ATLANTA, the capital and the largest city of Georgia, U.S.A., and the county-seat of Fulton county, situated at an altitude of 1000–1175 ft., in the N.W. part of the state, near the Chattahoochee river. Pop. (1860) 9554; (1880) 37,409; (1890) 65,533; (1900) 89,872, of whom 35,727 were negroes and 2531 were foreign-born; (1910) 154,839. It is served by the Southern, the Central of Georgia, the Georgia, the Seaboard Air Line, the Nashville, Chattanooga & St Louis (which enters the city over the Western & Atlantic, one of its leased lines), the Louisville & Nashville, the Atlanta, Birmingham & Atlantic, and the Atlanta & West Point railways. These railway communications, and the situation of the city (on the Piedmont Plateau) on the water-parting between the streams flowing into the Atlantic Ocean and those flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, have given Atlanta its popular name, the “Gate City of the South.” Atlanta was laid out in the form of a circle, the radius being 13 m. and the centre the old railway station, the Union Depot (the new station is called the Terminal); large additions have been made beyond this circle, including West End, Inman Park on the east, and North Atlanta. Among the best residence streets are Peachtree and West Peachtree streets to the north, and the older streets to the south of the business centre of the city—Washington Street, Whitehall, Pryor and Capitol Avenues. Among the principal office buildings are the Empire, the Equitable, the Prudential, the Fourth National, the Austell, the Peters, the Century, the English-American and the Candler buildings; and there are many fine residences, particularly in Peachtree and Washington streets, Inman Park and Ponce de Leon Circle. Among prominent public buildings are the State Capitol (completed 1889), containing a law library of about 65,000 volumes and a collection of portraits of famous Georgians, the north-west front of the Capitol grounds containing an equestrian statue (unveiled in 1907) of John Brown Gordon (1832–1904), a distinguished Confederate general in the American Civil War and governor of Georgia in 1887–1890; the court house; the Carnegie library, in which the young men’s library, organized in 1867, was merged in 1902; the post office building; and the Federal prison (about 4 m. south of the city). The principal parks are: the Piedmont (189 acres), the site of the Piedmont Exposition of 1887 and of the Cotton States and International Exposition of 1895; the Grant, given to the city by L. P. Grant, an Atlanta railroad builder, in 1882, and subsequently enlarged by the city (in its south-east corner is Fort Walker); the Lakewood, 6 m. south of the city; and Ponce de Leon Park, owned by an electric railway company and having mineral springs and a fine baseball ground. Four miles south of the centre of Atlanta is Fort McPherson, an important United States military post, occupying a reservation of 40 acres and having barracks for the accommodation of 1000 men. In Oakland Cemetery is a large monument to Confederate soldiers; another monument in Oakland, “To the unknown Confederate Dead,” is a reproduction of the Lion of Lucerne; in West View Cemetery (4 m. west of the city) is a memorial erected by the United Confederate Veterans. The city obtains its water-supply from the Chattahoochee river (above the mouth of Peachtree Creek), whence the water is pumped by four pumps, which have a daily capacity of 55,000,000 gallons. Atlanta is widely known for its public spirit and enterprise, to which the expositions of 1881, 1887 and 1895 bear witness. The air is bracing, largely because of the city’s altitude; the mean annual temperature is 60·8° F. (winter 44·1°, spring 60·5°, summer 77°, autumn 61·5°).
Atlanta is an important educational centre. Its public-school system was organized in 1871. Here are the Georgia School of Technology, founded in 1885 (opened 1888) as a branch of the university of Georgia; the Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons (established in 1898 by the union of the Atlanta Medical College, organized in 1855, and the Southern Medical College, organized in 1878); the Atlanta School of Medicine (1905); the Georgia College of Eclectic Medicine; the Atlanta Theological Seminary (1901, Congregational), the only theological school of the denomination in the South in 1908; the Atlanta Dental College; the Southern College of Pharmacy (1903); Washington Seminary (1877) for girls; and the following institutions for negroes—Atlanta University, founded in 1869, which is one of the best institutions in the country for the higher education of negroes, standing particularly for “culture” education (as opposed to industrial training), which has done particularly good work in the department of sociology, under the direction of Prof. W. E. B. du Bois (b. 1868), one of the most prominent teachers of negro descent in the country, and which had in 1908 339 students; Clark University, founded in 1870 by the Freedman’s Aid and Southern Educational Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church; the Atlanta Baptist College, founded in 1867; Morris Brown College (African Methodist Episcopal, founded in 1882, and opened in 1885), which has college preparatory, scientific, academic, normal and missionary courses, correspondence courses in English and theology, an industrial department, and departments of law, theology (Turner Theological Seminary), nurse-training, music and art; the Gammon Theological Seminary (Methodist Episcopal, chartered in 1888), which has its buildings just outside the city limits; and the Spelman Seminary for women and girls (Baptist) opened in 1881 as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary—the present name being adopted in 1883 in honour of the parents of Mrs John D. Rockefeller—and incorporated in 1888. At Decatur (pop. 1418 in 1900), a residential suburb, 6 m. east-north-east of Atlanta, is the Agnes Scott College (1890) for white girls; connected with the college is a school of music, art and expression, and an academy.
The city’s principal charitable institutions are the Grady Memorial hospital (opened in 1892), supported by the city and named in honour of Henry W. Grady; the Presbyterian hospital; the Baptist Tabernacle Infirmary; the Wesley Memorial hospital; St Joseph’s infirmary; the Municipal hospital for contagious diseases; the Florence Crittenden home. Three miles south-east of the city is a (state) soldiers’ home, for aged, infirm and disabled Confederate veterans. The Associated Charities of Atlanta was organized in 1905.
The principal newspapers are the Constitution (morning), edited from 1880 until 1889 by Henry W. Grady (1851–1889), one of the most eloquent of Southern orators, who did much to promote the reconciliation of the North and the South after the Civil War, and whose statue stands opposite the post office; the Journal (evening), of which Hoke Smith (b. 1855), a prominent political leader, secretary of the interior in President Cleveland’s cabinet in 1893–1896, and later governor of Georgia, was long the proprietor; and the Georgian (evening), founded in 1906 as a Prohibition organ.
As regards commerce and manufactures, Atlanta ranks first among the cities of Georgia. In 1907 itsand retail trade was estimated at $100,000,000. The city is said to receive two-fifths of the total freight delivered in the state of Georgia. From 1895 to 1907 the bank clearings increased from about $65,000,000 to about $260,000,000. In recognition of the city’s financial strength, Atlanta has been designated by the secretary of the treasury as one of the cities whose bonds will be accepted as security for Federal deposits. Atlanta is the Southern headquarters for a number of fire and life insurance companies, and is the third city of the United States in the amount of insurance business written and reported to resident agents, the annual premium receipts averaging about $10,000,000. It is an important horse and mule market, and handles much tobacco.
The development of manufactures has been especially notable. In 1880 the capital invested in manufacturing industries was approximately $2,468,000; in 1890 it was $9,508,962; in 1900 it had increased to $16,045,156; and in 1905, when only establishments under the “factory system” were counted in the census, to $21,631,162. In 1900 the total product was valued at $16,707,027, and the factory product at $14,418,834; and in 1905 the factory product was valued at $25,745,650, an increase of 78·6% in five years. Among the products are cotton goods (the product value of which in 1905 was 14% of the total value of the city’s manufactures), foundry and machine-shop products, lumber, patent medicines, confectionery, men’s clothing, mattresses, spring-beds and other furniture. Since 1904 part of the power utilized for manufacturing has been obtained from the Chattahoochee river, 15 m. from the city. There are many manufactories just outside the city limits.
History.—Atlanta owes its origin to the development of pioneer railroads of Georgia. In 1836 the Western & Atlantic, the first road built into North Georgia, was chartered, and the present site of Atlanta was chosen as its southern terminal, which it reached in 1843, and which was named “Terminus.” The Georgia and the Central of Georgia then projected branches to Terminus in order to connect with the Western & Atlantic, and completed them in 1845 and 1846. The town charter of 1843 changed the name to Marthasville, in honour of the daughter of Governor Wilson Lumpkin; and the city charter of 1847 changed this to Atlanta. The population in 1850 was 2572; in 1860, 9554. Manufacturing interests soon became important, and during the Civil War Atlanta was the seat of Confederate military factories and a depot of supplies. In 1864 it was the objective point of the first stage of General William T. Sherman’s invasion of Georgia (see American Civil War), which is therefore generally known as the “Atlanta campaign.”
After the battles around Marietta (q.v.), and the crossing of the Chattahoochee river on the 8th and 9th of July, Sherman continued his advance against Atlanta. His plan of operations was directed primarily to the seizure of the Decatur railway, by which the Confederate commander, General J. E. Johnston, might receive support from Virginia and the Carolinas. The three Union armies under Sherman’s command, outnumbering the Confederates about 3 to 2, began their movement on the 16th of July; the Army of the Cumberland (Gen. G. H. Thomas) on the right marching from Marietta by the fords of the Upper Chattahoochee on Atlanta, the Army of the Ohio (Gen. J. M. Schofield) in the centre direct on Decatur, and the Army of the Tennessee (Gen. J. B. McPherson) still farther east towards Stone Mountain. At the moment of marching out to meet the enemy, Johnston was relieved of his command and was replaced by Gen. J. B. Hood (July 17). Hood at once prepared to attack Thomas as soon as that general should have crossed Peachtree Creek (6 m. north of the city) and thus isolated himself from Schofield and McPherson. Sherman’s confidence in Thomas and his troops was, however, justified. Hood’s attack (battle of Peachtree Creek, July 20) was everywhere repulsed, and Schofield and McPherson closed up at the greatest speed. Hood had to retire to Atlanta, with a loss of more than 4000 men, and the three Union armies gradually converged on the north and east sides of the city. But Hood, who had been put in command as a fighting general, was soon ready to attack afresh. This time he placed Gen. W. J. Hardee’s corps, the largest of his army, to the south of Atlanta, facing the left flank of McPherson’s army. As Hardee’s attack rolled up the Union army from left to right, the remainder of the Confederate army was to issue from the Atlanta fortifications and join in the battle. Hardee opened his attack at noon on the 22nd of July (battle of Atlanta). The troops of the Army of the Tennessee were swiftly driven back, and their commander, McPherson, killed; but presently the Federals re-formed and a severe struggle ensued, in which most of Hood’s army joined. The veterans of the Army of the Tennessee, led by Gen. J. A. Logan, offered a stubborn resistance, however, and Schofield’s army now intervened. After prolonged attacks lasting to nightfall, Hood had once more to draw off, with about 10,000 men killed and wounded. The Confederates now abandoned all idea of regaining the Decatur line, and based themselves on Jonesboro’ and the Macon railway. Sherman quickly realized this, and the Army of the Tennessee, now commanded by Gen. O. O. Howard, was counter-marched from left to right, until it formed up on the right of the Union line about Ezra Church (about 4 m. west of Atlanta). The railway from Chattanooga to Atlanta, destroyed by Johnston as he fell back in May and June, was now repaired and working up to Thomas’s camps. Hood had meanwhile extended his entrenchments southwards to cover the Macon railway, and Howard’s movement led to another engagement (battle of Ezra Church, July 28) in which the XV. corps under Logan again bore the brunt of Hood’s attack. The Confederates were once more unsuccessful, and the losses were so heavy that the “fighting” policy ordered by the Confederate government was countermanded. Sherman’s cavalry had hitherto failed to do serious damage to the railway, and the Federal general now proceeded to manoeuvre with his main body so as to cut off Hood from his Southern railway lines (August). Covered by Howard at Ezra Church, Schofield led this advance, but the new Confederate lines baffled him. A bombardment of the Atlanta fortifications was then begun, but it had no material result. Another cavalry raid effected but slight damage to the line, and Sherman now decided to take his whole force to the south side. This apparently dangerous movement (August 25) is a remarkable illustration of Sherman’s genius for war, and in fact succeeded completely. Only a small force was left to guard the Chattanooga railway, and the Union forces, Howard on the right, Thomas in the centre, and Schofield on the left, reached the railway after some sharp fighting (action of Jonesboro’, September 1). The defence of Atlanta was now hopeless; Hood’s forces retreated southward the same evening, and on the 2nd of September the Union detachment left behind on the north side entered Atlanta unopposed.
All citizens were now ordered to leave, the place was turned into a military camp, and when Sherman started on his “March to the Sea,” on the 15th of November, a large part of the city was burned. Consequently the present city is a product of the post-bellum development of Georgia. The military government of Georgia was established here in 1865. In 1868 Atlanta was made the capital of the state.
In 1881 an International Cotton Exposition was held in Atlanta. This was American, even local, in character; its inception was due to a desire to improve the cultivation and manufacture of cotton; but it brought to the notice of the whole country the industrial transformation wrought in the Southern states during the last quarter of the 19th century. In 1887 the Piedmont Exposition was held in Atlanta. The Cotton States and International Exposition, also held at Atlanta, in 1895, attracted widespread attention, and had exhibits from thirty-seven states and thirteen foreign countries.
- Grady was succeeded as managing editor by Clark Howell (b. 1863); and Joel Chandler Harris was long a member of the editorial staff.