Historic Map - Atlanta, GA - 1919

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Historic map of Atlanta, Georgia, published in 1919.

During the Civil War, Atlanta's population swelled from about 9,000 to over 22,000 as industries in Atlanta boomed with efforts to supply the Confederate army with munitions and supplies. A major producer of war materials as well as a critically important transportation and distribution center, Atlanta also became an obvious target for the Union forces. On July 20th, 1864, Union troops under the command of General William T. Sherman began an aerial bombardment against the city that lasted over a month. Many civilians were killed and the city was badly damaged. Sherman's troops captured the city on September 2, 1864 and ordered the remaining residents to evacuate. On November 15, 1864, Union soldiers destroyed the city's public buildings before departing on their "March to the Sea". Careless in their haste to depart, many buildings and residences that were not intended for destruction were destroyed by fire.

The Georgia Institute of Technology opened in 1888 and Decatur opened in 1889, becoming the first Atlanta college to be credited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The emergence of an influential African American middle class followed the establishment of Clark College, Spelman and Morehouse colleges in Atlanta.

In 1886, Jacob's Pharmacy in Atlanta began selling a tonic called Coca-Cola, invented by John S. Pemberton. Originally promoted as a cure for the morphine addiction that plagued many Civil War veterans, the company was purchased by Atlanta business tycoon, Asa Candler for $2,300 in 1891. Asa Candler later served as mayor of Atlanta from 1916 - 1919. In the year this map was published, the Candler family sold the Coca-Cola Company to a syndicate headed by Ernest Woodruff and the Trust Company of Georgia for $25 million.

The map captures the city as it appeared just two years after the most devastating fire since Sherman's troops destroyed the city, when nearly 2,000 buildings covering 300 acres were burned, leaving 10,000 Atlantans homeless. Beginning on May 21, 1917, just after noon on a Monday, the fire was extinguished by 10 pm. Considering the fact that 85% of the burned buildings had wooden shingles, the city passed an ordinance that banned their use in new construction.


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