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The history behind the name
Before the Europeans settled in this area, the Creek and Cherokee Native Americans in habited the region. In 1821, the Creek left their settlement as part of the drive to remove the Native Americans in the area during the time. In just a year, new settlers moved in and replaced the Native Americans. By 1836, the Georgia General Assembly agreed to create a system of railways to connect different parts of the country. This endeavor required a survey of the land and to choose the initial route of the train. The first point called the terminus. At this point, the engineer drove a state to mark the zero milepost of the railroad system. This was also referred to as the Five Points. In just a year or so, a community emerged around the zero mile post and was initially called Terminus. But it was renamed Thrashville in honor of the local merchant who help start the community. After some time, it was renamed Marthasville but the Chief Engineer of Georgia suggested that the place be called Atlanta-Pacifica. The name showcased the audacious goal of connecting the country from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic cost. Eventually the name was shortened to Atlanta and the name was used since its incorporation on December 29, 1847. By 1860, the town grew to 9,554 residents from a mere 30 back in 1842.
A social rebirth
In the 1960’s Atlanta became the center of the Civil Rights Movements. Having Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph David Abernathy as two of the most prominent civil rights advocates, Georgia played host to numerous social rebirths and changes. In fact, Mayor Ivan Allen Jr.
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The Unique City of Trees
One of the many things that make Atlanta unique is the abundance of trees in the city. It is for this reason that the city is often referred to as the “city in a forest” or “city of trees”. Having 36% of the city’s land covered with trees, its nickname is aptly chosen. In fact, the tree coverage of Atlanta is even higher than the national average of 27%. This distinction has garnered the city a name “Place of a Lifetime” by the National Geographic.
Because of the canopy and tree coverage, helps filter out the pollution and keeps the streets cool. But studies have shown that the current tree covered has declined from 48% in 1974 to only 38% in 1996. With this 10% decrease, the impact is tremendous. There is a recorded 33% increase in storm water runoff and the failure to filter and remove as much as 11 million pounds of pollutants every year. The cost of this 10% decrease amounts to $28 million annually. If the tree coverage continue to decrease, the cost will be greater.
The road to Atlanta
First up, getting to Atlanta can be done in a myriad of ways. You can opt to fly in using the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Being just 8 miles from downtown, this route takes you to the action in no time. But beware, this airport is considered as the busiest airport in the world. But you can put your mind at ease as this international airport is equipped with the right personnel and infrastructure to accommodate travels going in or out of Atlanta.
Another option to get to Atlanta is through train. The Amtrak provides daily services. The train’s route is from New York to New Orleans with Atlanta somewhere midway. The train station is north of the airport and downtown.
Commuters can also choose to ride the bus or even drive to the city. By simply using the US Interstate Highway they can reach Atlanta without any difficulty. The following interstates serve Atlanta: I-75 for those coming from Detroit to Florida, I-85 for mid Atlantic to New Orleans, I-20 for Texas to South Carolina. The I-285 called the perimeter of the Atlantans circles the city and connects the interchanges as well as the airport road.
What to do there
Atlanta offers a diverse mix of attractions from parks, museums, theatres, sports and even festivals. For parks, it’s a must that you visit the Centennial Olympic Park, The Piedmont Park, the Grand Park (the oldest park) which houses the Atlanta Zoo. Some of the festivals worth participating in include Southeastern Flower Show in early spring, Downtown Atlanta’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival in March, Atlanta Dogwood Festival in April, Georgia Renaissance Festival, Atlanta Jazz Festival in May, Atlanta Film Festival in June, National Black Arts Festival in July, Atlanta Pride Festival in October and other key events and festivals.
Other attractions include the World of Coca-Cola Tour, Georgia Aquarium – the world’s largest, High Museum of Art showcasing 11,000 art pieces and the Stone Mountain Park.
Make no mistake about it, when you visit Atlanta, you will be treated to a place that is truly unique. From the historical past, to the modern day adventures, Atlanta will surely be an adventure like no other.