Historian and INtown contributor Ann Taylor Boutwell at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market in 2003.
Historian and INtown contributor Ann Taylor Boutwell at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market in 2003.

By Ann Taylor Boutwell

Editor’s Note: Historian and Margaret Mitchell House docent Ann Taylor Boutwell highlights two decades of Intown history is this special 20th anniversary edition of her column, A Look Back.

Bill Campbell inaugurated city’s 57th mayor on Jan. 3. Buildings along Peachtree Street were illuminated on Jan. 27 as part of “Atlanta in a New Light” to welcome Super Bowl visitors and launch the official countdown to the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. • Super Bowl XXVIII was played on Jan. 30 at the Georgia Dome. The Cowboys defeated the Bills 30–13. • The first Music Midtown is held on property at the corner of Peachtree and 10th streets that will eventually become the Federal Reserve. • Beverly Harvard was named Atlanta’s first female police chief. • Peachtree Road Race celebrated 25th anniversary. • Emory University embarked on $100 million building project to build a school of health and new law library. • Olympic czar Billy Payne has an epiphany for a new Downtown park to mark the Centennial Olympic Games.

The Atlanta Braves win the World Series in 1995.

In February, J. B. Fuqua honored his wife, Dorothy, on their 50th wedding anniversary by donating $3 million to Piedmont Hospital’s expanding heart center now known as Fuqua Heart Center of Atlanta. • The historic 1924 Atlanta Municipal Market at 209 Edgewood Ave. was renamed Sweet Auburn Curb Market. • Newt Gingrich was elected U.S. Speaker of the House, becoming the first Republican speaker in 40 years. • Downtown’s busiest intersection at Peachtree Street and International Boulevard shut down for two weeks in August to install multicolored asphalt map of the world for the Olympics. • The 1995 World Series matched the Atlanta Braves against the Cleveland Indians. Atlanta Braves won the city’s first world championship, Oct. 28. • Turner Broadcasting System and Time Warner, Inc. announced a $7.5 billion merger. • The U.S. Track and Field Championship was the public’s first official glimpse of the Olympic stadium in June.

Boxing great Muhammad Ali lights the cauldron at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.

Atlanta geared up for the Centennial Olympic Summer Olympic Games—July 19 through Aug. 4. • Centennial Olympic Park opens on July 13. • The new $11 million Martin Luther King, Jr. Visitors Center opened on July 10. • Boxing great Muhammad Ali lights the caldron at Olympic Stadium to open the games on July 19 • On July 27 at 1:19 a.m., a pipe bomb exploded at Centennial Olympic Park killing two people and injuring 110 others. • During the 17 days of the Olympics, more than two million visitors came to Atlanta, and an estimated 3.5 billion people around the world watched on television. • The Atlanta Braves play their last game at the Atlanta-Fulton County stadium, which is slated for demolition.

Dr. Albert E. Manley, president of Spelman College, died in March. He shepherded students for 22 years during the tumultuous1960s civil rights issues and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. • The Atlanta Fulton County Stadium is demolished on Aug. 2. • Cathy Woolard became the first openly gay person elected to city office. • The Carnegie Pavilion sculpture, made from the façade of the demolished Carnegie Library, was dedicated at Hardy Ivy Park in Downtown. • Development plans emerged to transform the old Atlantic Steel site along the Downtown Connector into a new development called Atlantic Station.

Willie B. at Zoo Atlanta

National Black Arts Festival celebrated 10th Anniversary in July. • Eric Robert Rudolph, who bombed Centennial Park during the Olympics and is responsible for many other, is placed on FBI’s Most Wanted list. • Centennial Olympic Park reopened in March with a redesigned landscape for public use. • Atlanta’s favorite primate, Willie B., celebrated his 40th birthday with pears, bananas and watermelon at Zoo Atlanta. • In November, John E. Aderhold’s donated $2.5 million to Georgia State University in honor of his wife to create the new classroom building, the Helen M. Aderhold Learning Center.

Super Bowl XXXIII saw the Broncos defeat the Atlanta Falcons 34–19 to win their second consecutive Super Bowl. • Atlanta Ballet celebrated its 70th anniversary during the 1999-2000 season at the Fox Theatre. • Fire engulfed the under-renovation Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts in Cabbagetown, and the daring helicopter rescue of a worker trapped on a crane made international headlines. • After losing $100,000, day trader Mark Barton kills 12 and injures 13 others on July 29 during a shooting rampage at two Atlanta day trading firms. • The Atlanta Braves’ Chipper Jones won the 1999 National League Most Valuable Player Award. • Zoo Atlanta acquired two giant pandas, Lun Lun and Yang Yang, from China. • Ryan Gravel writes his masters thesis at Georgia Tech about using the city’s 22-mile circle of disused railroad corridors for something called the BeltLine.

Atlantans party on despite fears that the “Millennium Bug” will cut computers and electricity around the world. • Over 7,000 people said goodbye to Zoo Atlanta’s Willie B. at a special memorial service. • Rio Mall at the corner of Piedmont and North avenues demolished to make room for Publix and Walgreens. • Turner Broadcasting’s $90 million Techwood campus building opens. • Hundreds attended the memorial service for Atlanta Historian Franklin Garrett at Oakland Cemetery.

Trustees of Woodruff Art Center approved a $100 million-plus expansion, which includes three new buildings for the High Museum of Art along with a new residence hall and sculpture studio for the Atlanta College of Art. • Planes are grounded at Hartsfield Atlanta Airport in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington DC. Interstate road signs display the message “National State of Emergency.” • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta gets more funding in the wake of the anthrax scares. • Shirley Franklin elected as Atlanta’s first female mayor.

Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes

Two big projects were announced for Downtown across from Centennial Park: a new aquarium and the relocation of the World of Coca-Cola museum. • Home Depot founder Arthur Blank bought the Atlanta Falcons. • Atlanta rapper and TLC member Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes is killed in a car accident on April 25 in Honduras. • A fugitive since 1987 and one of America’s Most Wanted criminals, James Sullivan, is arrested for the murder of his wife Lita at a resort in Thailand on July 2.

Maynard Jackson, the first African-American mayor of Atlanta died June 23. • Ivan Allen Jr., the 52nd mayor of Atlanta from 1962 to 1970 and led the city through economic prosperity, civil rights civility and brought major league sports to the South died July 2. • Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta opened Downtown. • The mixed-use Atlantic Station on the former site of the Atlantic Steel Company opens to the public. • Midtown is transformed with opening of Georgia Tech’s Technology Square on Oct. 24.

The world premiere “The Color Purple” musical opened at the Alliance Theatre. • Piedmont Park celebrated 100 years. • After 137 years, Federated Department Stores closes or rebrands the last of the Rich’s stores. • Former mayor Bill Campbell was indicted on wide-ranging corruption charges. • The Fox Theatre celebrated its 75th birthday.

Shoppers flocked to the new IKEA store at Atlantic Station in June. • The Georgia Aquarium opened Nov. 23. • Woodruff Art’s trustees endorsed the merger of Atlanta Art College and SCAD Savannah College of Art and Design. • Former iXL building at 1600 Peachtree St. becomes new home to SCAD, which also acquired historic Ivy Hall on Ponce de Leon. • Architect Renzo Piano’s expansion of High Museum opened to public in November. • Henry W. Grady High School in Midtown showed off its two-year, $24 million renovation of the Charles Allen Building and the old gym. • In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, panicked motorists fearing a gasoline shortage caused chaos at local pumps.

Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King, Jr. died on Jan. 30. • Construction began on Buckhead’s tallest building, the 48-story Sovereign. • Ford Motor Co.’s 60-year history of auto making in Atlanta ended after the Hapeville plant is closed. • The FCC approves the buyout of Atlanta-based Bellsouth by AT&T.

Georgia Department of Transportation contractor crews reconstructing the 14th Street Bridge received the go-ahead to close to traffic in May for the next two years. • The new World of Coca-Cola opened beside the Georgia Aquarium at Pemberton Place in Downtown. • Atlanta Falcon Michael Vick is convicted for dog fighting at his home in Richmond, VA. and suspended from the NFL. • Roberto C. Goizueta, the Coca-Cola Chairman noted for the company’s turnaround, died on Oct. 18.

Tornado damage at Oakland Cemetery.

A tornado plows through parts of Downtown on March 14, damaging the Westin Peachtree Plaza, Equitable Building, Georgia Dome, Georgia World Congress Center, collapses part of the Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts, rips roofs off homes in Cabbagetown and heavily damages monuments and trees at Oakland Cemetery. • Druid Hill Presbyterian Church celebrated its 125th birthday. • G Wayne Clough resigned as Georgia Tech’s 10th president to accept the position as 12th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute. • A bronze statue of Andrew Young, former Congressman and 14th Ambassador to the United Nations was unveiled in Downtown’s Walton Park. • The under-construction Canopy Skywalk at the Atlanta Botanical Garden collapsed killing one and injuring 18 others on Dec. 19.

Starlight Six Drive-In Theater on Moreland Avenue celebrated its 60th birthday. • The City of Atlanta is awarded $47.6 million in federal dollars for the Atlanta Streetcar through. • As part of the global recession and real estate market meltdown, Georgian Bank, Buckhead Community Bank, RockBridge Commercial Bank and others around the state are closed. • The Atlanta Journal-Constitution breaks the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal.

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Beverly Hall appointed a commission to investigate the cheating scandal, which she will later be indicted in. • A zebra escaped from the Ringling Bros. Circus performing at Philips Arena and caused chaos on the Downtown Connector before he was caught on Feb. 19. • Part-time Atlantan Justin Bieber released his hit song “Baby.” • In September, Georgia State University’s opening football game was against the Shorter Hawks, winning the game 41-7.

SkyView Ferris Wheel in Downtown

The Jan. 9 snowstorm and freezing rain brought Atlanta to a halt, closing schools and businesses for days. • The U.S. Federal Court of Appeals in Atlanta heard arguments against the Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. • Georgian Terrace Hotel celebrated its 100th anniversary in October. • Downtown’s Harris Street is renamed John Portman Boulevard to honor the architect. • Margaret Mitchell: American Rebel, a one-hour original documentary written and directed by Executive Producer Pamela Roberts, premiered June 30 on GPB Television.

The Atlanta Falcons proposed a bigger stadium to replace the Georgia Dome. • The $1.4 billion international terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport opened on May 16. • The National Trust for Historic Preservation added the “Sweet” Auburn Avenue corridor, which was once the center of African-American civic, social and business life, to its 2012 list of America’s Most Endangered Historic Places. • The Eastside Trail of the Atlanta BeltLine opened to the public on Oct. 15.

Snowjam 2014 in Decatur

Bobby Jones Golf Course located in Buckhead’s Atlanta Memorial Park received $30,000 city grant to develop a new master plan. • Skyview, a giant Ferris Wheel once located in Paris opened July 14 next to The Tabernacle in Downtown. • Atlanta Streetcar construction began. • Atlantans are stunned when the Braves announced on Nov. 11 that they would leave Turner Field and build a new stadium in Cobb County.

On Jan. 28, a snowstorm cripples the city with thousands of motorists trapped on the interstates and children forced to spend the night in schools. • The 152-year- old- Friendship Baptist Church holds its final service before being demolished to make way for the new Falcons stadium on May 26. • Atlanta-based director Kenny Leon nabbed his first Tony Award for best director of the revival of “A Raisin in the Sun.” • Decatur’s Glennwood Elementary, the city’s oldest public school, at celebrated 100 year • The National Center for Civil and Human Rights and College Football Hall of Fame opened Downtown. • The Atlanta History Center announced it would build a new home for the Battle of Atlanta painting housed in Grant Park’s Cyclorama. • The Atlanta Streetcar began testing with plans to roll out to the public in November.

Collin KelleyEditor

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.