Our Historic Start
All Rails Lead to Atlanta
The nineteenth century saw the rapid growth of railroads in the United States, transforming and connecting the nation. The convergence of four major rail lines fueled the rapid growth of Atlanta into an important hub for manufacturing and transportation. Entrepreneurs like Carrie Steele Logan and William Markham came to the burgeoning city to build a better future. Newspapers like the New Era and The Herald told stories of invention and advancement, and at the heart of it all was a rail junction that connected not just places but people and ideas. Railways fueled rapid population growth and commerce boomed as trains brought travelers, products and ideas into Atlanta at a speed previously unimaginable. As new ideas arrived, our vision for what was possible expanded and Atlanta grew into the commercial center of the Southeastern United States.
A Powerful Perspective
To build a better future, we must both learn from and celebrate our past–failures and successes alike. Atlanta’s growth is not just economic in nature. Our success has been framed by looking differently at the world and our place in it. This unique perspective began when civil engineers put pencil to paper, designing the rail system that gave birth to our great city. Unlike most other cities of its era, Atlanta, or Terminus as it was then known, was not adjacent to a major body of water or navigable waterway. Atlanta’s Circle Wye railroad junction was developed in 1846 when the Macon-Atlanta line was completed by the Macon and Western Railroad. The original Circle Wye inspired the notable “A” railroad design you see in the Centennial Yards logo.
Atlanta’s unique heritage was and remains the result of cutting–edge transportation technology, a heritage that we continue to embrace with one of the world’s busiest airports and three of the nation’s most–traveled highways converging in the center of the city. The rail system that created Atlanta is just as important today as it was 175 years ago and will likely remain a critical transportation asset well into the foreseeable future.
Together We Rise
Atlanta’s success as a center of commerce and innovation is matched only by our unrivaled impact on progressive social change. And there is no more significant achievement for any city than building a brighter and more sustainable future for its citizenry. History has shown few cities have emerged from cataclysmic fires greater than before. Atlanta is one of those inspiring exceptions. The rebirth of this great city has not only risen from the ashes but continually proves itself as a world leader in social causes– causes led by the great people from across this state for decades, and we will continue to celebrate their vision and our dreams as we design, build and prosper together as a galvanized community.
In its enduring spirit, Centennial Yards commits to upholding this important legacy – for our city, our country, and the world – with actions, not just words. From our 20% aﬀordable housing commitment to ambitious Equal Opportunity Business initiatives, the success of Centennial Yards will come only with the success of Atlanta as a whole.