About Drainage Storm Water Structure Repair and Replacement
About Atlanta, Georgia
For thousands of years prior to the arrival of European settlers in North Georgia, the indigenous Creek people and their ancestors inhabited the area. Standing Peachtree, a Creek village where Peachtree Creek flows into the Chattahoochee River, was the closest Native American settlement to what is now Atlanta. Through the early 19th century, European Americans systematically encroached on the Creek of northern Georgia, forcing them out of the area from 1802 to 1825. The Creek were forced to leave the area in 1821, under Indian Removal by the federal government, and European American settlers arrived the following year.
In 1836, the Georgia General Assembly voted to build the Western and Atlantic Railroad in order to provide a link between the port of Savannah and the Midwest. The initial route was to run southward from Chattanooga to a terminus east of the Chattahoochee River, which would be linked to Savannah. After engineers surveyed various possible locations for the terminus, the "zero milepost" was driven into the ground in what is now Foundry Street, Five Points. When asked in 1837 about the future of the little village, Stephen Harriman Long, the railroad's chief engineer said the place would be good "for one tavern, a blacksmith shop, a grocery store, and nothing else". A year later, the area around the milepost had developed into a settlement, first known as Terminus, and later Thrasherville, after a local merchant who built homes and a general store in the area. By 1842, the town had six buildings and 30 residents and was renamed Marthasville to honor Governor Wilson Lumpkin's daughter Martha. Later, John Edgar Thomson, Chief Engineer of the Georgia Railroad, suggested the town be renamed Atlanta. The residents approved, and the town was incorporated as Atlanta on December 29, 1847.
By 1860, Atlanta's population had grown to 9,554. During the American Civil War, the nexus of multiple railroads in Atlanta made the city a strategic hub for the distribution of military supplies.
In 1864, the Union Army moved southward following the capture of Chattanooga and began its invasion of north Georgia. The region surrounding Atlanta was the location of several major army battles, culminating with the Battle of Atlanta and a four-month-long siege of the city by the Union Army under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman. On September 1, 1864, Confederate General John Bell Hood decided to retreat from Atlanta, and he ordered the destruction of all public buildings and possible assets that could be of use to the Union Army. On the next day, Mayor James Calhoun surrendered Atlanta to the Union Army, and on September 7, Sherman ordered the city's civilian population to evacuate. On November 11, 1864, Sherman prepared for the Union Army's March to the Sea by ordering the destruction of Atlanta's remaining military assets.
After the Civil War ended in 1865, Atlanta was gradually rebuilt during the Reconstruction era. The work attracted many new residents. Due to the city's superior rail transportation network, the state capital was moved from Milledgeville to Atlanta in 1868. In the 1880 Census, Atlanta had surpassed Savannah as Georgia's largest city.
Beginning in the 1880s, Henry W. Grady, the editor of the Atlanta Constitution newspaper, promoted Atlanta to potential investors as a city of the "New South" that would be based upon a modern economy and less reliant on agriculture. By 1885, the founding of the Georgia School of Technology (now Georgia Tech) and the Atlanta University Center, a consortium of historically black colleges made up of units for men and women, had established Atlanta as a center for higher education. In 1895, Atlanta hosted the Cotton States and International Exposition, which attracted nearly 800,000 attendees and successfully promoted the New South's development to the world.
During the first decades of the 20th century, Atlanta enjoyed a period of unprecedented growth. In three decades' time, Atlanta's population tripled as the city limits expanded to include nearby streetcar suburbs. The city's skyline grew taller with the construction of the Equitable, Flatiron, Empire, and Candler buildings. Sweet Auburn emerged as a center of black commerce. The period was also marked by strife and tragedy. Increased racial tensions led to the Atlanta Race Riot of 1906, when whites attacked blacks, leaving at least 27 people dead and over 70 injured, with extensive damage in black neighborhoods. In 1913, Leo Frank, a Jewish-American factory superintendent, was convicted of the murder of a 13-year-old girl in a highly publicized trial. He was sentenced to death but the governor commuted his sentence to life. An enraged and organized lynch mob took him from jail in 1915 and hanged him in Marietta. The Jewish community in Atlanta and across the country were horrified. On May 21, 1917, the Great Atlanta Fire destroyed 1,938 buildings in what is now the Old Fourth Ward, resulting in one fatality and the displacement of 10,000 people.
On December 15, 1939, Atlanta hosted the premiere of Gone with the Wind, the epic film based on the best-selling novel by Atlanta's Margaret Mitchell. The gala event at Loew's Grand Theatre was attended by the film's legendary producer, David O. Selznick, and the film's stars Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, and Olivia de Havilland, but Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel, an African-American actress, was barred from the event due to racial segregation laws.
Atlanta played a vital role in the Allied effort during World War II due to the city's war-related manufacturing companies, railroad network and military bases. The defense industries attracted thousands of new residents and generated revenues, resulting in rapid population and economic growth. In the 1950s, the city's newly constructed highway system, supported by federal subsidies, allowed middle class Atlantans the ability to relocate to the suburbs. As a result, the city began to make up an ever-smaller proportion of the metropolitan area's population. Georgia Tech's president Blake R. Van Leer played an important role with a goal of making Atlanta the "MIT of the South." In 1946 Georgia Tech secured about $240,000 (equivalent to $3,340,000 in 2021) annually in sponsored research and purchased an electron microscope for $13,000 (equivalent to $180,000 in 2021), the first such instrument in the Southeastern United States and one of few in the United States at the time. The Research Building was expanded, and a $300,000 (equivalent to $4,000,000 in 2021) Westinghouse A-C network calculator was given to Georgia Tech by Georgia Power in 1947. In 1953, Van Leer assisted with helping Lockheed establish a research and development and production line in Marietta. Later in 1955 he helped set up a committee to assist with establishing a nuclear research facility, which would later become the Neely Nuclear Research Center. Van Leer also co-founded Southern Polytechnic State University now absorbed by and made part of Kennesaw State University to help meet the need for technicians after the war. Van Leer was instrumental in making the school and Atlanta the first major research center in the American South. The building that houses Tech's school of Electrical and Computer Engineering bears his name.
African-American veterans returned from World War II seeking full rights in their country and began heightened activism. In exchange for support by that portion of the black community that could vote, in 1948 the mayor ordered the hiring of the first eight African-American police officers in the city. Much controversy preceded the 1956 Sugar Bowl, when the Pitt Panthers, with African-American fullback Bobby Grier on the roster, met the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. There had been controversy over whether Grier should be allowed to play due to his race, and whether Georgia Tech should even play at all due to Georgia's Governor Marvin Griffin's opposition to racial integration. After Griffin publicly sent a telegram to the state's Board of Regents requesting Georgia Tech not to engage in racially integrated events, Georgia Tech's president Blake R. Van Leer rejected the request and threatened to resign. The game went on as planned.
In the 1960s, Atlanta became a major organizing center of the civil rights movement, with Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph David Abernathy, and students from Atlanta's historically black colleges and universities playing major roles in the movement's leadership. While Atlanta in the postwar years had relatively minimal racial strife compared to other cities, blacks were limited by discrimination, segregation, and continued disenfranchisement of most voters. In 1961, the city attempted to thwart blockbusting by realtors by erecting road barriers in Cascade Heights, countering the efforts of civic and business leaders to foster Atlanta as the "city too busy to hate".
Desegregation of the public sphere came in stages, with public transportation desegregated by 1959, the restaurant at Rich's department store by 1961, movie theaters by 1963, and public schools by 1973 (nearly 20 years after the US Supreme Court ruled that segregated public schools were unconstitutional).
In 1960, whites comprised 61.7% of the city's population. During the 1950s–70s, suburbanization and white flight from urban areas led to a significant demographic shift. By 1970, African Americans were the majority of the city's population and exercised their recently enforced voting rights and political influence by electing Atlanta's first black mayor, Maynard Jackson, in 1973. Under Mayor Jackson's tenure, Atlanta's airport was modernized, strengthening the city's role as a transportation center. The opening of the Georgia World Congress Center in 1976 heralded Atlanta's rise as a convention city. Construction of the city's subway system began in 1975, with rail service commencing in 1979. Despite these improvements, Atlanta lost more than 100,000 residents between 1970 and 1990, over 20% of its population. At the same time, it developed new office space after attracting numerous corporations, with an increasing portion of workers from northern areas.
Atlanta was selected as the site for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. Following the announcement, the city government undertook several major construction projects to improve Atlanta's parks, sporting venues, and transportation infrastructure; however, for the first time, none of the $1.7 billion cost of the games was governmentally funded. While the games experienced transportation and accommodation problems and, despite extra security precautions, there was the Centennial Olympic Park bombing, the spectacle was a watershed event in Atlanta's history. For the first time in Olympic history, every one of the record 197 national Olympic committees invited to compete sent athletes, sending more than 10,000 contestants participating in a record 271 events. The related projects such as Atlanta's Olympic Legacy Program and civic effort initiated a fundamental transformation of the city in the following decade.
During the 2000s, city of Atlanta underwent a profound physical, cultural, and demographic change. As some of the African American middle and upper classes also began to move to the suburbs, a booming economy drew numerous new migrants from other cities in the United States, who contributed to changes in the city's demographics. African Americans made up a decreasing portion of the population, from a high of 67% in 1990 to 54% in 2010. From 2000 to 2010, Atlanta gained 22,763 white residents, 5,142 Asian residents, and 3,095 Hispanic residents, while the city's black population decreased by 31,678. Much of the city's demographic change during the decade was driven by young, college-educated professionals: from 2000 to 2009, the three-mile radius surrounding Downtown Atlanta gained 9,722 residents aged 25 to 34 and holding at least a four-year degree, an increase of 61%. This was similar to the tendency in other cities for young, college educated, single or married couples to live in downtown areas.
Between the mid-1990s and 2010, stimulated by funding from the HOPE VI program and under leadership of CEO Renee Lewis Glover (1994–2013), the Atlanta Housing Authority demolished nearly all of its public housing, a total of 17,000 units and about 10% of all housing units in the city. After reserving 2,000 units mostly for elderly, the AHA allowed redevelopment of the sites for mixed-use and mixed-income, higher density developments, with 40% of the units to be reserved for affordable housing. Two-fifths of previous public housing residents attained new housing in such units; the remainder received vouchers to be used at other units, including in suburbs. At the same time, in an effort to change the culture of those receiving subsidized housing, the AHA imposed a requirement for such residents to work (or be enrolled in a genuine, limited-time training program). It is virtually the only housing authority to have created this requirement. To prevent problems, the AHA also gave authority to management of the mixed-income or voucher units to evict tenants who did not comply with the work requirement or who caused behavior problems.
In 2005, the city approved the $2.8 billion BeltLine project. It was intended to convert a disused 22-mile freight railroad loop that surrounds the central city into an art-filled multi-use trail and light rail transit line, which would increase the city's park space by 40%. The project stimulated retail and residential development along the loop, but has been criticized for its adverse effects on some Black communities. In 2013, the project received a federal grant of $18 million to develop the southwest corridor. In September 2019 the James M. Cox Foundation gave $6 Million to the PATH Foundation which will connect the Silver Comet Trail to The Atlanta BeltLine which is expected to be completed by 2022. Upon completion, the total combined interconnected trail distance around Atlanta for The Atlanta BeltLine and Silver Comet Trail will be the longest paved trail surface in the U.S. totaling about 300 miles (480 km).
Atlanta's cultural offerings expanded during the 2000s: the High Museum of Art doubled in size; the Alliance Theatre won a Tony Award; and art galleries were established on the once-industrial Westside. The city of Atlanta was the subject of a massive cyberattack which began in March 2018. On June 16, 2022, Atlanta was selected as a host city for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Atlanta encompasses 134.0 square miles (347.1 km), of which 133.2 square miles (344.9 km2) is land and 0.85 square miles (2.2 km) is water. The city is situated among the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. At 1,050 feet (320 m) above mean sea level, Atlanta has the highest elevation among major cities east of the Mississippi River. Atlanta straddles the Eastern Continental Divide. Rainwater that falls on the south and east side of the divide flows into the Atlantic Ocean, while rainwater on the north and west side of the divide flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Atlanta developed on a ridge south of the Chattahoochee River, which is part of the ACF River Basin. The river borders the far northwestern edge of the city, and much of its natural habitat has been preserved, in part by the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.
Atlanta is sometimes called "City of Trees" or "city in a forest", despite having lost approximately 560,000 acres (230,000 ha) of trees between 1973 and 1999.
Most of Atlanta was burned during the American Civil War, depleting the city of a large stock of its historic architecture. Yet architecturally, the city had never been traditionally "southern" because Atlanta originated as a railroad town, rather than a southern seaport dominated by the planter class, such as Savannah or Charleston. Because of its later development, many of the city's landmarks share architectural characteristics with buildings in the Northeast or Midwest, as they were designed at a time of shared national architectural styles.
During the late 20th century, Atlanta embraced the global trend of modern architecture, especially for commercial and institutional structures. Examples include the State of Georgia Building built in 1966, and the Georgia-Pacific Tower in 1982. Many of the most notable examples from this period were designed by world renowned Atlanta architect John Portman. Most of the buildings that define the downtown skyline were designed by Portman during this period, including the Westin Peachtree Plaza and the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. In the latter half of the 1980s, Atlanta became one of the early homes of postmodern buildings that reintroduced classical elements to their designs. Many of Atlanta's tallest skyscrapers were built in this period and style, displaying tapering spires or otherwise ornamented crowns, such as One Atlantic Center (1987), 191 Peachtree Tower (1991), and the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta (1992). Also completed during the era is the Portman-designed Bank of America Plaza built in 1992. At 1,023 feet (312 m), it is the tallest building in the city and the 14th-tallest in the United States.
The city's embrace of modern architecture has often translated into an ambivalent approach toward historic preservation, leading to the destruction of many notable architectural landmarks. These include the Equitable Building (1892–1971), Terminal Station (1905–1972), and the Carnegie Library (1902–1977). In the mid-1970s, the Fox Theatre, now a cultural icon of the city, would have met the same fate if not for a grassroots effort to save it. More recently, preservationists may have made some inroads. For example, in 2016 activists convinced the Atlanta City Council not to demolish the Atlanta-Fulton Central Library, the last building designed by noted architect Marcel Breuer.
Atlanta is divided into 242 officially defined neighborhoods. The city contains three major high-rise districts, which form a north–south axis along Peachtree: Downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead. Surrounding these high-density districts are leafy, low-density neighborhoods, most of which are dominated by single-family homes.
Downtown Atlanta contains the most office space in the metro area, much of it occupied by government entities. Downtown is home to the city's sporting venues and many of its tourist attractions. Midtown Atlanta is the city's second-largest business district, containing the offices of many of the region's law firms. Midtown is known for its art institutions, cultural attractions, institutions of higher education, and dense form. Buckhead, the city's uptown district, is eight miles (13 km) north of Downtown and the city's third-largest business district. The district is marked by an urbanized core along Peachtree Road, surrounded by suburban single-family neighborhoods situated among woods and rolling hills.
Surrounding Atlanta's three high-rise districts are the city's low- and medium-density neighborhoods, where the craftsman bungalow single-family home is dominant. The eastside is marked by historic streetcar suburbs, built from the 1890s–1930s as havens for the upper middle class. These neighborhoods, many of which contain their own villages encircled by shaded, architecturally distinct residential streets, include the Victorian Inman Park, Bohemian East Atlanta, and eclectic Old Fourth Ward. On the westside and along the BeltLine on the eastside, former warehouses and factories have been converted into housing, retail space, and art galleries, transforming the once-industrial areas such as West Midtown into model neighborhoods for smart growth, historic rehabilitation, and infill construction.
In southwest Atlanta, neighborhoods closer to downtown originated as streetcar suburbs, including the historic West End, while those farther from downtown retain a postwar suburban layout. These include Collier Heights and Cascade Heights, home to much of the city's affluent African-American population. Northwest Atlanta contains the areas of the city to west of Marietta Boulevard and to the north of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, including those neighborhoods remote to downtown, such as Riverside, Bolton and Whittier Mill. The latter is one of Atlanta's designated Landmark Historical Neighborhoods. Vine City, though technically Northwest, adjoins the city's Downtown area and has recently been the target of community outreach programs and economic development initiatives.
Gentrification of the city's neighborhoods is one of the more controversial and transformative forces shaping contemporary Atlanta. The gentrification of Atlanta has its origins in the 1970s, after many of Atlanta's neighborhoods had declined and suffered the urban decay that affected other major American cities in the mid-20th century. When neighborhood opposition successfully prevented two freeways from being built through the city's east side in 1975, the area became the starting point for Atlanta's gentrification. After Atlanta was awarded the Olympic games in 1990, gentrification expanded into other parts of the city, stimulated by infrastructure improvements undertaken in preparation for the games. New development post-2000 has been aided by the Atlanta Housing Authority's eradication of the city's public housing. As noted above, it allowed development of these sites for mixed-income housing, requiring developers to reserve a considerable portion for affordable housing units. It has also provided for other former residents to be given vouchers to gain housing in other areas. Construction of the Beltline has stimulated new and related development along its path.
Under the Köppen classification, Atlanta has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) with four distinct seasons and generous precipitation year-round, typical for the Upland South; the city is situated in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 8a, with the northern and western suburbs, as well as part of Midtown transitioning to 7b. Summers are hot and humid, with temperatures somewhat moderated by the city's elevation. Winters are overall mild but variable, occasionally susceptible to snowstorms even if in small quantities on several occasions, unlike the central and southern portions of the state. Warm air from the Gulf of Mexico can bring spring-like highs while strong Arctic air masses can push lows into the teens °F (−7 to −12 °C).
July averages 80.9 °F (27.2 °C), with high temperatures reaching 90 °F (32 °C) on an average of 47 days per year, though 100 °F (38 °C) readings are not seen most years. January averages 44.8 °F (7.1 °C), with temperatures in the suburbs slightly cooler due largely to the urban heat island effect. Lows at or below freezing can be expected 36 nights annually, but the last occurrence of temperatures below 10 °F (−12 °C) is January 6, 2014. Extremes range from −9 °F (−23 °C) on February 13, 1899 to 106 °F (41 °C) on June 30, 2012. Average dewpoints in the summer range from 63.7 °F (17.6 °C) in June to 67.8 °F (19.9 °C) in July.
Typical of the southeastern U.S., Atlanta receives abundant rainfall that is evenly distributed throughout the year, though late spring and early fall are somewhat drier. The average annual precipitation is 50.43 in (1,281 mm), while snowfall is typically light with a normal of 2.2 inches (5.6 cm) per winter. The heaviest single snowfall occurred on January 23, 1940, with around 10 inches (25 cm) of snow. However, ice storms usually cause more problems than snowfall does, the most severe occurring on January 7, 1973. Tornadoes are rare in the city itself, but the March 14, 2008 EF2 tornado damaged prominent structures in downtown Atlanta.
The 2020 United States census reported that Atlanta had a population of 498,715. The population density was 3,685.45 persons per square mile (1,422.95/km). The racial makeup and population of Atlanta was 51.0% Black or African American, 40.9% White, 4.2% Asian and 0.3% Native American, and 1.0% from other races. 2.4% of the population reported two or more races. Hispanics of any race made up 6.0% of the city's population. The median income for a household in the city was $66,657. The per capita income for the city was $54,414. 20.2% percent of the population was living below the poverty line.
In the 1920s, the black population began to grow in Southern metropolitan cities like Atlanta, Birmingham, Houston, and Memphis. In the 2010 census, Atlanta was recorded as the nation's fourth-largest majority-black city. The New Great Migration brought an insurgence of African Americans from California and the North to the Atlanta area. It has long been known as a center of African-American political power, education, economic prosperity, and culture, often called a black mecca. Some middle and upper class African-American residents of Atlanta followed an influx of whites to newer housing and public schools in the suburbs in the early 21st century. From 2000 to 2010, the city's black population decreased by 31,678 people, shrinking from 61.4% of the city's population in 2000 to 54.0% in 2010, as the overall population expanded and migrants increased from other areas. Atlanta is also home to a large African immigrant community. The foreign-born Black population in Atlanta has been rapidly increasing.
At the same time, the white population of Atlanta has increased. Between 2000 and 2010, the proportion of whites in the city had notable growth. In that decade, Atlanta's white population grew from 31% to 38% of the city's population, an absolute increase of 22,753 people, more than triple the increase that occurred between 1990 and 2000.
Early immigrants in the Atlanta area were mostly Jews and Greeks. Since 1970, the Hispanic immigrant population, especially Mexicans, has experienced the most rapid growth, particularly in Gwinnett, Cobb, and DeKalb counties. Since 2010, the Atlanta area has seen very notable growth with immigrants from India, China, South Korea, and Jamaica. Other notable countries immigrants come from are Vietnam, Eritrea, Nigeria, the Arabian gulf, Ukraine and Poland. Within a few decades, and in keeping with national trends, immigrants from England, Ireland, and German-speaking central Europe were no longer the majority of Atlanta's foreign-born population. The city's Italians included immigrants from northern Italy, many of whom had been in Atlanta since the 1890s; more recent arrivals from southern Italy; and Sephardic Jews from the Isle of Rhodes, which Italy had seized from Turkey in 1912.
The largest Hispanic ancestries in Atlanta are Mexican, Puerto Rican and Cuban.
Of the total population five years and older, 83.3% spoke only English at home, while 8.8% spoke Spanish, 3.9% another Indo-European language, and 2.8% an Asian language. 7.3% of Atlantans were born abroad (86th in the US). Atlanta's dialect has traditionally been a variation of Southern American English. The Chattahoochee River long formed a border between the Coastal Southern and Southern Appalachian dialects. Because of the development of corporate headquarters in the region, attracting migrants from other areas of the country, by 2003, Atlanta magazine concluded that Atlanta had become significantly "de-Southernized". A Southern accent was considered a handicap in some circumstances. In general, Southern accents are less prevalent among residents of the city and inner suburbs and among younger people; they are more common in the outer suburbs and among older people. At the same time, some residents of the city speak in Southern variations of African-American English.
Atlanta has a thriving and diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. According to a 2006 survey by the Williams Institute, Atlanta ranked third among major American cities, behind San Francisco and slightly behind Seattle, with 12.8% of the city's total population identifying as LGBT. The Midtown and Cheshire Bridge areas have historically been the epicenters of LGBT culture in Atlanta. Atlanta formed a reputation for being a progressive place of tolerance after former mayor Ivan Allen Jr. dubbed it "the city too busy to hate" in the 1960s (referring to racial relations).
Religion in Atlanta, while historically centered on Protestant Christianity, now encompasses many faiths, as a result of the city and metro area's increasingly international population. Some 63% of residents identified as some type of Protestant according to the Pew Research Center in 2014, but in recent decades the Catholic Church has increased in numbers and influence because of new migrants to the region. Metro Atlanta also has numerous ethnic or national Christian congregations, including Korean and Indian churches. Per the Public Religion Research Institute in 2020, overall, 73% of the population identify with some tradition or denomination of Christianity; despite continuing religious diversification, historically African American Protestant churches continue prevalence in the whole metropolitan area alongside historic Black Catholic churches. The larger non-Christian faiths according to both studies are Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism. Overall, there are over 1,000 places of worship within Atlanta.