednesday WindDown concert series, and Park Market. The Park also hosts festivals, fundraisers and private events. These events, in addition to the normal day-to-day traffic, bring an estimated three million visitors to this urban oasis each year.

The Tabernacle



The Tabernacle building has a rich & storied history. Opened in 1910 as The Broughton Tabernacle; Dr. Leonard Gaston Broughton was the pastor and a physician. Dr. Broughton started the Georgia Baptist Medical Center and nursing school, which began as the Tabernacle infirmary with three beds. The Third Baptist Church was an active congregation with over 4000 members. The congregation relocated during the mid eighties and the building lay vacant until the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, when it was converted into a House of Blues club.

After the Olympics, the building continued to operate as a music venue under a variety of different owners. The Tabernacle is currently operated by Live Nation.


Atlanta Botanical Garden



The Atlanta Botanical Garden is a 30 acre botanical garden located adjacent to Piedmont Park in Midtown Atlanta. Incorporated in 1976, the garden's mission is to "develop and maintain plant collections for the purposes of display, education, conservation, research and enjoyment."

Following a petition by citizens of Atlanta in the year 1973, the garden was incorporated in 1976 as the private, non-profit corporation Atlanta Botanical Garden Inc.. Within a year Bill Warner, previously employed at Holden Arboretum, was assigned office as the first executive director. He was soon followed by Ann L. Crammond in 1979. The following year, 1980, marked a turning point in the history of the garden as a 50-year lease was negotiated with the city, securing the site of the Garden for years to come.

A number of promotional activities started taking place, including social events, major art exhibitions and the annual Garden of Eden Ball. The Atlanta Botanical Garden welcomed its 50,000th visitor within a mere three years after the lease was arranged - this was even before any permanent structures had been erected. In 1985, the Atlanta Botanical Garden built its first permanent structure, the Gardenhouse. Expansions following this were The Children's Garden (1999), the Fuqua Conservatory in 1989 and the Fuqua Orchid Center which was added in 2002.

Blockbuster summertime exhibitions began in 2003 with TREEmendous TREEhouses. Chihuly in the Garden opened in 2004, while in 2005 Locomotion in the Garden featured G-scale model trains.

The Botanical Garden is composed of a number of smaller themed gardens. Each contains different landscapes to display a variety of plants. Near the entrance are formal gardens, such as the Japanese garden and the rose garden. Two woodland areas, the 5 acre Upper Woodland and the 10 acre Storza Woods feature large trees and shade-loving flowers and undergrowth. The Children's Garden features whimsical sculptures, fountains, and interpretive exhibits on botany, ecology, and nutrition.

The 16,000 square feet Dorothy Chapman Fuqua Conservatory contains indoor exhibits of plants from tropical rain-forests and deserts. The rain forest room of the Fuqua Conservatory is also populated by tropical birds, turtles, and several exhibits of poison dart frogs, the last of which is a collaboration in conservation efforts with Zoo Atlanta. Adjoining this building, the Fuqua Orchid Center contains separate rooms simulating the tropics and high elevations in order to house rare orchids from around the world.

The Fuqua Orchid Center is home to the largest collection of species of orchids on permanent display in the U.S. and hosts a wintertime display known as Orchid Daze. Its unique Tropical High Elevation House provides the correct habitat for mountain orchids and companion plants from around the equator at elevations of 6,000 to 10,000 feet. An Air Washer System, technology adapted from the textile industry, was combined with traditional greenhouse heating and cooling to create this environment, and allows rare orchids to thrive. The Tropical Display House is filled with fragrant orchids from around the world.


Westview Cemetery



Westview Cemetery is the largest cemetery in the Southeastern United States, comprising over 582 acres, 50% of which is undeveloped. Westview includes the graves of more than 100,000 people.

Westview Cemetery has been serving Atlanta and the region’s surrounding community since 1884 with beauty, dignity and heritage. Our community’s rich tradition and history is beautifully preserved among acres of towering trees and winding roadways. Families representing all religions, cultures and walks of life have entrusted Westview Cemetery to preserve their unique family history in a tradition of compassion, integrity and excellence.

As one of the largest nonprofit cemeteries in the United States, and the largest cemetery in the Southeast with hundreds of undeveloped acres, Westview Cemetery will continue to provide future generations a place of beauty and respect to treasure the memories of those who have gone before.

Westview Cemetery is truly a historic place, for many of Atlanta’s pioneers are interred here. Asa G. Candler, founder of Coca-Cola; Hugh M. Dorsey, Governor of Georgia; Mayor William B. Hartsfield; Mayor I.N. Ragsdale; Noted newspaperman and author of the famous “Uncle Remus Stories” Joel Chandler Harris is also buried here.

Other well-known Southerners buried at Westview are Donald L. Hollowell, Vivian M. Jones, E.P. McBurney, Bishop Arthur Moore, G.V. Gress, donor of the Cyclorama to the city of Atlanta; L.P. Grant, who donated the land for Grant Park; Robert Shaw, Rankin Smith, Robert Woodruff, Evelyn Lowery and many more.

In 1943, construction began on the Mausoleum and Abbey under the watchful eye of then president, Asa Candler. The mural of Faith, Hope, and Charity occupies a prominent place in the Abbey Chapel. In the Narthex, four of the Lord's parables are vividly portrayed on canvas. These unparalleled paintings attest to the dedicated hands and minds that have made Westview Mausoleum the South's most famous shrine. There are 27 stained glass panels in this beautiful Chapel depicting the Life of Christ from the nativity through the crucifixion and the resurrection. Westview Mausoleum is the largest structure of its kind ever built under one roof, containing space for 11,444 entombments and space for 1500 niches in the Garden Columbarium.

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