1782 – 1859 | 1860 – 1864 | 1865 – 1877 | 1878 – 1899 | 1900 – 1930 | 1931 – 1960 | 1961 – 1986
1865 – 1877
- Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9. Lincoln is shot less than a week later and dies.
- On May 16, the American flag is officially raised over Atlanta and immediately lowered to honor the assassinated president.
- Union Col. B.B. Egleston orders the arrest and jailing of any black found with passes within Atlanta city limits.
- Mayor Calhoun, leading first public meeting since Sherman captured the town, deplores Lincoln’s assassination, and calls for restoration of commercial ties with the north.
- Union Brig.-Gen. Salm-Salm, a Prussian, is named military governor of Atlanta.
- City Council vows equal application of laws to whites and blacks.
- The Atlanta National Bank is chartered, which will later become First National Bank of Atlanta, then First Atlanta, and eventually Wachovia.
- A school for black children, the first in Atlanta, opens in an old church building on Armstrong Street.
- By the end of the year, Atlanta boasts 22 private schools but no public schools. The legislature approves a public-school system, but lacking funds, none exists until 1873.
- The legislature also approves convict labor being hired out to private firms, the first contract being to the Georgia and Alabama Railroad. The “chain-gang” system was to be abolished in 1909.
- Gold is discovered in Randall Mill Road area in present-day Buckhead, but not enough to justify mining.
- Atlanta’s population: 10,940 whites, 9,288 blacks. The city limits are extended one-half mile outward from the zero-mile post (near present Underground Atlanta), making Atlanta three miles across.
- Atlanta Gas Light Company starts lighting the streets again for the first time since Sherman burned the place.
- Italian opera is performed in Atlanta for the first time, and opera becomes all the rage.
- Morris Rich, 19 years old, opens a small store on Whitehall Street. (It is the precursor of the Rich’s department store chain, bought out 100 years later by rival Macy’s.)
- The first soda fountain in Atlanta opens in the Redwine & Fox drug store at Whitehall & Alabama Streets.
- Atlanta University is chartered.
- The Federal Government leases property southwest of the city for encamping soldiers. The location, at that time a race track, later became site of Ft. McPherson and Spelman College.
- Atlanta is named headquarters of the Third Military District under the U.S. Reconstruction Act, and Gen. John S. Pope is put in command.
- Gen. Pope issues orders allowing blacks to serve on juries, ordering Mayor James Williams to remain in office another year, and banning city advertising in newspapers that don’t favor reconstruction.
- President Andrew Johnson issues order removing Gen. Pope from his Atlanta command. He is soon replaced by Gen. George G. Meade.
- A convention convenes in Atlanta to draw up a new state constitution.
- Gen. Meade removes Gov. Jenkins and the State treasurer from office for refusing to pay $40,000 toward costs of the Constitutional Convention.
- In April, elections are held, approving Atlanta as the new state capital and naming as governor Republican Rufus Bullock, who defeated the Democratic candidate, former Confederate Gen. John B. Gordon.
- On June 16, the Atlanta Constitution newspaper puts out its first edition. The following month, it editorializes that “We return to the Union … under a Constitution and a state government which has no foundations in the affection of our people … By the enfranchisement of the lowest class … and the wholesale disenfranchisement of our best citizens, we have certainly taken a retrograde movement…”
- Thousands cheer five hours of anti-reconstruction government speeches in what became known as the “Bush Arbor” meeting of Democrats near present Underground Atlanta. Speakers include Robert Toombs and Benjamin H. Hill.
- Direct miliary rule having been withdrawn, Gen. Meade departs the city.
- In defiance of Gov. Bullock, the legislature expels its black members … 25 from House, three from Senate … on grounds that the constitution prohibits blacks from holding office. (The State Supreme Court will reinstate the legislators the following year.)
- Kimball opera house chosen as temporary state Capitol. The building, at the southeast corner of Marietta and Forsyth streets, served until the present capitol building opened in 1889.
- The Legislature votes against ratifying the 15th Amendment (right to vote not to be abridged based on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude”), and then adjourns.
- Gov. Bullock heads for Washington to seek return of the state to military rule. The Federal government does so in December, saying the state will not enter until the Legislature ratifies the 15th Amendment. In an editorial, the Atlanta Constitution pronounces that “We regard the measure as an unspeakable evil…”
- Georgia Railroad freight depot opens at what is now the entrance to Underground Atlanta.
- Dr. Albert Hape and Prof. Samuel A. King become the first locals to go up in a balloon. (Hape’s brother later will found Hapeville, future home the Atlanta’s airport.)
- A coeducational black school that will later become Clark College is founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church’s Freedman’s Aid Society.
- Gov. Bullock convenes the Legislature which includes black members removed in 1868. Legislature again expels newly elected blacks. The governor names a military board to review eligibilty of his opponents in the legislature.
- The Legislature ratifies the 15th Amendment and Georgia is readmitted to the Union.
- Oglethorpe University, previously located in Milledgeville, reopens in Atlanta with 11 instructors.
- A new hotel with central heat and elevators is built by Hannibal Kimball.
- Radical Republican Dennis Hammond is elected mayor and the new City Council gets its first two black members.
- Atlanta population: 21,789 residents living on about nine square miles.
- A street railway company, owned by George Adair and Richard Peters, starts up with the first line running two miles to the barracks at Ft. McPherson, operating from 7 am to 10 pm.
- Gov. Bullock resigns and flees the state to escape prosecution of corruption.
- A survey of city businesses shows Atlanta has 76 doctors, 46 lawyers, 20 billiard tables and a skating rink.
- Robert Toombs heads a team of attorneys to prosecute ex-Gov. Bullock on corruption charges.
- The city school system opens. By the end of the year, the Boys and Girls High Schools and seven grade schools will have 2,075 students enrolled.
- A water company begins delivering bottled water by wagon from Ponce de Leon Springs (near today’s City Hall East, the old Sears building on Ponce De Leon Avenue).
- The street railway as of this year includes lines on Peachtree and Decatur Streets and Ponce De Leon Avenue.
- Citizens Bank of Georgia opens.
- Free mail delivery begins in Atlanta with the first letter going to grocer John C. Hallman. At the insistence of Postmaster J.L. Dunning and at city expense, all houses are suppled with enamel signs with streets numbers painted on them.
- Thomas Jones is named the first chief of police to head a force numbering 26 tin-helmeted men.
- The term “The New South” is used in a published statement by Daily Herald Editor Henry W. Grady.
- Having fled when the Reconstruction government collapsed, hotel owner H.I. Kimball returns to Atlanta and faces a grand jury. With support from Henry Grady, who says Atlanta needs skilled businessmen, Kimball is exonerated.
- Whitehall Street Railway opens, and with the completion of a bridge over Clear Creek, the Peachtree Street Railway extends all the way to Ponce de Leon Springs.
- Police Chief Jones urges pay raises to $100 per month for lieutenants and $75 for patrolmen, and is then fired.
- A dam is raised 51-feet over over Poole’s Creek, on the land of the old Lakewood Fairgrounds south of the city, to supply the city water system. Firemen testing it shoot a stream of water over the 153-foot flagstaff of the Kimball House hotel.
- Evan Howell buys half of the Atlanta Constitution and then names Henry W. Grady its managing editor, who himself then hires Joel Chandler Harris (who will later create the Uncle Remus stories) as a $25 per week “paragrapher.”
- ohn Wilkes Booth’s brother, Edwin, plays “Hamlet” to a standing-room-only crowd.
- The Park Medical Institute, at Marietta and Peachtree Streets, advertises a guaranteed “Painless and Permanent Cure for The Opium and Morphine Habit…”
- Reconstruction ends with the inauguration of President Rutherford B. Hayes who, the year before, won the electoral vote but lost the popular vote to Samuel J. Tilden.
- President Hayes becomes first sitting American president to visit Atlanta.
- The city’s first telephone line runs from Union Station to the Western & Atlantic Railroad depot.