A change − or many changes−have certainly come to Atlanta over the last several years.
The leaders, faces and places that signify what the ATL is all about have, in some cases, disappeared, but they hold a special place in the hearts of those who recall them.
Below, you’ll find a curated selection of some legendary elements of Atlanta that are long gone.
1. Georgia Dome - The backdrop for two Super Bowls, dozens of SEC Championship games and countless gridiron plays by the Atlanta Falcons stood for the last time on Nov. 20, 2017. The Georgia Dome debuted in 1992 as the world’s largest cable-supported domed stadium. The Mercedes-Benz Stadium would take its place when it opened adjacent to the Dome’s former spot in August 2017.
2. Carver's Country Kitchen - The Southern-fried Atlanta staple closed in 2013 with plans to open shop just blocks away, but owners opted to sell it instead. The West Midtown spot is now an events ticketing site.
3. Omni Coliseum: The arena, often called The Omni, hosted everyone from Elvis Presley to Chuck Berry to Michael Jackson. It was demolished in 1997 to make way for Phillips Arena.
4. Rich's department store, downtown - The beloved store was synonymous with Atlanta shopping from 1867 until it was acquired by Macy’s in 2005. The department store was also the home of the now legendary Pink Pig holiday tradition.
5. Ramblin' Raft Race - In 1969, a group of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity members at Georgia Tech spearheaded the Memorial Day weekend raft race on the Chattahoochee River, which eventually drew as many as 300,000 participants and spectators. Amid rising concern about the environmental impact, the race was canceled in 1980.
6. William Hartsfield: Atlanta’s longest-serving mayor (six terms) died in 1971. Serving Atlanta for a total of 23 years, Hartsfield guided his hometown through the Depression and the emerging Civil Rights era.
7. 88.5/WRAS-FM daytime - Despite protests from listeners and students, in 2014, Georgia Public Broadcasting took over Georgia State University’s beloved radio station WRAS-FM/88.5 FM from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. to fill those hours with news radio. The station had been on the air since 1971.
8. Amanda Davis - The Emmy award-winning journalist was a renowned presence on Atlanta local news for more than 30 years on WAGA-TV and CBS 46. She died suddenly in 2017 at the age of 62.
9. Burkhart’s Pub - A longtime fixture of Atlanta’s LGBTQ nightlife scene, Burkhart’s shuttered its doors in early 2018. The closure came weeks after the bar’s former owner Palmer Marsh came under fire for racially-charged Facebook posts that resurfaced from 2015. In spring 2018, the owners of Midtown spot Oscar’s announced they plan to reopen the bar under a new name.
10. Atlanta Fulton County Stadium: Before the Ted, Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium was home to the Atlanta Braves until it was demolished in 1997.
11. Maynard Jackson, Jr.: Atlanta’s first African-American mayor died in 2003. The pioneer is buried in Oakland Cemetery. In 2018, the documentary on his life, “Maynard,” received international critical acclaim.
12. Equitable Building (original): Atlanta’s first skyscraper was built in 1892, and demolished in 1971 to make way for the city’s newly emerging, modern skyline.
13. Ponce de Leon Park: The ballpark was home to the Atlanta Crackers from 1907 until it was demolished in 1966. The site is now the backdrop for the popular Ponce City Market shop and eat destination.
14. Tales of the Okefenokee Swamp ride: The Six Flags Over Georgia ride debuted in 1967 and featured scenes from Uncle Remus stories. When vandalism and maintenance proved too big a challenge, the park dismantled the ride in 1980.
15. Buckhead Village club scene: The eight acres of clubs and bars used to be the heart of Atlanta night life, but a deadly brawl outside Cobalt in 2000 involving the entourage of former Baltimore Raven Ray Lewis encouraged city leaders to put the kibosh on the raucous scene.
16. Macy’s department store, downtown: When it was built in 1927 (known as Davison's until 1986), it was the largest department store in the Southeast, but eventually closed its doors in 2003.
17. Georgia 400 toll plazas: Since the 400 extension opened in 1993, drivers had complained about the 50 cent toll. But, in 2013, collection ended and the toll plazas were torn down.
18. Atlanta Thrashers: Although the NHL franchise had a relatively short stint in the city (1999 – 2011), the team left a lasting impression on fans.
19. Here to Serve restaurants: In October 2015, the conglomerate shut down 10 of Atlanta’s most popular restaurants, including Prime, Smash, Strip and Twist. About 1,000 employees were left confused and unemployed.
20. Greenwood’s - Farm-to-table spot Greenwood’s was known for its fried chicken and other Southern dishes. It opened in Roswell in 1986, but it closed, along with its sister eatery, Swallow at the Hollow, in December 2017.
21. Airport “Spirit” mural -The sizable mural of a girl with outstretched arms and children splashing around in the Centennial Olympic Park fountains at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was covered by an ad for Porsche in 2016.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.