Monday, January 18, 2010

Atlanta, GA

Saturday June 22, 1991

Left Fairfield at 7:30 for Atlanta, Ga. Arrived Atlanta 12:30, stopping at the Welcome Center where we got a coupon for Travel Lodge downtown $37.95--real cheap. Had lunch in a roadside rest area.

The motel is between the 85 freeway and the Hilton Hotel. The Marriott is across the street. Our place is clean and fine. It offers continental breakfast.

We walk 4 blocks to catch MARTA, the underground rail. Tokens are $1. We get off at the first stop "Atlanta Underground." It's a maze of shops, food, and restaurants. Also, entertainment everywhere. We pay to see the Heritage, which is the history of Atlanta. The Coca-Cola building where Coke got its start is across the street, but we decide we don't care to wait in line 2 hours. Costs $2.50. We have a great Japanese dinner for $4.95 in the food court.

We walk through all the big hotels on the way back. We are in our room at 8:30, tired. Frank still fighting a cold. I feel great.

During the 1920's, construction of concrete viaducts elevated the street system one level to permit a better flow of traffic. Merchants moved their operations to the second floor, leaving the old fronts for storage and service, thus giving birth to what is now Underground Atlanta.

In 1968, the Atlanta Board of Aldermen declared the five-block area of the original downtown a historic site. Many significant architectural features survived from original storefronts, including ornate marble, granite archways, cast iron pilasters, decorative brickwork, and hand-carved wood posts and panels. One-year later, Underground Atlanta opened as a retail and entertainment center.

In 1980, the construction of the MARTA rapid transit line and other factors led to the closing of the original Underground Atlanta. Upon its closing, civic and business leaders succeeded in having Underground Atlanta placed on the National Register of Historic Places and leaders vowed to reopen the area.

In 1989 Underground Atlanta was reopened, at a cost of $142 million, through a joint venture between the City of Atlanta and private industry. It was redesigned to be one of the major projects aimed at preserving and revitalizing the center of Atlanta. Today, Underground offers retail shops, specialty and gift shops, fast food in the Old Alabama Eatery, unique features and entertainment, special events and fine restaurants.

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