1. Light Up Atlanta

    June 25, 1983 - Central City Park (now Woodruff Park) provided a great place for people to watch fireworks light up Atlanta’s skyline during the ‘Light Up Atlanta Festival.’ In the early ’80s, the Light Up Atlanta festival drew as many as 300,000 people downtown one weekend each June for a nighttime party of dancing, drinking and dining.

    In the early ’80s, the Light Up Atlanta festival drew as many as 300,000 people downtown each June for a nighttime weekend party of dancing, drinking and dining. First held in June 1983 as a way to draw suburban residents back to downtown Atlanta after dark, Light Up Atlanta eventually became a victim of its early success and violence ended the party after only three festivals. Here’s our look back through the lenses of our AJC photographers at the days when downtown turned on the lights — and the charm — for one weekend each June. Go to myajc.com to see more images.

     

  2. Watermelon Capital of the World

    1949 - Mrs. Edwin Cofer, from Cordele, holds one of her home town’s most famous products. Cordele calls itself the Watermelon Capital of Georgia. 

    When it comes to world capitals, there’s not much debate that Abu Dhabi is the capital of United Arab Emirates and Zagreb is the capital of Croatia. But other “world capitals” are harder to define.

    This week, the Photo Vault looks at Cordele, Ga., the self-proclaimed “Watermelon Capital of the World.” Go to ajc.com to read more. 

     

  3. A journey down Highland Avenue

    July 14, 1980 - Old Briarcliff Hotel at the corner of Ponce de Leon and North Highland avenues. (STEVE DEAL/AJC staff)

     Highland Avenue has been through a lot of changes in recent years, but that’s nothing new. It’s been through many makeovers in its lifetime. Take a look back at the early days of this lively and ever-changing Atlanta thoroughfare. Go to myajc.com to see more Flashback Fotos: A Journey down Highland Avenue. 

     

  4. Delta’s flying beauties

    1945 — Nine of Delta’s flying beauties shown beside a big transport on the apron of the Atlanta Airport. From left to right: Isabel Sanders, Martha Watkins, Josephine Pate, Alberta Cason, Frances Cooper, Christine Ferguson, Hedy Swindel, Nora Walsh and Virginia Lewis. 

    As one of the world’s largest airlines, Delta came from humble beginnings as a crop duster trying to eradicate the scourge of the South, the “evil” boll weevil. The Photo Vault today looks back at how this small operation helped shape Atlanta into the hub of commerce and culture that it is today. Go to myajc.com to read more.

     

  5. Atlanta street names

    And you thought our list was confusing? Take a gander at this: Here’s a list of the 225 street name changes in Atlanta up until 1903, published in the Constitution. Developer Forrest Adair gave the list to the Atlanta City Council as a means of documenting the various street name changes made from Atlanta’s founding until 1903.

    In this edition of our Flashback Fotos series, we meet the people behind the Atlanta streets and roads we often love to hate. No, we’re not talking about the folks who designed the tangle of thruways we navigate daily. For instance, we thought you’d like to know that Sidney Marcus isn’t just the moniker of a boulevard, there’s much more to John Wesley Dobbs than a street, and that our Journal and Constitution photographers will be happy to introduce you to these notable Atlantans.

     

  6. World marks 70th anniversary of D-Day invasion

    This week’s observances of June 6, 1944, take on special poignancy, providing one of the last chances to pay major tribute to the dwindling number of surviving D-Day veterans. In Friday’s exclusive digital section, find historic Atlanta Journal and Atlanta Constitution pages, photo galleries, maps, a timeline and other facts surrounding the pivotal invasion – only on MyAJC.com and the Today’s Paper app. 

     

  7. A traffic jam? In Atlanta?

    1954 — Patrolman S.G. Peeples talks to a female motorist whose auto transmission locked all wheels of the vehicle in the center of the Peachtree and Ellis Streets intersection.

    In this edition of our Flashback Fotos series, our trip into the AJC photo archives takes us onto the streets and out on the beat with Atlanta policemen through the years. Go to myajc.com to see more images.

     

  8. Gunnin’ for the law

    1982 - Major Ken Carter of the Kennesaw Police Department proudly displays one of the many different bumper stuckers being printed up in the area. (Andy Sharp/AJC staff)

    With Georgia House Bill 60 going into effect July 1, the nation, if not the world, is weighing in on gun legislation in the Peach State. The so-called “guns everywhere” legislation specifies where Georgia residents can carry weapons. Included are provisions that allow residents who have concealed carry permits to take guns into some bars, churches, school zones, government buildings and certain parts of airports.

    This isn’t the first time Georgia gun laws have caught global attention. The Photo Vault looks back 32 years ago when an ordinance in Kennesaw required every head of household to possess a firearm and ammunition. Go to myajc.com to read more. 

     

  9. Still I Rise

    April 2, 2002 - Poet and author Maya Angelou had just published her sixth autobiography, ‘A Song Flung Up To Heaven.’ This photo was taken at her home. She was a modern Renaissance woman who survived the harshest of childhoods to become a force on stage, screen, the printed page and the inaugural dais. Go to ajc.com to read more. (JEAN SHIFRIN/AJC staff)

     

  10. Voting in the ‘Peach State’

    Aug. 5, 1980-The voting booths at Inman Middle School in Atlanta were crowded when this shot was taken and our question is — can you guess who’s voting which ticket?

    In this edition of our Flashback Fotos series, we take a look back into the AJC photo archives and revisit the days before computerized voting became the norm in the Peach State. Go to myajc.com see more images.

    Photo by Steve Huber / AJC file

     

  11. ‘Tis the season

    1980s – A college graduate with a bottle of Spumate in Atlanta, Georgia. Spring commencement season is in full swing in the Atlanta metro area and the AJC has it covered. Go to ajc.com to see images from Georgia colleges’ and universities’ graduations. Also, are you graduating from high school? If so, send us your pics at socialmedia@ajc.com or post on Instagram using #ajcgrads. Tell us what your post-graduation plans are and from where you are graduating. Photo from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution archives

     

  12. Terminal Hotel Fire

    May 16, 1938 - Downtown Atlanta has gone through countless changes for reasons as diverse as the recently announced exodus of the Braves for Cobb County to Gen. William T. Sherman’s Civil War destruction. The Photo Vault looks back to May 16, 1938, when the Terminal Hotel burned to the ground taking dozens of lives and altering the city skyline.

    In the wee hours of the morning, while most guests were asleep, the five-story structure caught fire. Located at Spring and Mitchell Streets across from Terminal Station in the Hotel Row District, the building was fully ablaze just minutes after the alarm bell sounded around 3 a.m.

    Published reports say the fire broke out in the basement, but soon after fire crews arrived the roof collapsed. Flames and smoke shot skyward and in a moment every floor was ablaze.

    The hotel’s proximity to the rail station made it a popular spot for railroad men. At $1 and up per day, there were about 75 occupied rooms at the time of the fire.

    The Atlanta Journal reported that several people were killed leaping from the building. A Columbus, Ga., railroad engineer jumped from a fourth-floor window. His body tumbled across the street. He was dead when rescuers reached him. One victim was found dead on a second-floor ledge of the hotel court, where he had struck in a leap for safety.

    Firefighters reported that once the blaze was out, they found a family dead in one room — a woman in a rocking chair, a man and a small boy stretched across the bed, with a little girl kneeling by it. And the body of a man was found sprawled on window ledge near scaffolding set up the day before by painters. If he had been able to crawl 18 inches farther, firefighters said, it was possible he might have been rescued from the blazing inferno.

    The building became unstable so quickly that traffic for blocks around was jammed as police roped off the area against danger of falling walls.

    Reports vary on the number of victims — as few as 27 to as many as 35. Some were burned to death and others suffocated. Many of the bodies were horribly mangled in the collapse of floors and steel work. But the tragedy went down in history as one of the worst hotel fires the United States has ever seen. Credit: Atlanta Journal staff

     

  13. Atlanta part of postal service history

    1908 - Postmaster JT Stovall with his horse-drawn U.S. Post Office wagon in 1908. Mail went from house-and-rider delivery across the country to rail between cities and eventually by airplanes.

    Recent headlines about U.S. Postal Service issues of rates, employment and relevancy prompted the Photo Vault to look back at Atlanta’s role. Anyone who’s familiar with the city’s history knows that its beginning literally started at the end of the line. Originally built as a railroad terminus, Atlanta’s original name, Terminus, describes how important rail was in its growth. 

     

  14. The Georgia Capitol through the years

    Before the Capitol moved to its present location in 1889, it had been located on the corner of Marietta and Forsyth Streets in the former Kimball Opera House, shown in the center distance in this heavily retouched photo, from sometime in the 1880s. A caption provided by the Atlanta History Center states, “In 1870, the state of Georgia purchased the recently completed Atlanta Opera House at the corner of Marietta and Forsyth Streets in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, to house the state capitol. Atlanta had been designated the temporary state capital in 1868 and became the permanent capital in 1877. The state legislature continued to meet in the building until 1889, when the current Georgia State Capitol building was completed.” (William A. Kuhns/AJC Archives/GSU Archives) Go to myajc.com to see more images.

     

  15. Boy’s High School

    1900s—Students studying in class at Boy’s High at Courtland and Gilmer Streets.

    Today, schools and districts are receiving grades through the state’s College and Career-Ready Performance Index, which uses student test scores, academic progress and closing the gap in performance between groups of students to come up with a numerical grade of zero to 110. Go to myajc.com to see all the results for schools in Cobb and the metro area.