Box 20, Folder 2, Document 28

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Boom Town

Peachtree Street was never before like
this. Handsome stone-and-glass office and
apartment buildings are sprouting all over
Auianta. In the past two years workmen
put the finishing touches on such major
new downtown structures as a 22-story.
$12 million Atlanta Merchandise Mart.
and a 31-story headquarters for the Bank
of Georgia. loftiest skyscraper in the
Southeast. This year city official. expect
to issue around $120 million worth of new
building permits. From ryso te 1460 met-
ropolitan Atlanta’s population jumped
4o% to 1.017.188 and is still growing at
the rate of 30.000 a vear. The gracious
belle of the old South has become the na-
tion’s newest hoom town and miatiaged to
turn the trick without losing her poise or
showing an ankle.

No Playboys. “There's « -<ustained
drive here that retains a sense of values ~
says Editor Eugene Patterson ot the At-
lanta Constitution. “Its not the Houston
go-go; the drive is here but the brashness
is not.” Much of Atlanta's stability under
change comes from its business leaders.
such as Robert Woodruff, Coca-Cola's re-
tired chairman, and Richard Rich of
Rich’s, the South's largest department
store, who have long made no-nonsense
civic enterprise an Atlanta tradition. “This
is not a playboy’s town and it’s not a
cocktail-at-lunch town.’ says Mayor Ivan
Allen Jr., himself the former president of
the South’s largest office-supply firm.
This is a businessman's town.”

It is also a town that honors its tradi-
tions without becoming mired in them.
“The besetting sin of the South is wor-
ship of the South,” says William Harts-
field, mayor of Atlanta from 1937 through
1961. “Strangely. many people in the
South today worship the day that Marga-

ret Mitchell said was gone with the wind.
I say strangely’ because few of them par-
Uicipated in those days. So many speak of
magnolias and beautiful ladies and soft
nights, and so many of them had only
hookworm and poverty. We in Atlanta
have been moving and getting somewhere
over the vears.”

Forgetting the past, Atlanta has wel-
comed the influx of Northern business and
blood that have given the city a cosmo-
politan air and outlook. No major South-
ern city has managed to integrate its Ne-
groes so well and so smoothly. Not a single
ugly incident murred_the imtegration of —
schools last) ve: Shrugs Mavor Allen:
Hell the Jaw was on the hooks, and it
Was here am we got it done

iting Pretty.
been kind fo Atlanta. Because it is 1.050
It. above sea level—next to Denver the
highest big citv in the U.S,—Atlanta es-
capes the enervating Southern heat, has
mn oaverage \usust temperature of only

And Atlanta, with a new $20 million
jet airport and 13 railroad lines, has the
good fortune to sit in the middle of the
southeastern region of the U.S. that is
swiftly becoming industrialized,

Atlanta is <till recovering from the June
jetliner crash in France that killed 105 of
its citizens. including many of the city’s
cultural leaders. The city recently suffered
a setback of another kind when voters
turned down an So million bond issue tu
finance a wide variety of home county
improvements. including an elaborate cul-
tural center. Last week the leaders were
blaming the defeat only on themselves.
Said Editor Patterson: “It was overconfi-
dence We had succeeded for so long I
thought we couldn't fail. Therefore we
didn’t spell it out to the voters the way we
should have. Next time we'll do it right.”
On the basis of past performances, there
seems every chance that they will.

_ thats all.”
Geography has atso—



(Issue of August 17, 1962)

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