1782 – 1859 | 1860 – 1864 | 1865 – 1877 | 1878 – 1899 | 1900 – 1930 | 1931 – 1960 | 1961 – 1986
1878 – 1899
- A weather bureau begins operation in the Kimball House hotel.
- A baptist college moves from Augusta to Atlanta. It will go through several name changes and eventually become Morehouse College.
- Fifteen years after you-know-what, Gen. Billy Sherman revisits the town in January, attending a ball at McPherson Army Barracks.
- A street linking Decatur Street with Ponce is opened, later to be named Boulevard. The Constitution calls it “Atlanta’s best drive.”
- Martin and Susan DeFoor, for which Defoors Ferry Road in northwest Atlanta will be named, are axed to death in a murder never to be solved.
- Morris Brown College founded.
- By threatening to cut off the street lights, the city forces a rate reduction on coal gas to $23 per light per year.
- Atlanta population: 37,409, making it the largest city in Georgia.
- When school opens in September, 3,328 students attend, while 300 six and seven year olds are turned away for lack of room.
- Joel Chandler Harris publishes the first in his Uncle Remus series.
- The International Cotton Exposition, America’s first “World’s Fair” of a sort, is held in Atlanta’s Oglethorpe Park. Headed by the once-discredited Hannibal Kimball, it features a model cotton factory 720 feet in length and has seven foreign countries participating.
- Southern Bell buys out a small telephone operation and opens the first telephone switchboard exchange.
- Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary opens. It later moves to McPherson Barracks and becomes Spelman Seminary, later to become Spelman College.
- Former Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens is inaugurated governor. (He will die less than four months later.)
- Amid public demand for more city parks, Col. L.P. Grant offers 100 acres just east of town, later to become Grant Park, home of Zoo Atlanta and the Cyclorama, and a surrounding neighborhood to bear its name.
- Young Woodrow Wilson moves to town, is admitted to the bar, and sets his up office at 48 Marietta Street.
- The Atlanta Journal, an evening paper, is launched by Edward Hoge. A subscription costs 10 cents a week.
- In what some called the “biggest blaze since Sherman,” the huge Kimball House hotel is gutted by fire. The Atlanta Journal hits the streets with the city’s first “extra” edition. A new Kimball house is planned and construction begins.
- Plans are announced for a Southern baseball league to include Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock and Atlanta.
- The telephone company says it has 450 customers. The only long distance service available is to Decatur and costs 15 cents per five minutes.
- City Hall is demolished and the ground is broken on that site for the new (and present) state Capitol.
- Grover Cleveland becomes the first Democrat to be elected president since pre-Civil War days. Henry Grady, who had a small brass cannon made in anticipation of the occasion, fires it and leads a cheering crowd to the Capitol.
- Prohibitionists win a referendum barring liquor from Fulton County. (Two years later, another referendum will make the county wet again.)
- Fearing Fulton going dry will hurt sales of his French Wine Cola, pharmacist John Pemberton goes into his lab at his 107 Marietta St home and comes out with a new headache remedy he calls Coca-Cola.
- Jefferson Davis comes to town and joins a crowd estimated at 100,000 for the dedication of a monument to the recently-departed Georgia statesman, Benjamin Hill.
- Pemberton’s Coca-Cola formula is dispensed for the first time at Jacobs Pharmacy at the southwest corner of Peachtree and Marietta streets, now called Five Points.
- The state establishes a technological school and Atlanta beats out other cities for what will become Georgia Tech.
- Henry Grady declares the reality of “The New South,” thus popularizing the phrase, in a speech at Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City also attended by Gen. William Sherman.
- A circular painting of the Battle of Atlanta by a group of German artists goes on display in Detroit. The picture is 50 feet high, 400 feet around, and cost $40,000.
- The Piedmont Exposition opens on the property of the newly-formed Driving Club, later to become Piedmont Park.
- Hoke Smith, a 37-year-old attorney, buys into the Atlanta Journal for $10,000 and becomes its president.
- Steam-powered street cars begin service to Grant Park.
- The city contracts for 400 electric street lights for $30 per light per year.
- The new Capitol building is delivered for $188.43 under the $1-million appropriation.
- George Gress buys a bakrupt circus and donates the animals to the city to found a zoo.
- The city’s first electic street cars are used on Joel Hurt’s new Edgewood Avenue line to Inman Park.
- Decatur Female Seminary opens in Decatur with 57 day students and three boarders. It will later become Agnes Scott College.
- Henry Grady dies.
- The circular painting of the Battle of Atlanta is auctioned to Paul Atkinson of Georgia.
- Atlanta population: 65,533. (Blacks make up 43%).
- Atlanta toilet census: 2,829 indoor; about 9,000 in outhouses.
- The water commission recommends plan for delivering “10 million gallons of Chattahoochee river water daily” to Atlanta to replace the aging artesian well system at Five Points. Before speculators get word, Mayor William Hemphill quietly buys up the 200 acres for the new site and a strip of land from it to the city (which will later become Hemphill Avenue). The water will begin flowing two years later.
- President Benjamin Harrison comes to town. When he asks to visit the site of the Battle of Peachtree Creek in which he fought, the guide takes him to the wrong creek, so he never gets to see it.
- Asa Candler buys Coca-Cola for $2,300. (Next year, he will incorporate it.)
- Score of the city’s first intercollegiate football game: Auburn 10, University of Georgia 0.
- The new Grady Memorial Hospital on Butler Street is dedicated with 100 beds and 10 rooms for “pay patients.”
- A new opera house, DeGive’s Grand Theatre, opens on Peachtree. (It will become the first theatre in town with electric lights, later the host of the world premiere of “Gone With The Wind” in 1939, and will burn in 1978.)
- Wheat Street is renamed Auburn Avenue.
- Georgia Tech and UGA meet for the first time on a football field. Tech wins, 22-6, with help from Leonard Wood, who will later command Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders.
- A replica of the Lion of Lucerne, Switzerland, is unveiled in Oakland Cemetary to honor the unknown Confederate dead.
- The waterworks property and lake on the southside is converted for recreational use, including rowboats and launches on the lake, a bath house, a music stand and open-air theatre, and a “large and elegant pavilion.” It will open the next year as Lakewood Park, but for whites only.
- Several rail systems serving Atlanta are reorganized, by J.P. Morgan and others, as the Southern Railway.
- The huge Cotton States and International Exposition of 1895 opens in Piedmont Park with a switch thrown long-distance by Pres. Cleveland in Buzzard’s Bay, Mass. Before the 6,000-exhibit fair closes in December (after running up a nearly $3-million tab), it will be the temporary home of the Liberty Bell and will be visited by over 800,000 visitors, including the president and his cabinet. One expo attraction: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. John Philip Sousa will compose “King Cotton March” in honor of the fair and premiere it there.
- Among speeches at the exposition is the famous “Atlanta Compromise” address of Booker T. Washington, who pleas that blacks compromise their demands for the sake of getting jobs. Whites cheer while many blacks are critical.
- Atlanta University Professor W.E.B. DuBois begins leading conferences on living conditions of urban blacks. DuBois will later be a founder of the NAACP.
- Atlanta’s first golf course built: seven-holes laid out on the grounds of the Piedmont Driving Club.
- The English-American Building, now known as the Flatiron Building, is erected on Peachtree north of Five Points. (At this writing, it still stands.)
- The city accepts the Battle of Atlanta painting as a gift, provided it spend at least $1,000 to house it.
- Named headquarters of the new military Department of the Gulf in anticipation of the invasion of Cuba, Atlanta devotes the entire year to participation of the Spanish-American War, culminating in the December visit of Pres. William McKinley and some of his cabinet for a post-war Peace Jubilee.
- Eugene Mitchell, president of the Young Men’s Library Association, reads in a newspaper that Andrew Carnegie is giving away money to cities for the purpose of establishing public libraries. Through a friend, Mitchell contacts Carnegie, and as a result, the steel magnate offers $100,000 for a free public library in Atlanta if the city provides the land and at least $5,000 per year upkeep.
- The Retail Credit Company begins operation in a one-room office in the Gould Building. It will later become Equifax Corporation, one of the three major American credit services.