Although Atlanta is the capital of Georgia it was a small place
of very little importance until relatively recently. In 1837, it
was decided that the Western & Atlantic
Railroad would build its terminus in the area. On the
opening of the railway the city quickly grew to become a major
transportation centre, and continued to expand as a result. During
the Civil War Atlanta proved to be the crucial logistics hub, and
also became home to the Southern forces' munitions industry.
Because of this, the city was burned down by the Union Army in 1864
- an act that was immortalised in the novel 'Gone with the
Atlanta bounced back from the Civil War, and is now regarded as
one of the USA's top business cities. Many firms, including Coca
Cola, have their world headquarters here. Given the city's history,
a number of its main attractions are related to the Civil War.
These include the Atlanta Cyclorama, a huge panoramic painting of
the Battle of Atlanta. The painting is cylindrical, and has to be
viewed from the inside. If the painting was to be laid from end to
end, it would be 358 feet (109 metres) long.
Atlanta's museum also serves to give a detailed history of the
South and its role in the American Civil War. Another of the city's
highlights is Margaret Mitchell House, where the author lived from
1925 to 1932. The house provides an insight into how she lived, as
it has been kept much as it was. The house is where Mitchell wrote
most of her masterpiece, 'Gone with the Wind'. The epic story of
Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler became an instant classic on its
publication in 1936, and has sold well over 30 million copies
worldwide, making it one of the world's best-selling books. In
1939, the perennially popular film adaptation was released. It
became the highest-grossing film ever - in number of tickets sold -
and won a then record-breaking 10 Oscars.