Civil War Sites In Atlanta
If you want to see some Civil War sites in the city of Atlanta, here's a little help.
For many people interested in the Civil War, the burning of Atlanta is one of the first things that come to mind. And indeed, General Sherman's destruction of the city was so complete that not a single building stands that existed during the war. Nonetheless, there are many war-related sites to see for those with a little perseverance and imagination.
Many people find Gone With the Wind synonymous with the Civil War-if you're one of them, you won't want to miss the Margaret Mitchell House (990 Peachtree Street Atlanta, GA 30309), where the author wrote her famous novel. Affectionately referred to as The Dump, the former apartment building has been renovated and provides tours continuously from 9am to 4pm seven days a week. (They are, however, closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's Day and Thanksgiving Day.) The Museum Shop provides plenty of opportunity to add to your GWTW collection (or start one). Once a year, Bohemian Nights are held, with spoken word performances by well-known authors. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, and $7 for children 6-11 years old. The house is ADA compliant and parking is free. If that only whets your appetite, you can check out the Margaret Mitchell Collection at the downtown Atlanta Public Library at One Margaret Mitchell Square.
While you're in downtown, take a look at Underground Atlanta (At the corner of Alabama Street and Old Alabama Street). These storefronts are some of the oldest structures in the city, dating from 1870-1880. There are shops and restaurants, and two dozen historical markers, including information on the Zero Mile Post, Transfer of Command. Nearby is the Capitol, with a good many historical markers of its own, commenting on the Battle of Atlanta, Siege of Atlanta, Evacuation, and March to the Sea. The city's only equestrian statue is also there, memorializing John B Gordon, a Confederate general who later became governor. The Capitol is located at 206 Washington Street. The Capitol is open daily. 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday, 10am to 4 pm Saturday, and 12 to 4 on Sunday, with guided tours available on weekdays.
Atlanta City Hall, at 69 Mitchell Street now stands on the grounds of the former John Neal home, where General Sherman held headquarters after the surrender of Atlanta.
The First United Methodist Church on 360 Peachtree Street was organized in 1848. In 1864, the church bells tolled out a warning to the citizens of the approach of Sherman. The structure contains the original pews, stained glass windows, iron fencing and the pulpit from the first church. (The church was moved and rebuilt in 1903-the Candler building now occupies the original location).
The Georgia State Archives Building at 330 Capital Avenue contains historical documents on display and for research purposes.
One mile east of downtown, Oakland Cemetary was the original public cemetery in Atlanta, growing from 8 to its present 88 acres. Interestingly, this location was chosen as being far out of town. Bobby Jones, Bishop Wesley Gaines, and Margaret Mitchell are buried here, as are slaves and statesmen. A portion of the cemetery is devoted to the Confederate dead, with nearly 3,000 soldiers buried here. Twenty Union soldiers are interned nearby. In the northern section of the cemetery is a marker noting where General John Hood watched the Battle of Atlanta. There is a 90 minute tour available March through October for a small fee, but you are free to browse on your own (a $1 map may be of some help). The cemetery is located at 248 Oakland Avenue SE, Atlanta, GA 30372
Grant Park (800 Cherokee Avenue) is not named for the Union General, but for Colonel Lemael P. Grant, a Maine native that made Atlanta his home and served in the Confederate Army as an engineer. He donated the 100 acres around his home to the city for use as a park. Located in the park is the Cyclorama, the world's largest painting (50 feet high and more than 400 feet in circumference). The painting depicts the Battle of Atlanta, and has undergone restoration and embellishment through the years, including the addition of three-dimensional figures in the foreground, and one figure re-painted to look like Clark Gable. The exhibit is open from 9:30 to 4:30 everyday, and is $5 for adults, $3.00 for children.
Tanyard Creek Park, on West Collier Road, has many markers explaining the significance of this land in the movement of troops during the Battle of Atlanta. More markers about this battle exist on Peachtree Battle Avenue.
Turning Point: The American Civil War is on permanent display at the DuBose Gallery in the Atlanta History Center (130 West paces Ferry Road NW Atlanta, GA 30305). Featuring 1400 objects, including cannns, uniforms, and photographs. Display maps, videos, and touch screen computer learning stations combine to make this an interactive experience for all ages. The Atlanta History Center also offers a look at plantation life in the working Tullie Smith Plantation. Built in the 1830's, it was outside the city limits of Atlanta during the war, and thus escaped. Beginning in 1969, the house and outbuildings were moved to their current location on the Center's grounds. A farmhouse, blacksmith shop, smokehouse, barn, gardens are all working and staffed by costumed interpreters available to answer your questions. Tours are available every half hour from 11:15 to 4:15 (on Sundays the tours begin at 1:15).
The Samuel House Plantation is located at the intersection of Peachtree Road and Ashford Dunwoody Road. This house was used as Sherman's headquarters July 18-19, 1864. The red bricks of the house were made on site by plantation slaves.
Marietta's Square is a lovely place for tourists to visit, but only the Kennesaw House is antebellum. This house was used by Sherman shortly after the Battle for Kennesaw Mountain. The second floor of the building is the Marietta Museum of History, and is open 11am to 4pm Tuesday through Saturday. Fair Oaks (505 Kennesaw Avenue) was the headquarters of Joseph Johnston during the Battle for Kennesaw Mountain. Now belonging to the Marietta Garden Club, it is open to the public from 10am to 2pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday. The First Presbyterian Church on 189 Church Street was built in 1854. The church's second floor was for slaves attending services with their owners. The church was used as a hospital during the war.
Georgia's number one attraction, however, is Stone Mountain Park, with a Mount Rushmore like carving on granite of Confederate generals. There is also a plantation to visit, among the other attractions available at the park.