An orator claimed for it the signification of "a city among the hills" while a writer has declared that it was the opposite of "rus in urbe" ("country in the city") and proclaimed it "'the city in the woods".
Since then, the city has known numerous nicknames. Today, The ATL, The A, and Hotlanta are the most prevalent.
- Hotlanta, for its hot weather or its exciting nightlife, or both
- The ATL, for its airport code
- The A: It is used in local media such as Only in the A, a video channel shown on MARTA rapid transit trains in Atlanta and Straight from the A, a popular Atlanta-based blog targeted at African Americans. "The A" or "da A" is also used in hip hop and rap songs such as Ludacris and Lloyd's "How We Do It (in da A)", Lil Scrappy's "The A", and T.I.'s "In da A". Atlanta newspaper Creative Loafing listed as one of its "reasons to love Atlanta" that it's "the only city easily identified by just one letter".
- Black mecca
- City in a Forest or City of Trees, for its unique tree canopy
- The Big Peach
- Dogwood City
- Gate City, Gate City of the South, or Gate City of the New South (from Reconstruction through the early 20th century)
- New York of the South (1870s–1890s)
- Chicago of the South (1880s–1900s) - for Atlanta's "new men, new industries, new buildings, and new spirit" - though it was often remarked that the nickname was not quite accurate in terms of the size of Atlanta vs. the much larger Chicago
- The City Too Busy to Hate (during Jim Crow and the Civil Rights struggle)
- Dogwood City
- Convention City of Dixie (Land) (1910s–1920s)
Nicknames of other Atlanta areas
- SWATS, The S.W.A.T.S., or S.W.A.T.S. ("Southwest Atlanta, too strong") is, in street, hip-hop, or local contexts, Southwest Atlanta, plus territory extending into the adjacent cities of College Park and East Point. The term "SWATS" came into vogue around 1996, and was initially made popular by LaFace Records artist OutKast and Goodie Mob. This was the same time that "ATL" became popular as a nickname for Atlanta as a whole.
- De Bow's review, Volume 27
- "Love it or loathe it, the city's nickname is accurate for the summer", Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 16, 2008
- Google cache of "Love it or loathe it, the city's nickname is accurate for the summer", Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 16, 2008
- DoubleClick Ad Checker by Google
- "Because we're the only city easily identified by just one letter", Creative Loafing, November 23, 2011
- See article Black mecca for extensive references
- Google News Archive search for "A-Town + Atlanta"
- "Atlanta May No Longer Be the City in a Forest", WSB-TV
- Karen K. Snyder (2007), Frommer's Atlanta, page 3
- U.S. City Monikers, Tagline Guru website, accessed January 5, 2008
- "The Democrats Atlanta: A City of Changing Slogans", ‘‘Time’’ magazine, July 25, 1988
- "Our Quiz Column", Sunny South, p.5
- Rebecca Burns (2009), Rage in the Gate City: The Story of the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot, University of Georgia Press, ISBN 0-8203-3307-7.
- Sources documented on Barry Popik's Big Apple blog:
- 5 October 1872, Appletons' Journal of Literature, Science and Art, pg. 376: "Marvellous tales are told of this antique period in the history of the present "New York of the South," concerning acres upon acres of land, near the heart of the city, selling for fifty cents per acre, but which now are worth a snug little fortune. Such was Atlanta less than three decades ago."
- 17 June 1879, Daily Constitution (Atlanta, GA), pg. 4: "...the future New York of the south - as it was predicted at the opening of the Port Royal railroad in 1873."
- 6 July 1881, New York Times, pg. 4: "The New-Orleans Democrat says that that city is the New-York of the South, and yet has no public library."
- 29 January 1884, Atlanta Constitution, pg. 4: "The New York of the South. From the New York Tribune: THE ATLANTA CONSTITUTION draws a sad picture of its environment. "Within one hundred yards of the officer," is its plaintive mean, "wagons are literally up to the hub in mud. Part of Ellis street, in a quarter mile of the depot, is literally impassable." Assuming that our contemporary's account of these wagons and this streets is literally correct, it looks as if Atlanta was likely to be known as the New York of the south."
- 12 November 1891, Atlanta Constitution, pg. 4: "Atlanta is a grand city. It is the New York of the south, and henceforth it can get the finest attractions produced, for its patronage is sufficient to make the very best and most expensive show a financial success."
- 21 October 1892, Atlanta Constitution, pg. 5: "Work will cease altogether and the New York of the south will pay honor to the brave navigator, who in spite of the hardships he had to endure, pointed out a new land to the ignorant people of the time."
- 19 January 1895, Atlanta Constitution, pg. 4: "Cedartown Standard: Atlanta aspires to be the New York of the south - in fact, she is, and so it is perfectly natural that she should follow New York in having the big police scandal and investigation that is now on hand
- "Proceedings of the annual convention", National Association of Life Underwriters, Life Underwriters Association of Canada
- The American South: a history, Volume 2 by William J. Cooper, Jr.
- Urban America: a history with documents
- History, on City of Atlanta website
- Ron French, Atlanta: Black-white gap shrinks, The Detroit News, January 28, 2002
- "The Democrats Atlanta: A City of Changing Slogans", Time magazine, July 25, 1988
- "Whatever Happened to Georgia's Downtown Hotels?", Georgia History Today
- The Rotarian, Jun 1916, p. 497
- "Revolution Rock: Atlanta's Goodie Mob fight for truth, justice, but not necessarily the American Way", Vibe, June-July 1998
- S.W.A.T.S. Web television series YouTube channel
- Mickey Hess, Hip Hop in America: East Coast and West Coast
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