Downtown's Nucleus, Centennial, Wasn't Always a Park

July 30,2015


In this series, Adventures In Mapping, we dig through historic Sanborn fire maps of the city — drawn between 1886 and 1922 — to uncover secrets behind some of Atlanta's most prominent places. Comparing relatively ancient maps to those of today, we'll see just how much neighborhoods have changed and trace the rise and demise of buildings and streets as we go. Along the way, we'll point out quirky aspects of the city's evolution and highlight not only what we've lost through the years, but what we've managed to save and gain. In honor of the 19th anniversary of the Olympics in Atlanta, let's have a look back at the area now known as Centennial Olympic Park.

Today, Centennial Olympic Park is unrivaled as the cultural tourist hub of the city. Surrounded by the World of Coca-Cola, Georgia Aquarium, College Football Hall of Fame, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the Atlanta Children's Museum, the Tabernacle, SkyView Atlanta and the CNN Center, it's a magnet for visitors seeking some of the city's biggest attractions.

And it's not just tourists, as locals come out to participate in ice skating in the winter, concerts on the lawn and other civic-scaled events throughout the year. Not to mention all that splashing around.