Historic Atlanta: The city from the ashes

Atlanta was officially established in 1847 at the intersection of two railroad lines. There are conflicting tales about how the city was named. Marthasville (today Atlanta) was originally named after Martha Lumpkin Compton, the daughter of Georgia Gov. Wilson Lumpkin. According to Thomas H. Martin, one of the builders of Atlanta, the people wanted a “bigger” name than Marthasville.

Some believe that the city is named after the goddess Atlanta, and others came to believe that it was the middle name of Martha Lumpkin Compton. The reality is much simpler: The name was suggested by J. Edgar Thomson, chief engineer of the Georgia railroad, when he was asked to come up with a name for the city he said: “Eureka—Atlanta, the terminus of the Western and Atlantic Railroad—Atlantic masculine, Atlanta feminine—a coined word, and if you think it will suit, adopt it.”

Atlanta from the Ashes

The Phoenix (Atlanta from the Ashes) is a bronze sculpture located at Woodruff Park, Downtown Atlanta. The monument symbolizes Atlanta’s rise from the ashes of the Civil War to become one of the most important cities in the US.

The monument designed in 1969 by James Siegler, sculpted and fabricated in Italy, by Gamba Quirino, and Feruccia Vezzoni to honor the first Rich’s Department store on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The sculpture was moved to Woodruff Park in 1995.

The sculpture is an iconic symbol of Atlanta’s rise from out the ashes: It depicts a phoenix lifting a woman from flames, just like Atlanta rose from the ashes after being burned to the ground during the Civil War.