Atlanta – The Big ‘New’ City
Atlanta is one of America’s largest cities, attracting visitors from all over and has become the place that many professionals, students, and aspiring artists have come to call home. Despite the city’s relatively young beginnings, there is one exhibition at the new Atlanta History Center that sheds light on the essence of Atlanta called ‘Atlanta in 50 Objects’.
Back in November 2014, the History Center reached out the public via online platforms like Facebook for input on what would make an informative and accurate depiction of Atlanta from the people who actually live here.
The response was refreshing. The ideas ranged from the city’s rich history dating from the Civil War period to the ever-shifting population stemming from immigration and the booming entertainment industry.
Upon visiting the exhibit, there are a few displays that stand out as interesting and notable. These displays capture the essence of Atlanta, past and present.
Menu from Dante’s Down the Hatch Restaurant
Named after owner Dante Stephenson, this restaurant was opened in Underground Atlanta in 1970. This old-world style restaurant was a lively hotspot renowned for its classic fondue, live jazz sets, and an atmosphere reminiscent of life on the water, with a pirate ship and live crocodiles adding to this effect.
Simply viewing the map-like menu puts one in the mindset of an old world explorer looking for new shores to break upon. Since its opening, the restaurant continued to evolve into a hub for great food, atmosphere, and entertainment. With menus in over 55 languages and an expansive wine list, it’s no wonder that people the world over would flock to this dining and entertainment beacon until the doors closed in 2013.
‘Maynard for Mayor’ Political Button, 1973
Holding the proud title for the first African-American mayor or Atlanta and serving three terms from 1974 to 1982 and again from 1990 to 1992 is Maynard Jackson. During his tenure as mayor, he facilitated many positive changes within the community. He helped arrange for the Domestic Terminal’s rebuilding, which was renamed in his honor as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. He was in office when the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, or the MARTA, first received federal funding. It was he who accepted the Olympic flag in 1992 during the close of the games in Barcelona, Spain. These are just some of the many accomplishments and strides made by this historic political figure.
Michonne’s Katana from ‘The Walking Dead’
Due to tax incentives offered by Georgia in 2008 for film and television production, many productions have made Atlanta their new home. One such show that has joined this trend, making Georgia the third state in the country behind Hollywood and New York for the number of productions done, is AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’. For this reason, the Atlanta History Center has on display one of the katana swords used by Danai Gurira, better known as ‘Michonne’ in the show. Anyone who has seen the show understands why this relic is the perfect representation of the show, not just because of the use of such wonderfully crafted swords, but also for the dynamic character which uses them.
There are 47 other displays that capture both the minds and hearts of visitors and nostalgic city dwellers alike. When visiting the exhibit, be prepared to feel transported through time to see the humble beginnings and robust development of one of the most luxurious cities in the country. The exhibit will be at the Atlanta History Center until July 10th, 2016, so be sure to walk through and prepare to be amazed.