Actual Factual Georgia

If you’re new in town or have questions about this special place we call home, ask us! E-mail Andy Johnston at q&a@ajc.com or call 404-222-2002.

Q: I was thinking about visiting the Cyclorama this summer. Can you tell me more about it? What’s its story?

A: The Cyclorama took a circuitous path to become one of only two remaining Civil War paintings of its kind and one of our state’s most famous and endearing attractions. The painting is huge, measuring 42 feet tall with a circumference of 358 feet, and depicts a part of the Battle of Atlanta, which took place throughout the neighborhoods now known as East Atlanta, Kirkwood, Inman Park and Reynoldstown, among others, on July 22, 1864. It was painted in the 1880s, and like a rock star, went on a tour of large cities. It came to Atlanta in 1892 and was moved to Grant Park the next year, where it’s stayed, moving to its current building in 1921, the Cyclorama’s web site (atlantacyclorama.org) states. “I think that painting is one of greatest Civil War artifacts we have in the country. I can’t emphasize that strongly enough,” Gordon Jones, the senior military curator at the Atlanta History Center, said in a phone interview. “There were dozens of these large paintings after the Civil War. There are only two mounted now. One at Gettysburg and one in Atlanta. They were a huge craze in the 1880s because it was the way people remembered the war. It was the popular entertainment of the time, and ours is really significant. Who else has one of these things? Nobody.” The Cyclorama and adjacent Civil War museum are hosting several events this spring and summer to mark Atlanta’s 150th anniversary of the series of battles between Gen. William T. Sherman’s Union forces and Gen. John B. Hood’s Confederates around Atlanta and ensuing bombardment and burning of the city in 1864. These include presentations, lectures and family events. For more information, go to the website, send an email to info@atlantacyclorama.org or call 404-658-7625.