A Monument to Advancement: Atlanta City Hall


Atlanta City Hall, 2016

Right across the street from the Georgia State Capitol, Atlanta City Hall has undergone a transformation. The addition of trees and green space surrounding the City Hall is not the only change the city of Atlanta has undergone since the government building opened in 1930. In 1989, a new annex was added to the building as well. As is, the structure,

Atlanta City Hall, 1967

located on Mitchell Street, “looks like a city hall,” as noted by one of my fellow observers. The adjacent blocks are dominated by government buildings and historic churches, many of which have played major roles in shaping the built environment over the decades.

The third and longest occupied of Atlanta’s city halls, the current city hall was built as a monument to advancement as Atlanta settled into its role as the hub of business and commerce of the South. Today it houses meetings, offices, and public services. The outside is almost serene in its beauty with statues and lush grass, and the block is quiet during the afternoon. Across the street, a couple of students hang are standing in front of the pizza restaurant, and a few homeless people sit on the stone wall beside Trinity United Methodist Church, an organization that was a key player in the development of the area. Thimg_2027e inside is equally quiet. As I chatted with a security guard about obtaining permission to takeimg_2023 photos, I was astounded by the elegance of the lobby. Ornate pillars held up the gilded ceilings and images of phoenixes, the symbol of Atlanta, emblazoned every appropriate surface. In 1966, Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. brought both national football and baseball teams to Atlanta, and the lobby showcases the first two game balls from each sport. Their display is a symbol of the economic prosperity introduced by one of Atlanta’s most popular and well-known mayors.

Trinity Street Annex, Interior

Shorty after the addition of the annex in 1989, the need for more parking for additional employees sparked some controversy. For economic reason, the City of Atlanta wanted to hire private developers to construct parking garages over the two existing parking lots and install mixed income housing developments in the area surrounding City Hall. Central Atlanta Progress (CAP), a downtown civic group, protested. I observed a handful of parallel parking spaces in front of the building, and an apartment complex across the street, along with the pizza restaurant and a few other businesses. There appears to have been a compromise between the two proposals for parking–one still exists while the other was converted into retail space and apartments. This area, like Atlanta, is constantly developing in order to maximize economic benefit, and City Hall is undoubtedly the hub of all such decisions. 

U.S. Mail Chute

Thiimg_2028s U.S. mail chute is located inside the City Hall next to the elevator bank. Clearly part of a larger system, its ends disappear into the the ceiling and the floor. This door to the chute didn’t open, but there must be one on a higher floor that does, since there was trash stuck in it. I thought this was noteworthy because this is the second chute I’ve seen in my BED observations. The first was in the atrium o the Healey Building, again directly next to the elevator bank.

Atlanta Gazette Newspaper Box

Thiimg_2001s Atlanta Gazette newspaper box sits outside the City Hall on Mitchell Street. Although there’s no date on it, the box appears to be fairly old and is a relic of a past Atlanta. It appears to have been vandalized and cleaned off, which indicates to me that it is of some relative value, but it wouldn’t open and there was no clues as to why is remains there.

Atlanta’s First Major League Baseball


Atlanta’s first major league baseball is one of only a few items on display in the City Hall atrium. The baseball commemorates the Braves’s first game in Atlanta after moving from Milwaukee. This artifact is clearly very important to the city, and it sits on a pedestal by one of the doors.
Fun fact: in a shocking turn of events, the Braves lost the game.

First National League Football


One of the few objects on display in the City Hall atrium is the first football. This object looks used. Dirty hand prints are visible on the surface, which makes it seem more authentic. It was presented to Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr. in 1966, the same year the Braves came to Atlanta and sits opposite the baseball that commemorates their first game.
Fun fact: In another shocking turn of events, the Falcons lost the game.


Memorial Plaque


This metal plaque was one of the first things I saw upon entering City Hall. Even before stepping in the atrium this tablet greets guests in the entryway. It depicts a soldier holding a tablet shield emblazoned with the words “patriotism” and “devotion” and, like most of the artifacts in the City Hall, commemorates a specific event. In this case, the explosion of the U.S. Maine.