In 1969, an Atlanta landmark (re)opened that served the city’s residents food and drinks at more than a dozen saloons and restaurants, and it all happened underground.
Of course, the image above is an advertisement for Underground Atlanta, dating back to 1970, one year after the district opened for the second time. By the time the restaurants began serving patrons, one building at the entrance of the district had already turned 100 years old.
Dating back to the Reconstruction Era, the Georgia Railroad freight depot – the oldest building in the city of Atlanta – remains standing where visitors enter Underground Atlanta. Built in 1869 to replace the train depot destroyed by the Union Army, only the bottom floor of the structure remains, the other two destroyed by a fire.
(More #TBT: Atlantic Steel, 1994)
In the years that followed, stores and bars moved in and set up shop, and during the Prohibition Era, some owners turned a handful of the basements into speakeasies. But from the 1920s to the 1960s, this area was largely abandoned, and the businesses went elsewhere.
In 1969, business returned in a big way, and for decades, Underground Atlanta was a hot spot for entertainment and nightlife. In recent years, interest has floundered in the historic district, and despite rumors that a revitalization may occur soon, funding has been hard to come by.
Here’s another ad Atlanta residents might have seen back in 1970:
Images via Atlanta Time MachineFollow @Sean_Breslin