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Atlanta and Environs

A Chronicle of Its People and Events, 1940s-1970s

Harold H. Martin

Publication Year: 1954

Atlanta and Environs is, in every way, an exhaustive history of the Atlanta Area from the time of its settlement in the 1820s through the 1970s. Volumes I and II, together more than two thousand pages in length, represent a quarter century of research by their author, Franklin M. Garrett a man called "a walking encyclopedia on Atlanta history" by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. With the publication of Volume III, by Harold H. Martin, this chronicle of the South's most vibrant city incorporates the spectacular growth and enterprise that have characterized Atlanta in recent decades.

The work is arranged chronologically, with a section devoted to each decade, a chapter to each year. Volume I covers the history of Atlanta and its people up to 1880 ranging from the city's founding as "Terminus" through its Civil War destruction and subsequent phoenixlike rebirth. Volume II details Atlanta's development from 1880 through the 1930s including occurrences of such diversity as the development of the Coca-Cola Company and the Atlanta premiere of Gone with the Wind. Taking up the city's fortunes in the 1940s, Volume III spans the years of Atlanta's greatest growth. Tracing the rise of new building on the downtown skyline and the construction of Hartsfield International Airport on the city's perimeter, covering the politics at City Hall and the box scores of Atlanta's new baseball team, recounting the changing terms of race relations and the city's growing support of the arts, the last volume of Atlanta and Environs documents the maturation of the South's preeminent city.

Published by: University of Georgia Press


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-x

"SINCE their publication in 1954, Franklin M. Garrett's first two volumes of Atlanta and Environs have become the standard source for information about Atlanta's history up to World War II. A generation of journalists and historians has mined Garrett's pages to find facts and figures for dozens of articles and books. This long-awaited third volume, written by Harold Martin, covers the three crucial decades during which Atlanta went from being a city of regional importance to a metropolis of national rank. The..."

Section I. The Nineteen-Forties

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pp. 3-5

"ALANTA in the 1940s did not look greatly different from the city that had stood fifty years before. Horse cars had long vanished from the streets, and visions of a new and greater city were dancing in the heads of many of its leading citizens; but streetcars still clanged and rattled from the residential areas into the downtown section, and in the heart of town steam trains still smoked and whistled in the railroad gulch, parts of which..."

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pp. 6-52

"THROUGHOUT his administration Hartsfield pushed firmly for all the matters he had discussed in his article in the Atlanta Journal Magazine. However, his support of airport development was particularly heartfelt, for he, in truth, as a young councilman had been one of the founders of the aviation facility that in the years ahead would bear his name and become one of the biggest and busiest international airports in the world. Atlanta, born of the railroads, was increasingly aware as it moved into..."

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pp. 53-66

"NOT since the prosperous years of the mid-twenties had Atlanta greeted the new year with such exuberance as it showed in bringing in 1941. It was almost as if the people knew that before this year was out they would be at war and they were determined to have one last fling. Not only in the private clubs, but all over town the revelers gathered. "

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pp. 67-90

"THE usual revelry accompanied New Year's Eve, but of course the new year would not be a usual one because of the war. Many Atlantans—Catholic, Protestant, Jewish—responded to President Roosevelt's call to make this January 1 a day of prayer throughout the nation. Two noted Atlanta ministers set the theme at a meeting of fifty Protestant congregations held at the Druid Hills Presbyterian Church. Said Methodist Bishop Arthur J. Moore: 'For this hour we need a finer spiritual temper. No..."

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pp. 91-101

"WAR or no war, Atlanta's citizens gave the usual New Year's attention to parties and football. Georgia's two big-time football schools had both earned major bowl bids. With Frankie Sinkwich starring, Georgia beat UCLA 9-0 in the Rose Bowl in what the Constitution called one of the most exciting games ever played in the big saucer at Pasadena. Held scoreless for three periods, Georgia's vaunted Bulldogs seized two scoring opportunities in the last period and cashed them in for a safety and a ..."

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pp. 102-110

"WHILE Atlanta's sons in early 1944 were giving their blood in battle in the Pacific and in Europe, Atlantans at home were establishing here one of the biggest and most efficient blood donor services in the country. For her work in organizing and directing this center which was awarded the Army and Navy E for its performance, Mrs. Francis Abreu was named the city's principal Woman of the Year as well as being named Woman of the Year in the War Effort. A native of Atlanta, Abreu was by..."

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pp. 111-121

"IN ATLANTA, in the nation, and around the world 1945 was a memorable year. On April 12 Franklin Roosevelt died at the Little White House at Warm Springs. At the very moment when Madame Elizabeth Shoumatoff, a famous portrait artist, was reading his life story in his face and putting in color on canvas what she saw there, he reached a shaking hand to his forehead and slumped in his chair, stricken by a massive cerebral hemorrhage. Complete in all but its final details, the painting still rests on the ...'

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pp. 122-131

"THE need for capital improvements in the metropolitan infrastructure convinced the voters of Atlanta and Fulton County to pass a $40.4 million joint bond issue. Similar efforts had failed several times in years past. But now the city would receive $20.4 million—$9 million for schools, $4.1 million for traffic improvements, $3 million for airport improvements, $1.7 million for libraries, $1 million for sewers, $600,000 for auditorium improvements, $500,000 for parks, $300,000 for fire station..."

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pp. 132-143

"IN AN optimistic report Dr. Allen D. Albert, Jr., head of the Department of Sociology at Emory University and a noted authority on city planning, detailed the status of Atlanta and its environs as of 1947. Though the city of Atlanta itself was limited by municipal boundaries, Albert declared that "Greater Atlanta" had passed the half-million mark and was rapidly on the way to making it a million. The advantages enjoyed by Atlanta as to population and income "derived from the two revolutions, one agricultural,..."

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pp. 144-147

"IN 1948 the Georgia legislature enacted a building safety law, in direct response to the Winecoff Hotel fire of 1946. It sought to provide methods for enforcing national safety standards in public buildings, not only in hotels but in office buildings as well. The Atlanta Fire Code was even more stringent than the state law, and the city's chief of building inspectors, O. Marvin Harper, was recognized nationally as one of the "most conscientious exponents of fire safety and maintenance of construction standards in..."

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pp. 148-156

"ROUNDING out the decade of the 1940s, Atlantans could look back with considerable contentment at the progress made since World War II, and with confidence that the future would be equally prosperous. Each year the Chamber of Commerce profiled the city in a booklet, 'Facts and Figures about Atlanta.' In 1946, the first full year of peace after the victory over Germany and Japan, the city's population stood at 350,000—up 47,712 over 1940, a 15.8 percent gain. Going into 1950, the city population..."

Section II. The Nineteen-Fifties

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pp. 159-166

"GOING into the 1950s Ralph McGill, editor of the Constitution, wrote that 'Atlanta is a city that is always moving, yet never in a hurry.' An excerpt of his summation, an excellent portrait of the town as seen by a man who had learned to love the place, follows. He pointed out that some cities smell—of acid and smoke, or stockyards, or the marshes and the sea:"

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pp. 167-177

"AND so Atlanta moved on into 1951, its citizens confident that all would be well in the coming year. And in most cases this was true. On January 10 Capital Airlines inaugurated its first nonstop flight, northbound to New York City. Mayor Hartsfield christened the four-engine Lockheed Constellation 'The Atlantan' by pouring a two-foot bottle of Coca-Cola over its nose. Capitol Airlines president J. H. Carmichael looked on. Forty-two passengers made the flight in the 47-passenger plane. Prior to..."

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pp. 178-190

"AS THE Plan of Improvement began to take effect in the Spring of 1952, Atlanta did indeed become, in Albert Riley's words, 'A new and greater Atlanta.'1 And a year later, on Sunday, March 22, 1953, the entire Journal-Constitution Magazine was made up of a series of articles titled 'Atlanta, An All-American City, Reports to its Citizens.' In thirty-two pages of pictures and text it described in detail what happened in 1952, and who made it happen. It was described honestly, not as a journalistic report in..."

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pp. 191-205

"HOWEVER fast it might be progressing as an aviation center, Atlanta in 1953 was still the busiest railroad city in the South. Some 8,500 people in the metro area had jobs in railroad-related occupations at an annual payroll of almost $35 million a year. Fifteen lines radiated from the city. The Southern operated five, the Atlantic Coast Line two, Atlanta and West Point one, Central of Georgia one, and the Nashville and Chattanooga and St. Louis and the Seaboard Airline each two. Each day 83 passenger..."

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pp. 206-217

"EARLY in this year it became clear that the election of Dr. Rufus E. Clement to the school board had been a stroke of good fortune. With the expansion of the city limits under the Plan of Improvement, three new members, A. C. Latimer, J. C. Shelor, and P. L. Bardin, were added to the board from the outlying areas. A rivalry soon formed between the newcomers and the members of the board from the old Atlanta wards. In the years ahead Dr. Clement served as a mediator, compromiser, and smoother of..."

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pp. 218-234

"THE year 1955 could well go down in history as the year of the nurse, the doctor, and the medical researcher. As summer ended, the Constitution on August 8 issued the following report: Hospital, health and medical facilities in the Atlanta area are being greatly expanded by building projects which will cost a total of more than..."

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pp. 235-256

"GOING into the last half of the 1950s, Atlanta had accomplished much it could be proud of in the decade following the war. Men and women from all over the nation who had served in or around Atlanta in the 1940s remembered the city and its people and its promise. And they came back to share in that promise, to make their names here, and to go ..."

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pp. 257-283

"ALANTA went into 1957 feeling a warm glow of pride in a new face—a $12 million face of white Georgia marble that made a gleaming backdrop to the tree-studded square of Capitol Hill. By September of 1956 three new structures, the Agriculture Building, the Highway Building, and the Judicial, Office, and Labor Building, made up the biggest office-building program the state had ever put on. These, though, were only part of the state and city public building program that had been going on in..."

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pp. 284-298

"OFFICIALS had predicted that there would be problems and delays in carrying out the urban renewal plans, and indeed they were quick incoming. Early in January there came a controversy over the acquisition of park sites in two Negro urban renewal projects—Butler and University Center. The cost of more than $789,000 would take two-thirds ..."

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pp. 299-312

"IN ATLANTA the events of the last year of the decade were marked more by inner tension than open conflict, but they led on to the ever-increasing violence, the freedom rides, and the sit-ins of the 1960s. On January 10, 1959, the State Board of Regents, on a recommendation by Governor Ernest Vandiver, tried to avoid integration by temporarily stopping the acceptance of new applicants for the state's nineteen colleges. On the same date, however, Judge Boyd Sloan in the district court of Atlanta ordered..."

Section III. The Nineteen-Sixties

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pp. 315-323

"ALANTA moved into the sixties proud of its past, as well it might be; wary of its future, as indeed it should be; but confident that the old spirit still was mighty and would prevail, whatever the changes that lay ahead, in boundaries, population patterns, and social, racial, political and business relationships."

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pp. 324-336

"ONE whose political intelligence told him that the years ahead would be fiercely challenging to any mayor of Atlanta was William B. Hartsfield. The arrival of the one-millionth metropolitan citizen, in Hartsfield's view, represented a challenge to the city that every new arrival would intensify. For all that had been done, one-fourth of Atlanta's million still lived in substandard housing, and ..."

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pp. 337-364

"ON JANUARY 2, 1962, Mayor William B. Hartsfield made his last report to the Board of Aldermen, proudly announcing that once again the city had made a remarkable financial record, operating in this, his last year, on a cash basis. No money had been borrowed for operating expenses, all bills had been paid, and there was a cash carryover of $3,589,556.94, the largest in Atlanta's history. He listed other accomplishments with ..."

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pp. 365-388

"GOING into his second year as mayor, Ivan Allen, Jr., was aware of certain changes in his own attitudes. In his first year in office he had come to know many of the Negro leaders and to respect their desire for equal treatment under the law for their people. He also appreciated their willingness to let the white community work out the problems, slowly if ..."

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pp. 389-416

"GOING into 1964 Atlantans looked back upon the year just past and realized that their city was indeed on the move, not only in the economic, social, and educational sense but also in the basic meaning of the word—moving from one location to another. In its January, 1964, issue Atlanta magazine interviewed John Sloan Smith, president of the Aero ..."...

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pp. 417-445

"THE facts were plain to see; Atlanta in the half-decade from 1960 to 1965 had become one of the busiest, most exciting progressive cities in the country. Not only in the acquisition of major league sports teams, but in construction in all its forms, the metropolitan area had boomed. Opie Shelton, in his column in the August 1964 issue of Atlanta magazine, told ..."

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pp. 446-480

"BRUCE GALPHIN portrayed Atlanta of 1966 as one massive traffic jam. 'In a red-hot, deep-dish, high-rise city, mix: Too many automobiles, narrow, rambling streets, antiquated planning and engineering, add just a fraction of necessary funds, season liberally with public apathy,..."

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pp. 481-512

"THE year 1966 was characterized by strikes that brought vast Atlanta construction projects to a temporary halt, by crime, by confrontations in the streets between civil rights advocates and defenders of the old patterns of racial relationships. Optimists hoped that at last the worst was over; but when Atlantans ...

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pp. 513-543

"THE most profound event for Atlanta in 1968 was a tragic one. On April 4 Martin Luther King, Jr., was shot and killed in Memphis while he stood on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel. He was in the Mississippi River city to help in a strike by black sanitation workers. The nation was shocked, and the black community was both angered and grieved by the assassination. Nowhere was the sorrow deeper than in Dr. King's hometown of Atlanta, and Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr., shared that sorrow...."

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1969 and into the 1970s

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pp. 544-600

"ON THE evening of February 3, 1969, Ralph McGill was having dinner at the home of a friend, John Lawhorn, a young black man from Ohio, who was a genius as a teacher of small children by use of music. They were talking about how Lawhorn, with McGill's help, had established a series of fine music schools in slum areas of Atlanta, taking slow-learning youngsters ..."


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pp. 601-620

E-ISBN-13: 9780820309132

Page Count: 632
Illustrations: 27 b&w photos
Publication Year: 1954