The Project Gutenberg eBook of Atlanta: A Twentieth-Century City

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Title: Atlanta: A Twentieth-Century City

Author: Atlanta Chamber of Commerce

Release date: March 29, 2010 [eBook #31822]
Most recently updated: January 6, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Meredith Bach and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive/American Libraries.)








The Illuminated Cover of
this Pamphlet is a reproduction
of the Famous Picture
published by Harper’s Weekly
in the issue of October 10th,
1903, and here presented by
courtesy of Harper & Bros.




Atlanta Chamber of Commerce








[Pg 3]

How Atlanta Grew.

The Atlanta of to-day is a growth of thirty-eight years. Twice has the upbuilding of a city on this site demonstrated its natural advantages. Within a few years before the war Atlanta had become a bustling town of 11,000 inhabitants, and during the three years which intervened before its destruction the place was the seat of varied and important industries, whose principal object was to sustain the military operations of the Confederacy. It was also a depot for the distribution of supplies to the surrounding country and a forwarding station for the commissary department of the army.

After its baptism of fire in November, 1861, when the inhabitants had been dispersed by the exigencies of war, and of more than 2,000 houses only 300 remained, the city took a new start, and its great growth dates from that time. It is therefore, a city of the new regime, erected on the ruins of the old.

The coat of arms of Atlanta fittingly typifies this remarkable history. No city on the continent has survived such destruction. No city has twice attained prominence with such rapidity. Atlanta’s foundation reaches back to the forties, and far-seeing men recognized it then as the place of promise, destined to be an important railroad-center and a seat of commerce. This conception of the new city had been accepted as a true one when it was destroyed by fire, and since its new birth in reconstruction days the old spirit arose and lighted the new path of Atlanta to a greater destiny.

The capital of the state was brought here from Milledgeville when the new city was hardly out of the ashes of war, and this gave a great impetus to its growth, which was further insured in 1877, when the people of Georgia voted to make Atlanta their capital. Its rapidly developing business and manufactures were brought to the attention of the whole country by the Cotton Exposition of 1881 which was a point of departure for the tremendous development of the Southeastern States during the decade between 1880 and 1890. This development found a splendid illustration in the great Cotton States and International Exposition of 1895.

The rapidity of the growth of Atlanta is illustrated by the fact that, [Pg 4]since it was blotted from the map, the city has spread over twelve square miles of ground. Starting with no business in 1865, it received in 1903 four-tenths of the freight delivered in Georgia, and its post office receipts were four-tenths of those of the State. Thirty-nine years ago there was hardly a dollar to turn a trade; within the year just closed the bank clearings aggregated $115,000,000. At the beginning of this period there were only a few stragglers remaining in the wake of fire and sword. To-day there is a great city of over 105,000 people, the business headquarters of 125,000, with a floating population of many thousands more. From bare ground covered with ashes and ruins in 1865, the city has been built up to a value of $59,595,332, consisting largely of solid masses of brick and mortar, stone and steel, which go to make up a magnificent array of handsome business edifices. The number of houses has increased from 300 to 22,600.






The question, wherefore Atlanta? naturally arises, for communities are not effects without causes. Atlanta is the result of a combination of advantages, on a commanding geographical location, turned to the best account by a spirit of transcendent energy, which surmounts all obstacles and builds even on disaster the fabric of success. The growth of this unconquerable spirit has been promoted by a unity of purpose which has [Pg 5]prevented the domination of factions. Whatever local interests may clash, the good of Atlanta is always a rallying cry. The Atlanta spirit, which has accomplished so much in the upbuilding of the city itself, is happily contagious, and has much to do with making Georgia the Empire State of the South. The spirit of new life has spread from this to other Southern States which are the most active in the development of their resources, and the spirit of the Southeast is the spirit of Atlanta.

For this moral and material eminence Atlanta is fortunately situated on a ridge which divides the watershed of the Atlantic from that of the Gulf, and at a point where the natural barrier of the Appalachian chain is broken by great gaps in the mountains. This is the natural point of intersection for railway lines from the West with lines from the East.

This geographical vantage ground is accompanied by a topographical eminence, from which the great climatic advantages of Atlanta are derived. More than 1,000 feet above sea-level at its lowest point, and from eleven to twelve hundred at other places, Atlanta enjoys a cool, bracing atmosphere, with breezes that blow over the foot-hills of the Blue Ridge. The exhilarating air is a kind of natural tonic, so different from that of the coast and Gulf regions that an inhabitant of the low countries, coming to Atlanta during the heated term, feels a stimulus as if he had been drinking great draughts of aerial champagne. The rolling surface of the country, which slopes in almost every direction from the city affords easy drainage and keeps the surrounding region free from malaria.

Atlanta’s public buildings typify the solid character of her institutions. Most conspicuous among them is the State capitol, which was erected at a cost of $1,000,000. This stately structure, the hotels, office buildings, theaters, churches, the custom-house, the county court-house, and other public edifices, make up an aggregate of ten millions invested in public buildings.

Outside of public buildings, the architecture of Atlanta is of a pleasing character and has steadily improved during the past thirty years. Few cities in any part of the United States can show more attractive residence streets or architectural designs indicating more culture and good taste. Peachtree Street, the principal one for residences, has a number of elegant homes which would be ornaments to any city.

Atlanta is a city of homes, and this is apparent not only in the appearance of the houses, but in the statistics of the United States census, by which Atlanta is credited with a larger percentage of home-owners than any city of its size in the Southern States.

The water-supply for domestic and manufacturing purposes and for sanitary use is hardly equaled in any city of Atlanta’s size, and the rates[Pg 6] per thousand gallons for families or for manufacturing purposes are merely nominal, and probably lower than any on record.






Conditions in Atlanta are highly favorable to manufacturing industries, and this is attested by the great variety of articles made here. There were in 1900 395 establishments, employing over 9,000 operatives at good wages, and pouring into the channels of trade an annual pay-roll of $3,100,000. The value of the raw material consumed was more than $8,000,000 and the product between sixteen and seventeen millions. Since then the product has increased to $27,000,000 and the number of wage earners to 14,000.

The manufacturers of Atlanta in their variety have a guaranty of stability not to be found in those of any city where industry is confined to one family, as of iron or cotton, however important that may be, and the extent of this variety is to some degree indicated in the chapter on this subject. Among the articles made are many specialties, for which there is a demand in almost every State in the Union, and concerns making them have enjoyed prosperity through a long series of years.

The trade of Atlanta covers more or less all of the States between the Ohio and Potomac rivers, the Gulf, the Atlantic ocean and the[Pg 7] Mississippi River, and in some lines extends to the far Southwestern States and into Mexico, while in a few it covers the entire country. The tendency of the jobbing trade of the Southeast is to concentrate in Atlanta, and little by little the business of other centers gravitates to this city.

Atlanta’s commanding geographical and topographical situation was, at the outset, one of the causes which led to the development of a great railroad center, at which powerful systems from the East, the West and the Southeast regularly compete. As a distributing point Atlanta enjoys facilities hardly equaled elsewhere in the Southeastern States, and as an accessible place of rendezvous for all kinds of organizations and interests, it is a favorite, and has come to be known as the Convention City.

Atlanta’s financial institutions are of the most solid character.

Atlanta is the third city in the United States in the amount of insurance written and reported to agencies. It is the Southern headquarters for a number of fire and life insurance companies, and agencies of old-line and every other type of insurance are numerous.








The educational facilities of Atlanta are fully treated in a separate[Pg 8] chapter, in which it appears that this city is abreast of the times in this as in other respects. Atlanta early established a system of public schools, and before almost any city in the South, turned its attention to technical education. The Technological School was established by the State of Georgia upon inducements offered by the city of Atlanta, which bore half[Pg 9] of the cost of the original plant, and contributes regularly to the support of the institution. There is ample opportunity here for technical instruction of other kinds, and Atlanta has three medical colleges, whose attendance averages 600, to say nothing of the students of the dental colleges. Technical instruction in business methods is not neglected, and several large and flourishing business colleges have maintained themselves here for many years.

The religious and social atmosphere of Atlanta is wholesome and invigorating. It is a city of churches and the home of church-going people, and the community is honey-combed with fraternal organizations.

The social intercourse of the people, as well as the facility for doing business, is greatly aided by an ideal system of rapid transit, not only from the residence and suburban sections to the center, but from one residence portion to another. The neighborly spirit is enhanced by the nearness thus artificially created.

With all these advantages, and many which appear more fully in subsequent chapters. Atlanta has a wholesome and inspiring public spirit which never fails to respond when the interests of the city are at stake. This is perhaps the most distinctive thing about Atlanta.






[Pg 10]

The New Atlanta.

Population, Area and Government.

Atlanta’s population is estimated at 105,600. By the census of 1900 it was 89,872. The census of 1880 gave Atlanta a population of 39,000, and by the city assessment of the next year the real estate was valued at $14,721,883, and the personal property at $7,474,258. By 1890 the population had grown to 65,000 and real estate was valued at $39,729,894. In the same period personal property grew to $11,906,605. The decade between 1880 and 1890 was a period during which Atlanta made remarkable advance, but during the great depression through which the whole country has passed since 1890 the progress of this city has been astonishing. In spite of a somewhat lower scale of valuation for suburban real estate, the assessor’s report for 1903 showed realty valued at $49,728,034, and personalty $13,628,201. This value was created in thirty-nine years, for Atlanta came out of the Civil War naked and desolate.

By census taken in 1900 the population of Atlanta, by wards, was found to be as follows:

First Ward 15,596
Second Ward 14,628
Third Ward 12,943
Fourth Ward 17,072
Fifth Ward 12,415
Sixth Ward 14,754
Seventh Ward 2,464
Total 89,872

Since then the population has increased to 105,600.

Area and Expansion.

Atlanta is a city of magnificent distances, covering about eleven square miles. With abundance of room and fresh air, the circular form of the city makes it compact, and the residence portions are, as a rule, equidistant from the business center. The corporate line is described by a radius of a mile and three-quarters. In two places this circle is expanded to take in suburban communities which had been formed with irregular boundaries before the circular corporation line reached them. These are Inman Park and West End, which extend from half a mile to a mile beyond the circle which elsewhere forms the corporate limits.

Atlanta is situated on rolling ground, which gives every facility for drainage and contributes materially to the effectiveness of the elaborate system of sewers. This rolling country extends in every direction, and[Pg 11] suburban communities are rapidly extending. The electric lines reach out for six or eight miles on all sides of the city, and afford quick and cheap access for the outlying towns. As a result of this elaborate system of rapid transit, there has been a remarkable expansion of the city within the past ten years, and the pressure on the center has been greatly relieved. It is estimated that the suburban trains and street-car systems of Atlanta bring in and carry out 30,000 people a day.


[Pg 12]







City Government.

The city government of Atlanta is administered by a Mayor and General Council and Executive Boards. The legislative body is composed of councilmen from the different wards, elected by the whole city, and aldermen who are elected in a like manner. The aldermen and councilmen vote separately on matters involving the expenditure of money, and the concurrence of both bodies is necessary to an appropriation. The Mayor has the usual veto power.

The tax rate is one and a quarter per cent. and the ratio of assessment[Pg 13] to real value of property is about sixty per cent. The assessed value of real and personal property is $63,356,235.

The city owns property valued at eleven millions, and has a bonded debt of $3,481,500. Deducting the Sinking Fund of $274,997.68, the net debt is $3,206,502.32. There is no floating debt, and the bonded debt is limited by the State Constitution to seven per cent. on the taxable value of the property. The net debt is therefore $1,000,000 under the limit.

The Charter requires the Mayor and General Council to carry over a balance of $175,000 in cash from year to year. This keeps the Treasury in good condition and the city is able to float three and one-half per cent. bonds at par and above.

There is a Sinking Fund Commission, which was created by a special act of the Legislature, and the Mayor and General Council are required to set aside each year from the revenues of the city an amount sufficient to retire the bonded debt within thirty years.

The expenditures of the city for the year 1903 were $1,646,888.49. In the same period, the revenues and other receipts, including bonds, the proceeds of which were expended, were $2,036,548.32. The difference is accounted for by a balance carried over from the previous year.


Atlanta has a fine Police Department, divided into three watches of eight hours each. It has valuable auxiliaries in the mounted men and the bicycle corps, numbering forty men.

There is a fine central station, which cost $100,000, and a Police signal system with telephone connections. The expenditures of the Department during 1903 amounted to $151,151.23.

Fire Protection.

Atlanta has a model Fire Department, well equipped with modern apparatus, and supplied with water at fire pressure from the pumping-station of the waterworks. In 1903 the Department cost $123,235.00; the number of fires was 502 and the value of buildings and contents at risk $3,070,777. The damage was $142,050.

The average fire loss for eighteen years was $123,647.

Sanitary Department.

Atlanta spent $109,023.54 on sanitation in 1903, and about 250 men were employed under the Board of Health in keeping the city clean. There are the usual precautions in infectious and contagious diseases. The sewer-system of the city was constructed on a plan designed by Rudolph Hering, of New York.


[Pg 14]





Mortuary Record.

The deaths from diseases in Atlanta during 1903 were 1,941, of which 926 were of white people and 1,015 of colored. The population within the corporate limits in the census year was 89,872. In 1903 it was[Pg 15] estimated by the Sanitary Department at 110,000. This makes the rate of mortality 17.64. Of the population in 1903, it is estimated that 44,000 were colored and 66,000 were white, which makes the rate of mortality 23.06 for colored and 14.03 for white.


The Waterworks Department of Atlanta has one of the best plants in the country and furnishes pure water at the nominal price of ten cents per thousand gallons for domestic consumption. Liberal rates are made to manufacturers, and even at the low prices charged, the Department pays a handsome net revenue to the city.

The works have a daily pumping capacity of 35,000,000 gallons, and the actual consumption in 1903 was 9,136,277 gallons per day. The supply comes from the Chattahoochee River, above the city, and above the mouth of Peachtree Creek. The river flows down from the mountain section, which is sparsely settled, and so far the supply is satisfactory. The water passes through a settling basin, after which it is filtered, and comes to the city as clear as crystal.


In addition to the amount disbursed by the Sanitary Department, the city spent $55,765.43 the same year in constructing sewers.


During 1903 Atlanta spent $70,913.08 on streets. Since 1880 the city has spent $3,827,171 on streets, sewers and sidewalks. There are 64.34 miles of paved streets, 233.04 miles of paved sidewalks, and 106.21 miles of sewers. There are seven miles of asphalt streets and several miles of vitrified brick. The rest is paved with granite blocks, chert and macadam.


Atlanta has some beautiful streets for driving. Peachtree, Washington, Whitehall and Peters Streets and Capitol Avenue are paved with asphalt, and this smooth surface makes a fine speedway. Whitehall and Peachtree Streets, connecting at the viaduct, form a continuous asphalt boulevard three and one-half miles long. This is connected north of the city with a macadam pike to Buckhead, and south of the city with a chert road to College Park, six miles beyond the city limits. This forms a continuous boulevard fifteen miles long in a north and south line, with a smooth surface, which is well adapted to carriages, bicycles and automobiles.


[Pg 16]





Prominent Structures.

Atlanta has many handsome buildings, notable among which are the State Capitol, the new Court-House, the Carnegie Library, of white marble, the Grand Opera House, the nine great fire-proof office buildings, and the beautiful Piedmont Hotel, which is also a fire-proof structure. The Federal Prison, three miles out, is one of the most important in the United States. There are several other large hotels, notably the Kimball, the Aragon, the Majestic and the Marion.

The value of buildings erected in 1903 was reported by the City Building Inspector as $3,161,445, and the number of permits issued was 3,441. A marked increase in the average value of dwellings was noted.[Pg 17] Following is a list of the office-buildings for which Atlanta is famous. They make the heart of Atlanta look like the lower part of Manhattan Island. Each has a steel frame, with non-combustible partitions, every modern convenience, and a costly interior finish of marble and hard-wood. The elevator and janitor service is first-class, and lavatories, barber shops and restaurants are well placed. The ground floor in a majority of these buildings is occupied by banks, whose offices are superbly finished. The population of these palatial hives of industry amounts to several thousand, and the facilities they offer for doing business are unequalled elsewhere in the Southern States.

List of Fire-Proof Office Buildings.

Equitable Building, eight stories.

English-American Building, eleven stories.

Austell Building, nine stories.

Prudential Building, ten stories.

Empire Building, fourteen stories.

Peters Building, eight stories.

Century Building, twelve stories.

[1]Fourth National Bank Building, sixteen stories.

[1]Candler Building, seventeen stories.

The aggregate cost of these nine structures, exclusive of the land on which they rest, was $4,000,000. They are all occupied, except the two under construction, in which space is being contracted for.

The Building Inspector’s record shows that in the nine years since the Exposition of 1895, buildings to the value of $15,256,169 have been erected. In the same period 4,666 dwellings built house a new population of 20,000. Since the census of 1900 new dwellings number 2,663.

Car Wheel Works.

The Atlanta Carwheel & Manufacturing Company has, on the Southern Railway belt line near the waterworks pumping-station, an extensive plant for the manufacture of steam-railroad and street-car wheels.

The site covers ten acres and the main building is 230 by 118 feet, with several annexes. The works employ 100 to 150 men, and this is one of the largest establishments of its kind in the country.



[Pg 18]


Atlanta’s Business Grows Four Times as Fast as the Population, and the Population Grows Twice as Fast as the Average of the United States. Posted Receipts on its Newspapers Exceed those of Baltimore, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Omaha, or New Orleans...  Atlanta is the business center of the Southeast. Almost all the great concerns of national extent make this city their Southern headquarters, and this has created the phenomenal demand for offices. As a result, Atlanta has more tall fire-proof steel-frame office-buildings than any other Southern City.

Atlanta’s business is indicated by the bank clearings, which were $145,000,000 for the year 1903. In 1894 they were $56,000,000. This shows more clearly than words the rapid growth of the city as a business center.

From the latest available data, the trade of Atlanta is estimated as follows:

Wholesale $40,000,000
Retail 20,000,000
Manufactures 27,000,000
Fuel 2,000,000
Horses and Mules 6,250,000
Total $95,250,000

Atlanta Manufactures in 1904.

In April 1904 the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce sent letters to most of the manufacturers of the city, asking for a statement of the capital invested, the number of wage earners, the total wages paid, the value of raw material used and the product; also the percentage of increase in each item since June, 1900, when the U. S. Census was taken. The returns show an average increase of 53 1-4 per cent. in capital, 52 1-3 per cent. in wage earners, 55 per cent. in wages paid, 56.7 per cent. in raw material used and 62 per cent. in the value of the product. Applying these percentages of increase to the Census figures of 1900, gives the following for April, 1904 in contrast with 1890 and 1900:

  Capital. Wage
1890. $9,508,962 7,957 $3,206,285 $5,914,571 $13,074,037
1900. 16,045,156 9,356 3,103,989 8,563,524 16,707,027
1904. 25,309,937 15,267 5,079,385 14,185,935 28,985,476


[Pg 19]




[Pg 20]





Atlanta’s principal manufacturing establishments are in cotton, iron, machinery, lumber, sheet metal, terra cotta, brick, fertilizer, wagons, carriages, furniture, candy and crackers, cigars, coffins, chemicals, printing, lithographing, electrotyping, stamping, paper and paper bags, flour and meal, paints, varnish, cottonseed oil and cake, ice, harness, belts, hosiery, underwear, neckwear, woolen goods, gins, engines, sash, doors and blinds, mantels, iron beds, spring beds, trunks, desks, tables, pickles, condiments, baking powder, bread and cakes, clothing, overalls, millinery, suspenders, picture-frames and moulding.

In money value, cotton goods and fertilizers lead the list. There are three large cotton factories, and Atlanta is headquarters for the Virginia-Carolina Chemical Company, the largest producer of fertilizers in the South. It is also the headquarters of several large sawmill companies.


[Pg 21]





[Pg 22]

Atlanta Banks.

The clearings and deposits of the associated banks of Atlanta are reported as follows by Mr. Darwin G. Jones, manager of the Atlanta Clearing House Association:


1894 $56,589,228.04
1895 65,318,254.71
1896 69,026,033.17
1897 72,005,161.52
1898 71,964,809.03
1899 83,058,397.11
1900 96,375,251.22
1901 111,755,849.98
1902 131,200,457.25
1903 144,992,037.59

These reports show that business has doubled in seven years.

Deposits December 1st Each Year.

The deposits of the Clearing House banks of Atlanta at the end of the week nearest December 1st of each year, are reported by Manager Jones as follows:

1893 $3,977,930.98
1894 4,779,640.99
1895 6,672,006.87
1896 5,957,634.51
1897 6,385,336.51
1898 6,756,991.36
1899 7,764,990.85
1900 9,011,902.85
1901 11,080,127.68
1902 12,935,639.60
1903 13,080,098.35





[Pg 23]





Government Receipts in the Southeast.

One of the facts indicating the greatness of the territory, of which Atlanta is the center, is the Government receipts in the Southeast.

The receipts of the Federal Government through internal revenue, customs, duties and Presidential Post offices is stated as follows, in the latest official reports:

Alabama $ 1,039,341.83
Florida 3,139,624.55
Georgia 1,812,239.10
Tennessee 2,942,593.17
North Carolina 4,933,641.99
South Carolina 1,063,063.17
Total $14,930,503.81

Growth of Postal Business.

The growth of business is strikingly shown by the postal receipts for the year ending June 30th, 1890, 1894 and 1903:

1890 $159,262.61
1894 201,649.92
1903 477,047.45

Comparison with other cities, by various barometers of trade and industry, indicates that Atlanta does more business than any city of[Pg 24] 100,000 population in the United States. As a newspaper center it is phenomenal. The receipts from second-class mail matter at Atlanta were $55,658.83 during the year ending June 30, 1903. This shows that on newspapers and periodicals Atlanta pays the Government more than Brooklyn, Baltimore, Buffalo, Washington, Omaha, New Orleans, Louisville, or Indianapolis.

The receipts of the Atlanta Post-office for the year ending June 30, 1903, were $477,047.45, an increase of fourteen and four-fifths per cent. over the receipts of the preceding year.


Atlanta is the third insurance center of the United States, and easily first in the South.

The receipts of premiums reported to agencies here are estimated at $8,000,000, about equally divided between fire and life insurance.

Atlanta is the headquarters of the Southeastern Tariff Association. There are no burdensome insurance laws in this State and taxes are reasonable.





[Pg 25]





Atlanta is the center of large cotton operations, and receives about 115,000 bales annually. There are several large warehouses and compresses. The 12 lines of railroads give ample facilities for collecting the crop from adjoining territory and forwarding it overland to eastern mills or to the coast for export. Both of the Round Bale Companies are represented in this city.


Atlanta is the railroad center of the Southeast. Twelve radiating lines furnish ample facilities for distribution of manufactures and merchandise from this point. Five of these lines belong to the Southern Railway. Here is a list of the lines:

Southern to Washington.
Southern to Knoxville.
Georgia Railroad to Augusta.
Southern to Birmingham.
Southern to Fort Valley.
[Pg 26]Southern to Brunswick.
[2]Seaboard Air Line to Birmingham.
Seaboard Air Line to Portsmouth.
Western & Atlantic to Chattanooga.
Atlanta & West Point to Montgomery.
Central of Georgia Railway to Savannah.
Louisville & Nashville to Knoxville.






The connections of these make many more routes over which there are through trains, as for example, to Columbus and Albany.

The Southern Railway, Central of Georgia Railway, and Atlanta and West Point Railway have let the contract for a union passenger station at the corner of Mitchell and Madison streets, and will spend about a million dollars on the structure. Altogether they will spend two millions on the station and terminal facilities connected with it.

Atlanta’s hotel accommodations are superior to those of almost any other city in the South. The Piedmont is a fire-proof building of the best class, with steel frame. The Kimball, the Aragon, the Majestic, and the Marion have long enjoyed an enviable reputation with the traveling public. There are numerous smaller hotels and any number of boarding-houses. Atlanta is the stop-over point for the Florida winter travel, both going and coming, and is rapidly becoming a summer resort by reason of its elevation, bracing atmosphere, and cool climate.

[Pg 27]

The Radius of Distribution.

Atlanta’s advantages as a distributing point are shown by the central location with reference to Southeastern towns. There are seventy-nine towns of exceeding 4,000 population in Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi. The average distances of these towns by States from Atlanta, Savannah and Nashville are as follows:

Alabama 195 miles 419 miles 269 miles
North Carolina 400 miles 352 miles 629 miles
South Carolina 239 miles 193 miles 526 miles
Georgia 147 miles 233 miles 386 miles
Mississippi 423 miles 606 miles 440 miles
  ———— ———— ————
  1,404 miles 1,803 miles 2,250 miles
Average distance of
towns in five States
 280.8 miles 360.6 miles 450 miles


[Pg 28]





Street Railways.

Atlanta has a fine system of street railways, with one hundred and forty-two miles of track radiating from the heart of the city to the residence portion and thence to the suburbs. In some directions they reach out for eight miles, as in the case of College Park, Decatur and the Chattahoochee River.

The service is excellent, and there are one hundred miles of tracks within the city limits. The uniform fare is five cents, but there are transfers from incoming lines to any part of the city. Almost any spot on a car line, within the city limits, can be reached from any other point inside the city for one fare.

There is ample service to all the parks and resorts, and an electric line to Marietta is nearly completed.

Light and Power.

Atlanta is well supplied with gas at a low figure—$1.00 per thousand cubic feet. It is so economical that gas stoves are very largely used for cooking purposes and not a few for heating.





[Pg 29]





The Georgia Railway and Electric Company has two large plants for the generation of electric current for light and power. The city is well illuminated by arc lights and electricity is largely used by business offices and residences.

The same company has a steam-heating plant, and pipes have been laid in the principal streets for this service.

Great Power Plant.

The Atlanta Water and Electric Power Company has erected on a massive masonry dam across the Chattahoochee River, at Bull Sluice shoals, fifteen miles from Atlanta, and in a few months the plant will be completed and equipped to deliver 11,000 horse-power of electric current in the city. The total investment will be $2,000,000. The power plant will give a tremendous stimulus to manufacturing.

As the steam and electric powers already in existence furnish 45,000 horse-power, which is in constant use, the addition of 11,000 horse-power will increase the manufacturing industries of Atlanta by twenty-five per cent. This is considered a very moderate estimate; for within the three and three-fourths years following the census of June, 1900, the product of Atlanta factories increased from $16,721,000 to $27,417,000, and the number of wage earners from 9,368 to more than 14,000.


[Pg 30]





Rapid Growth of Business

The business of Atlanta is growing four times as fast as its population, although the population grows twice as fast as that of the country. The rate of increase in population for the United States has been two per cent. per annum during the past decade. In Atlanta, it has been approximately four per cent. During the year 1903, the business of Atlanta increased fifteen per cent. as measured by postal receipts. Since the Exposition of 1895, bank clearings have more than doubled and bank deposits have nearly trebled.

Chamber of Commerce.

During the thirty years of their existence the Chamber of Commerce, and its predecessor, the Board of Trade, have been active in protecting and promoting the interests of Atlanta. Meetings in the public interest have usually been called at the Chamber of Commerce, and it was there that the first meeting to organize the Cotton States and International Exposition was held. All important questions affecting business have been discussed there and a score or so of standing committees have been[Pg 31] constituted by the Chamber to look after the interests of Atlanta. The Chamber of Commerce is the open forum for the discussion of all matters which affect the general welfare of the community, and in this way the organization has exerted a powerful influence.

The present officers are:

Robert F. Maddox, President; Samuel D. Jones, Vice-President; Walter G. Cooper, Secretary, and Joseph T. Orme, Treasurer.

Daily Newspapers.

Atlanta has three daily newspapers. The Constitution, a morning paper, acquired national reputation under the management of Henry W. Grady, and has continued under the management of Clark Howell to hold a leading position among the newspapers of America.

The Atlanta Journal is a large afternoon paper which acquired national reputation under the management of Hoke Smith, and has continued to grow under the management of James R. Gray.

The third daily newspaper is the Atlanta News, a penny afternoon paper organized during the summer of 1902. It appeared August 4th and rapidly acquired a large circulation. A bright future is predicted. Editors, John Temple Graves and Charles Daniel; Business Manager, Chas. Daniel.






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Educational Facilities.

Atlanta has an imposing array of educational institutions, extending from the public school system to the great polytechnic institute known as the Georgia Institute of Technology. There is a variety of technical schools, including law, medicine, dentistry, handicrafts, business colleges, industrial schools and divinity schools.

There are sixteen white and six colored Grammar schools, a Girls’ High School, a Boys’ High School, and a night school. The total expenditure for these institutions during the year 1903 was $184,286.20. The cost per pupil was $16.75, and the number of pupils 11,000.

There is the usual organization of Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, principal and teachers, under a Board of Education.

The teachers meet in normal class once a week, and many of them spend their vacations at summer schools of the great universities. There is a fine esprit de corps, and excellent work is done.

Atlanta’s great educational institution is the Georgia Institute of Technology, supported by the State of Georgia, with an additional annual appropriation from the city. It has about 500 students, and the work is the best of its kind in the South. There are machine shops in wood and in the metals, a blacksmith shop, a textile school, and department of electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. In addition there is excellent work in mathematics, chemistry, and the other scientific schools, with a good education in English.

Graduates of this institution have been distinguished for the thoroughness and the practical value of their education, which has enabled them to go from the shops and recitation-rooms directly into manufacturing and engineering pursuits.

[Pg 33]A number of them hold very high and responsible positions in the management of great enterprises, and almost without exception, the graduates hold good positions in productive industry.

There are 600 students attending the medical colleges of Atlanta.

The Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons is one of the best equipped in the country, and its course is very thorough. It has a very large attendance from all parts of the Southern States, and some from beyond that territory.

The Eclectic College of Medicine and Surgery is also well attended.

The Dental College holds a position of eminence among institutions of that kind.

The members of the Medical and Dental professions of the city rank high.

There are several excellent institutions for the education of girls, notably the Agnes Scott Institute, the Southern Female College and the Washington Seminary.

The Southern Military College is an excellent institution for boys, and Hunter’s School for boys has a fine reputation.

In the institutions of higher education there are about 5,000 students, nearly equally divided between whites and blacks.

The people of Atlanta have raised $250,000 which has been tendered the Synods of the Southern Presbyterian Church, to secure the location of a $1,000,000 University in the city or its immediate suburbs. Commissioners from the Synods of the Southern States met in Atlanta in December, 1903, and voted to accept the tender.

Of the amount subscribed, $150,000 comes from Presbyterians and $100,000 from the public, including all classes and almost all religious denominations. Of the $100,000 contributed by the public, about $25,000 came from working men and salaried employees of business houses. In some cases even domestic servants contributed. In all there are about 3,000 subscribers for amounts ranging from 10 cents to $25,000. At a great mass meeting held in the Grand Opera House, Monday evening, March 30th, $50,000 was raised.

The Carnegie Library.

The Carnegie Library of Atlanta was organized May 6th, 1899, and received all of the property and books of the Young Men’s Library, which had been a subscription library, and had 15,000 books and property worth $40,000, when the city received a gift of $100,000 from Mr. Andrew Carnegie for a building. Mr. Carnegie subsequently added $25,000 to the original gift for the building, and $20,000 for stock and furniture. Total cost of the Library equipped was $145,000. The lot, which was a gift of the Young Men’s Library Association, cost $35,000.[Pg 34] For the year 1904 the City of Atlanta has appropriated $10,100 for the maintenance of the Library.

There are in the Library 26,105 volumes classified and catalogued after the most approved methods. There are 13,420 registered borrowers, and the circulation for 1903 was 111,558 volumes for home use, about 400 volumes daily being issued.

The State Library has a large collection of law books, and a rare collection of colonial history of this and other Southern States.

Institutions for Negro Education.

Atlanta has some of the largest institutions for negro education in the country. They are: Atlanta University, Clark University, Gammon Theological Seminary, the Atlanta Baptist College, Morris Brown College, and Spelman Seminary.

The Spelman Seminary has a fine training school for nurses, and industrial training for women.

Clark University has industrial training for men.


Atlanta has two fine theatres—the Grand and the Bijou.

The Atlanta Lecture Association is one of the best in the United States, and regularly brings the best talent of the country to the Atlanta platform. Its membership is about 1,000. The Baptist Tabernacle has a lyceum course.






[Pg 35]

Residential Advantages.


It is hard to enumerate the advantages of life in Atlanta. They are so many that it is impossible to catalogue them all in brief space. The climate is the best enjoyed by any city in the country, the spirit of the people makes anyone welcome who is worthy of a welcome anywhere, and the opportunities for business, education, culture, enjoyment and social pleasure unsurpassed. The institutions for the preservation of order, sanitation and public comfort are excellent. The fraternities are numerously represented, and fraternity life is a feature of the city’s many attractions.

Visitors from a distance are always charmed with the residence streets of Atlanta. The homes are made attractive by grassy lawns, which beautify the scene and avoid the heat of those cities where solid blocks of flats rise directly from the sidewalk.

There are many beautiful suburbs which are easily and quickly reached by the car lines, and these are constantly extending. Atlanta has a fine market, supplied at all times with fish, game and vegetables, and an abundance of fresh meats. The shops and stores are up-to-date, and conducted in metropolitan style.

The Climate.

Atlanta is on the crest of the ridge dividing the watershed of the Atlantic Ocean from that of the Gulf of Mexico, and its elevation of 1,052 feet gives a bracing atmosphere. The mean annual temperature, based on all available records, is 60.8 degrees. The highest annual mean was 64.0 in 1871, preceded by the lowest, 56.9, in 1868. The mean temperature of the winter months is 44.1, of the spring months, 60.5, of the summer, 77.0, and of the autumn, 61.5. The highest monthly mean was 82.2, in July, 1875, the lowest, 34.4, in February, 1895. The warmest winter month was December, 1889, with a mean of 57.2; the coolest summer month was June, 1866, mean, 68.9. The highest[Pg 36] temperature on record is 100, which occurred on July 19, 1887, and is the only instance of its kind. The lowest temperature on record is -8.5, on February 13, 1899. The temperature has registered at zero, or below, but on three other dates in the last twenty-six years, viz.:— -1, January 6, 1884; -2, January 11, 1886, and zero February 8, 1895.

Summer nights are cool and the low percentage of humidity makes the days comfortable. The average date of first killing frost is November 4th, and of the last in spring, March 29th, leaving an average growing season of 219 days.

Monthly Mean Temperature.

The average monthly temperature for each month, as shown by the record of many years, is given below:

January 42.6 July 78.6
February 45.7 August 76.9
March 51.7 September 71.7
April 60.9 October 61.5
May 69.0 November 51.4
June 75.6 December 44.1
Annual average    60.8





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Rainfall by Months.

The normal precipitation by months by the Weather Bureau:

January, 5.10 inches; February, 5.23; March, 5.65; April, 4.23; May, 3.38; June, 4.04; July, 4.22; August, 4.58; September, 3.51; October, 2.36; November, 3.49; December, 4.29.

The annual average rainfall is 50.08.


Atlanta has several fine parks and places of resort.

The L. P. Grant Park, on the edge of the city near a battle-field of 1864, is a sylvan retreat of rare beauty, with a Zoo and Cyclorama added to the attractions of nature. It is the resort of picnic parties from the surrounding towns for many miles.

Piedmont Park, the site of fairs and expositions, is in the suburbs, half a mile beyond the city limits, on one of the battle-grounds of the Civil War. It has a lake and a picturesque site, with a number of large buildings.

Lakewood, as its name suggests, affords opportunity for aquatic sports. The same is true of East Lake, where there is elaborate provision for bathing. Ponce de Leon Springs, within the city limits, and the Chattahoochee River, eight miles out, are places of resort.

The Kirkwood Land Company has in preparation one of the most beautiful residence parks in America, and Atkins Park will be another place of loveliness.

To all these parks and places of resort there is an excellent street-car service. The exposition grounds at Piedmont Park also have connection with the city by the Southern Railway.

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Department of the Gulf.

In 1903 the Department of the Gulf, U. S. Army, was re-established and headquarters located at Atlanta, and the following officers are in command: Brigadier-General Thomas H. Berry, commanding; Major Millard F. Waltz, Adjutant General; Major Lewis E. Goodier, Judge-Advocate; Lieut.-Colonel Samuel R. Jones, Chief Quartermaster; Lieut.-Colonel Henry B. Osgood, Chief Commissary; Lieut.-Colonel Edwin F. Gardiner, Chief Surgeon; Major Elijah W. Halford, Chief Paymaster; Captain Manly B. Curry, Paymaster; Lieut. H. H. Sheen, A. D. C.; Lieut. A. M. Ferguson, A. D. C.

Fort McPherson.

An Army post is always an attraction because of the parades and the music, and its disbursements add materially to a city’s income. Fort McPherson, four miles out on the Central of Georgia Railway and two car lines, is one of the best-constructed posts in the United States and much visited by citizens.

It is a community in itself, with an independent waterworks system and a complete system of sewerage. There are permanent barracks, ample for one regiment, and during the Spanish War several thousand[Pg 39] soldiers were quartered here at one time by using wooden barracks in addition. The officers’ quarters are unusually good, and there is a well-appointed hospital.









In the Grady Hospital Atlanta has a large and well-equipped institution supported by the city. There are in addition, St. Joseph’s Infirmary and the Presbyterian Hospital, besides a number of excellent sanatoriums conducted by physicians, notably those of Drs. Elkin and Cooper, Dr. Noble and Dr. Robinson, the Halcyon and the National Surgical Institute.


Atlanta has 141 churches and the attendance on religious services is one of the noticeable features of the city’s life. This city is headquarters for several important denominational organizations, especially those of missionary work. It is the home of the Bishop of Georgia, Right Reverend C. K. Nelson (Episcopal), and of Bishop W. A. Candler of the Methodist Church.

The Baptist Home Mission Board is located here, and there is a similar organization of the Presbyterian Church represented. The[Pg 40] Catholic Marist College and a convent are located near the two leading churches of that faith.

The colored people have two Bishops in Atlanta, Bishop W. J. Gaines and Bishop H. M. Turner.

Orphan Asylums.

Atlanta has four orphan asylums. The Methodist Orphan Asylum is located at Decatur, several miles east of the city, and the Baptist Orphan Asylum is at Hapeville, nine miles south of Atlanta. The Jewish Orphan Asylum is within the city limits.

The Carrie Steele Orphans’ Home is an institution for colored children about three miles east of the city.

Other Asylums.

The Home for the Friendless and the Florence Crittenden Home for unfortunate women are charities of a high order, carefully managed under the direction of some of the best women in Atlanta.

In addition there are numerous free kindergartens.








[1] Now under construction.

[2] Under construction—nearly completed.