Actual Factual Georgia

Q: On the seal of the City of Atlanta, there are two years: 1847 and 1865. Atlanta was incorporated on Dec. 29, 1847, but what about 1865? The city was burned in November 1864. Is there a particular date and event in 1865 that marks the rebuilding of Atlanta that the seal refers to?

—Cynthia Rintye, Atlanta

A: Let's seal the deal on this interesting inquiry – 1865 is in reference to the end of the Civil War, city officials say. But the seal offers much more. The rising Phoenix image symbolizes Atlanta rising from the ashes after Gen. Sherman's fiery visit. We couldn't leave this question alone, going a step further and finding that the word "Resurgens," which is Latin for resurrection or renewal, according to the University of Notre Dame's online Latin dictionary. Dana F. White says on the American Historical Association's website: "Sherman put Atlanta on the map: first he designated the city a strategic target; then he burned it to the ground. His exercise in 'total war' suggested fire as Atlanta's essential element. The city's rapid rebuilding seemed to presage ever new beginnings. 'Like the phoenix from the ashes' became Atlanta's municipal motto. The simple pledge 'Resurgens' is emblazoned on the city seal. This spirit is found in the city's ever-changing urban landscape, resulting from the city's spirit of tear down, build up; out with the old, in with the new. …" If you search Atlanta's seal online, you also may find a Southern fried version with the words "The Order of the Big Chicken" popping up, referring to the Marietta landmark.

Q: The vampires and zombies craze has hit Atlanta, with AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and The CW’s “Vampire Diaries” filming in the city. Are other TV shows taping here as well?

A: Georgia hasn't sold its soul, but it's definitely on the mind of actors, actresses, directors and crews connected with other TV series attracted to our Southern setting and financial incentives for filming. Lifetime's "Drop Dead Diva," "Auction Kings" on Discovery Channel and VH1's "Single Ladies" are giving Atlanta its small screen close-up. The werewolves aren't staying away either, with "Teen Wolf," shooting here for MTV. There's been a whopping 440 percent growth in TV, film or commercial production in Georgia between fiscal years 2007 and 2010, with a $1.4 billion economic impact. It's not enough to have a camera-ready setting and tax credits for production companies, but studios, including EUE/Screen Gems (in the former Lakewood Fairgrounds site), Raleigh Studios-Atlanta and Meddin Studios are causing more people to see Georgia as a place for (lights, camera and) action. That provides more opportunities to rub elbows with celebrities, as long as they don't want to drink our blood.

Q: I have several friends who live in BridgeMill in Cherokee County, and I always get lost in the giant neighborhood when I go to visit them. How big is it exactly?

A: Whether you're directionally challenged or not, this suburban neighborhood is massive and there's no embarrassment in having to turn around (just take our advice and ask for directions). BridgeMill in Canton has more than 2,700 homes, plus an 18-hole golf course, a 2-acre pool, 25 tennis courts and more than 150 acres of green space. Visit your friends; just make sure you take your GPS.

What do you want to know?

If you’re new in town or just have questions about this special place we call home, ask us! E-mail Lori Johnston at q&