Georgia legislature had voted to build the Western and Atlantic Railroad to open trade with the Midwest. Atlanta was selected to be the site of the lines depot.
The city was incorporated as Atlanta.
The area surrounding the depot had become congested with trains, horses and buggies, pedestrians, and automobiles. The area became so congested that the city built iron bridges over a few of the streets for automobile traffic.
In the song “Preachin’ The Blues” Bessie Smith sings about the Viaducts. Down in Atlanta G.A., Underneath the viaduct one day, Drinking corn and hollerin’ hoo-ray, Piano playin' till the break of day. Listen below.
After prohibition ended, and the need for speakeasies, along with the change in business ownership, the entire subterranean area – a 12 acre, 5 block stretch of street – was completely forgotten about.
Plaza Park was built and later renamed Peachtree Fountains Plaza, which sits at the modern entrance to Underground Atlanta.
During some construction work, that the area was rediscovered. Almost like a time capsule much of the brickwork, granite archways, cast-iron pilasters, ornate marble, wooden posts and gas street lamps from a century earlier were found in perfect condition. Even the street trash – gum wrappers and cigarette butts – was completely undisturbed.
Two Georgia Tech graduates, Steven H. Fuller, Jr. and Jack R. Patterson, began to plan a private development there to restore and reopen "the city beneath the city" as a retail and entertainment district. Underground Atlanta, Inc. was incorporated May 2, 1967.
Construction on Underground began in November. Underground was also designated as a “Historic Atlanta District” by the city.
Underground Atlanta to open on April 8, 1969. Among the more popular spots in Underground Atlanta were Dante's Down the Hatch, Scarlet O'Hara, The Blarney Stone, The Rustler's Den, The Pumphouse, The Front Page, The Bank Note, and Muhlenbrink's Saloon, where Atlanta's Piano Red, under the name Dr. Feelgood and the Interns, played from 1969 to 1979.
Underground celebrated its highest grossing year with 3.5 million visitors and sales of seventeen million dollars. It was the place to be!
Underground Atlanta finally closed, while some of its businesses hung on for a few more years.
Newly elected Mayor Andrew Young vowed to reopen Underground as part of his plan to resuscitate downtown Atlanta.
On June 15, 1989, Underground Atlanta re-opened as more of a modern shopping mall than an entertainment district.
The World of Coca-Cola, a museum chronicling the history of The Coca-Cola Company and its products, opened adjacent to Underground Atlanta, bringing further influx of tourists to the area.
Underground becomes a central rallying point for celebrations such as the Olympics and World Series.
The last peach drops in Atlanta for New Years Eve.
The start of something great...