Atlanta’s many names


First, it was wild land.

Then, the Euroamerican landgrabbers founded Terminus, to be the end of the railroad coming south from Chattanooga. By 1842, it had 30 residents.

Then, Wilson Lumpkin asked that the town be named after his daughter, Martha, rather than himself. Terminus became Marthasville.

And, not long after, the community was incorporated in 1847 as Atlanta.

Then came the War of Northern Aggression, when Union soldiers torched fair Atlanta.

Rising from the flames, residents chose the phoenix as the symbol of the city.

And the reason for this historic recitation*? Over 7–22 March, the Atlanta Preservation Center presents a “Citywide Celebration of Living Landmarks” (buildings, not people). The connection: this is called Phoenix Flies.

I must confess I hear that name and I think of a summer street in postbellum Atlanta strewn with road apples and their attendent clouds of busy insects.

* Historical data combed from Wikipedia.

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