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Photo TR: Hail Atlanta

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My dad and I just got back from a long weekend in Atlanta, and despite the relatively small number of things we did, I ended up with a lot of good stories and great photos. As usual, I thought some TPRers might enjoy the end result (even if it didn't include Six Flags), though after the weekend I'm pretty tired, so in a rare instance, I'll be posting in installments. Let's begin, shall we?


So now we have a question. Tomorrow, the answer.


The founder of Chick-Fil-A paid for this one... and the plaque in front that said so!


And this thing....


Atlanta has lots of pointless outdoor sculptures, as well. Like these crudely painted baseballs commemorating the 2000 All-Star Game.


Maybe this is why: The viaducts that now comprise the Underground were built after automobile traffic began impeding railroad traffic in Atlanta. Once the infrastructure was completed, the trains were able to run underground while the cars (and businesses) operated above on what we know as today's Atlanta.




The Underground sure does have a lot of fake trains....


Apparently Vivica A. Fox was in town the same night I was! Coincidence? Yep.


Sugarhill, yo.


The alley is named for this bronze fellow, P.J. Kenny, a long-ago barkeep.


Kenny's Alley is an offshoot of the Underground, consisting of a few restaurants, a few hip-hop clubs and a lot of empty storefronts.


An authentic 1915 automobile in front of a fake 1950s restaurant! This is where we ended up eating dinner our second (and final) night in Atlanta. Unfortunate when you consider we later discovered there was a Waffle House a block away and some of the world's best barbecue within walking distance. But more on that later.


One thing the Underground did have, besides gangs and transients, was a lot of really nice antique cars.


They also make a lot of pralines. These were at the Underground's Southern Candy Co.


Fun fact: People in Atlanta drink a lot of Coke!


Slabs like this commemorate the businesses that once inhabited this section. This was one of the few where a transient hadn't made his home for the night.


Actually, it's made to resemble Atlanta in the early 1900s. Back when this "underground" section of the city was actually on the surface. Kind of like the mutant world on "Futurama."


Next stop: Underground Atlanta. You want immersive environments? The whole thing is made to resemble an authentic southern ghetto. The theming was so good, I actually felt like I was going to be mugged!


Speaking of Olympic signs, why, it's a torch at the Georgia Tech stadium, right across the street from the Varsity!


This would be what I look like taking a picture of the Varsity's outdated 80th anniversary sign. But then, it seems like all of Atlanta is living in the past somehow. There are still signs everywhere for the 1996 Olympics. And don't even get me started on the Civil War (mostly because we're saving that for later).


We both tried the "Frozen Orange," which is kind of like an orange Slush Puppie with half the syrup already gone. But the real sweet treat was the fried pies!


Once we finally got the food, 20 minutes after placing our order (so much for the reviews I read that named "efficiency" as one of the Varsity's prime virtues), it was pretty good. My dad briefly worked at an onion ring factory in the '70s and said the Varsity's rings tasted just like the ones coming right off the line did back then.


At the Varsity, all the order-takers are required to greet customers with the phrase, "What'll ya have, what'll ya have?" Which, judging from their tone and body language, is Atlantaese for, "What the hell are you doing here? You expect ME to wait on YOU? Fat chance! You want service, go to McDonald's."


This is your 2009 Varsity menu.


First order of the afternoon was an early dinner at the famous Varsity drive-in. Or rather getting to the famous Varsity drive-in. A transient named Leon saw us looking at the map and offered to guide us there. Once the adventure was over (and indeed it was an adventure--this was something I and I'm sure he had never done before), my dad gave him two bucks. Leon stormed off with a comment about how that wouldn't even buy him a meal at McDonald's.


This was where we stayed, the "Wheel of Fortune" hotel. I'd like to solve the puzzle! Sadly, things weren't much better inside.


Wow, is that Harry Potter's flying car zooming past the Hard Rock Cafe? Er... no. No, it's not.


You know, Hartsfield-Jackson Airport really should think about calling the exterminators about those giant ants.... Actually, it's some sort of odd modern scupture called "Brute Neighbors" by Joe Peragine.

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Great pictures of The Varsity!!


I have fond memories. Back in 07 myself and a friend went to Atlanta for a concert and to party. The next day we hit up SFoG. I remember talking with a local in the line for Deja Vu and he asked where we were going for dinner. We'll we didn't know Atlanta so he said, "The Varsity, you gotta go there. It's the place to go!" So we went and had a Good time there, ate some of those rings! Really fun, I have the T-Shirt to prove it!!


Anyway, thanks for the pics!!

Good Times!!!

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I don't know why everyone hates ATL Airport, I love the setup, I find it efficient and awesome every time I go through!


And of course I prefer New Orleans Cafe du Monde, but when in Atlanta it was at least nice to get some Beignets!!!

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Sorry to disappoint everyone, but there were no beignets to be had at the Underground. Or if there was a Cafe du Monde there, I missed it entirely (and if there was one and I did miss it, I'm really hating myself right now).


The ants are indeed over the baggage claim area. Personally, I think it would be way cooler if they were wired for sound and had random, yet vaguely informative conversations with each other.


"Hey, Dinky, I think that guy in the funny hat over there just slipped a four-ounce bottle of nasal spray past security in his quart-sized Ziploc bag. Everyone knows the limit is three ounces for liquids and gels. Better call the air marshal!"

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^LOL, that would be great.


I forgot to say what I thought about the Underground. My only visit to Atlanta was in 2004 over Thanksgiving. My sister kept telling me about haveing to checkout the Underground. Personally, I don't get it. There is a lot of transients and people I wouldn't want to run into in a dark alley. The shops are so-so also. I don't think they would last very long downtown if they weren't in the tourist trap. The cool thing about my visit there is there were a couple of guys who played in the Negro leagues taking pics and talking to people. They had some great stories of when they played, and guys like Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige.

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I make sugar free beignets, and they're just as good as regular ones (thank you Splenda!).


Honestly, though, Atlanta and New Orleans are two cities that I'd like to visit at some point. This was a very nice, interesting TR.



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I don't know why everyone hates ATL Airport, I love the setup, I find it efficient and awesome every time I go through!

Me too! Beats the crap out of LAX and having 7 concourses without a train! Not bad for the busiest airport in the world


Underground is so lame these days. All the action is now in Midtown, Buckhead and some other places east of the city (Little 5 Points, Decatur etc). Downtown is just a dying mess.


I've never waited more than a couple mins at the V either, even when they are serving thousands of meals per hour during Tech football games. The food is hard to stomach for me though so I avoid it if possible



Hope the trip was overall enjoyable.

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I love the layout of the Atlanta airport.


You don't have to take the tram but it is a long walk otherwise. I did the walk it back in December because I was 2 hours early for flight. Of course my flight was on Sunday and Chic-Fil-A was closed so no need to wait in the main concourse.


I do get a kick out of the number of down and out people in Atlanta who will walk tourists to any location for a tip.


I also found the Underground to be unimpressive, and I still have not made it to the Varsity.

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Ahh the joys of the Atlanta airport. Racing from concourse to concourse to make connecting flights, transports that used to have robotic sounding voices that made little kids say "Mommy! It's Darth Vader!", etc.


Been a long time since touring the Underground and still cool to see it. Looking forward to the rest of this TR. Off to a good start.

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Thanks for all the positive feedback. I know we have at least one person waiting for this portion of the TR, so we'll jump right into... the World of Coca-Cola!


This is what the World of Coca-Cola used to look like. However, in an attempt to keep up with the times and fit in with much of the rest of Atlanta by leaving big gaping empty buildings in high-traffic areas, the Coke people wised up and decided to move to...


Between the two monoliths was a scenic view of the downtown area. Admittedly, it looks a lot better from afar than it does up close.


And thus ends part two. Join us tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion of our three-part series!


Outside the World of Coca-Cola was the Georgia Aquarium, which we didn't visit. It had a Titanic display similar to (or maybe it was the same one) the one we saw in Las Vegas a few years ago.


And there they are! Each one was embossed with the regular Coca-Cola logo and the words "Coca-Cola World" beneath it. While we, as collectors, would rather have kept ours full, we had only carry-ons, which prohibited us from carrying full six-ounce bottles on the plane. So we bought a bottle opener at Underground Atlanta (which we also had to throw away because it was attached to a knife) and drank them that night.


For the record, they tasted like Coke.


Those Cokes from the bottling plant are headed toward their final destination....


Under the big Coke bottle were the company's most common U.S. beverages, including Vanilla Coke, which I really like (or used to before I had to cut out large amounts of caffeine for health reasons), but rarely see anymore.


No further explanation necessary.


These two from Japan were my favorites. I've had Vegita Beta plenty of times at Epcot; the other was new to me. If they sold these drinks in the United States, I alone would totally make it worth their while!


I love that Fanta has a "Magic" flavor!


This one tasted vaguely like a Disneyland mint julep.


Simba tasted more like bubblegum than lions.


This was the Latin American selection.


Ah, we finally reach Xanadu. Here, 64 of Coke's most popular flavors from around the world await, ours for the tasting in fountains like these.


Obligatory 3-D glasses shot!


Moving on, there was also a 4-D show. Because the world doesn't have enough of those. In this one, a wacky scientist and documentary reporter searched for the secret ingredient that makes Coke so good. Turns out it's you and me (and no, still not making that up).


No? OK, then what about a Coke can car?


How about a Coke bottle cap box, for example? Or a nice bottle cap snake?


Presenting the exhibit on crap made out of Coke and Coke accessories (no really).


And then there was the New Coke display. The product lasted for exactly 79 days. I don't really remember it myself, but I know it was good. Why? Because Max Headroom said so!


Then there was the Coke pop culture museum, which included Haddon Sundblom's original painting of Santa Claus, intended as an advertisement for Coke. Most cultural historians credit this painting for cementing the appearance of Santa as most people in the United States know him today.


Only unlike the Hershey tour, this bottling plant was real, if kind of small. It bottles the souvenir Cokes given out at the end of the tour.


OK, so next up was the fake bottling plant kind of like Hershey's has the fake chocolate tour.


Maryland represent! So has anyone actually heard of this brand?


We always had one of these in our freezer when I was a kid.


Never heard of Florida Punch. I guess "Hawaii Punch" would have been too obvious.


Anyone besides me remember when Hi-C was packaged like this?


Of course, since the 1960s Coke has been more than just Coke. It has hundreds of different beverage products. These are some of them, nattily arranged.


This is why they call it Coca-Cola *World* people, not Coca-Cola Continent.


Trink Coke!


Coke in space! The cans on the right, outfitted with resealable Velcro tops, were sent into orbit in 1985. The fountain machine was used in later years on the space station. It had a spigot for regular Coke and one for diet.


Before the age of cans and re-sealable bottles, this is how Coke was sold at stadiums.


I also have a couple of cans from this display... but not the cone-top on the end! My dad would sell his first-born child (that's me) for one of those.


Unfortunately, while I do own a Coke machine from the 1970s, it was not among those on display at the museum :(


The earliest six-packs. My dad, who's a soda bottle and paraphernalia collector, actually has a couple of the items in this display.


This isn't a marketing item, but the gavel used at Coke board meetings for a number of decades. Board members gave Coke the best years of their lives. Coke gave them wood.


Another marketing item, but this one is a little more exquisite than the ones we saw earlier. Tiffany, anyone?


This bottle mold was designed to create a more refined version.


Ah, and then came the iconic Coke bottle design.


In other parts of the world, they came up with more unique ways of delivering Coke....


Traffic in a large city in Argentina hampered large panel trucks from making Coke deliveries on time, so the head of the bottling company there improvised with this truck.


Soon there were Coke bottling plants all over the United States--and most of the world. This is was one of the earliest ones in my home state.


The one thing Pemberton didn't think would work was putting Coke in bottles. He was so skeptical that he sold the bottling rights for just $1 to a man who invented this machine to perform the work. Each Coke had to be bottled individually to ensure the right mix of syrup, water and carbonation.


Once the Coke name really caught on, everyone wanted a piece of the brand, and Pemberton was more than happy to comply... for a rather large licensing fee. There was even a short-lived brand of Coca-Cola spearmint gum on the market at one point.


Early Coke syrup bottles. Yep!


...like this waffle maker, for instance! Actually, it's a sandwich press, and it wasn't authorized by the Coke company. An enterprising lunch counter owner realized he made a larger profit on Coke than all of his other soft drinks, so he used this to toast the sandwiches he would serve. He would then refrain from taking his customers' drink orders until after the sandwich was in front of them. Most of them, seeing the Coke logo on the bread, would be tempted to go ahead and order one. It was kind of not-so-subliminal advertising.


This display demonstrates how they would emblazon just about anything with the Coke logo for marketing purposes in the early years...


Which is how it wound up in places like this. This bronze representation (the last one in this TR, I promise) depicts Jacobs' Pharmacy in downtown Atlanta, the first establishment ever to sell Coke.


Of course, when he invented it, he invented it as a headache cure, sold in bottles like this....


This is John Pemberton--or rather a bronze representation of him. He invented Coke.


The Coke polar bear was all kinds of cool! His eyes blinked and his mouth moved. It all looked very, very real. Take that, Walt Disney Imagineering Living Character Initiative!


Next it was time to enter the Happiness Factory Theater. You know that animated Super Bowl commercial about what goes on inside a Coke machine? Imagine it goes on for 10 minutes and you have a rough idea of what this was like. And then you walk out and see this little furry rendition of Mick Jagger!


And the Coke Circus. Or Coke du Soleil, if you will.


This room contains lots of ancient treasures. Like this 1800s syrup urn.


Then your tour guide takes you into the Coke memorabilia room. It's Coca-licious!


In the lobby are giant painted Coke bottles. For a small fee, you can have your picture taken in front of them as if they were a Disney theme park castle (not making that up, unfortunately).


The new World of Coca-Cola about a quarter mile away!

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Oh no, they had people there closely monitoring each opening (there were three openings, I think). They even had a person at the exit who handed out little bottle-sized plastic drawstring bags so you could more easily carry your free Coke with you into the gift shop!

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We're in the home stretch! Enjoy the final installment.


Atlanta is full of public mementos from the 1996 Olympics, the largest and most notable being Centennial Park.


And finally, I leave you with this view of downtown Atlanta from our hotel room. I'm not sure what the building on the left with the V-oriented lights was, but at night the lights put on a multi-colored show, which was pretty cool.


Thanks for reading!


Finally, we found the MARTA station we were seeking and rode back downtown for dinner at Johnny Rocket's. Some of the station interiors were simple, with metal supports drilled into the face of the rocks that were blasted to create the tunnels. Others, like this one, were more ornate.


We also passed, but didn't go in, Oakland Cemetery, which supposedly had some of the best examples of 1800s gravestone architecture in the region.


...and Daddy D'z Bar-B-Q Joynt. I suggested perhaps we could eat here, but we decided it was in what looked like a less-than-desirable part of town, and we were slightly lost at the time. Turns out we really should have eaten there. A post-trip web search shows the Food Network has rated Daddy D'z one of the best independent barbecue restaurants in the South. All I know is, it sure smelled good!


During our walk back downtown we saw some cool-looking restaurants including Ria's Bluebird Diner...


The Cyclorama gift shop was small but awesome! Where else could you buy plush toys of Mary Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln and Harriet Tubman?


OK, by now I know you must be asking yourself, "What exactly is a Cyclorama, anyway?" The owned by the City of Atlanta, Cyclorama's main attraction is the largest painting in the world, which depicts the 1864 Battle of Atlanta. The 360-degree painting hangs around the perimeter of a large room with bleacher seats in the middle. The bleachers rotate and follow the painting as the story of the battle is told through narration and lighting effects. The painting has been on continuous exhibit in Atlanta since 1893 with the exception of periods from 1919-1921 when the current building was built and 1978-1982 when it was renovated.


No photos of the painting are allowed, unfortunately, so I had to borrow this photo of a small section of the work from the Cyclorama website.


It was no Epcot German train garden, but Cyclorama didn't leave out miniature rail enthusiasts, either.


For those who aren't familiar with American history or haven't seen the 1956 Walt Disney film based on the event, the Confederates did eventually catch the "General" before it reached its goal of Chattanooga, Tenn. Historians say had the "General" made it to Chattanooga, where much of the Confederacy's central supply was based, the Civil War could have been dramatically shortened.


Also, here's some wood. Have fun making up your own caption.


...but it didn't even begin to compare to this! Attention TPR rail fans! This is the "Texas," the southern engine that chased the larger "General" when the "General" was stolen by Union troops in an attempt to sabotage Confederate supply lines. Historically, this incident is known as the Great Locomotive Chase.


This restored Civil War ammunition caisson was one highlight of the museum...


"Two brothers on their way, one wore blue and one wore gray...."


...and the Confederacy.


First, a brief tour of the Civil War museum inside this mammoth building. In the interest of fairness, there are uniforms from both the Union...


Ah, but the real reason we were in Grant Park was to see Cyclorama.




It's the home of Zoo Atlanta (which we didn't enter).


...and some natural.


The park offers many scenic views, some of them man-made...


And... we're back! Coming to you live on film from Atlanta's Grant Park.



We now pause briefly to admire some beautiful southern architecture on the way to our next destination.


This... is CNN.


He's our hero! Word in the street is he's going to take pollution down to zero.


Know who this guy is? If you said Baron Pierre de Coubertin, father of the modern Olympics, you're right!


Bomb-free since 1997.

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The Coke bottle.....born in Terre Haute Indiana (the current bottle design). It was designed at the Root Glsss Company I believe. Sadly, the plant is no longer there or no longer a glass factory. The person who designed this was offered a 500 dollar bonus or a lifetime job with the glass company. He choose the lifetime job, which he was let go of in 1930 when the company was bought out.


Sorry for long quote. Came from wikipedia. Coke did have a prototype can that was similiar tot he bottle, but was limited to very little production and distrubution which included Terre Haute, Sadly, I don't remember htis, if I did, I drank it and threw the can out.


The equally famous Coca-Cola bottle, called the "contour bottle" within the company, but known to some as the "hobble skirt" bottle, was created in 1915 by bottle designer Earl R. Dean. In 1915, the Coca-Cola Company launched a competition among its bottle suppliers to create a new bottle for the beverage that would distinguish it from other beverage bottles, "a bottle which a person could recognize even if they felt it in the dark, and so shaped that, even if broken, a person could tell at a glance what it was."[39]


Chapman J. Root, president of the Root Glass Company, turned the project over to members of his supervisory staff, including company auditor T. Clyde Edwards, plant superintendent Alexander Samuelsson, and Earl R. Dean, bottle designer and supervisor of the bottle molding room. Root and his subordinates decided to base the bottle's design on one of the soda's two ingredients, the coca leaf or the kola nut, but were unaware of what either ingredient looked like. Dean and Edwards went to the Emeline Fairbanks Memorial Library and were unable to find any information about coca or kola. Instead, Dean was inspired by a picture of the gourd-shaped cocoa pod in the Encyclopædia Britannica, which Chapman Root approved as the model for the prototype.[39]



The prototype never made it to production since its middle diameter was larger than its base, making it unstable on conveyor belts.Faced with the upcoming scheduled maintenance of the mold-making machinery, over the next 24 hours Dean sketched and created the mold for the bottle. Dean then molded a small number of bottles before the glass-molding machinery was turned off.


Chapman Root approved the prototype bottle and a design patent was issued on the bottle in November, 1915. The bottle was chosen over other entries at the bottler's convention in 1916 and was on the market the same year. By 1920, Dean's contoured bottle became the standard for the Coca-Cola Company. Today, the contour Coca-Cola bottle is one of the world's most recognized packages on the planet..."even in the dark!".[40]


As a reward for his efforts, Dean was offered a choice between a $500 bonus or a lifetime job at the Root Glass Company. He chose the lifetime job and kept it until the Owens-Illinois Glass Company bought out the Root Glass Company in the mid-1930s. Dean went on to work in other Midwestern glass factories.



Dean reduced the middle diameter, creating the famed Contour Coca-Cola bottle.Although endorsed by some, this version of events is not considered authoritative by many who cite its implausibility as difficult to believe. One alternative depiction has Raymond Loewy as the inventor of the unique design, but, while Loewy did serve as a designer of Coke cans and bottles in later years, he was in the French Army the year the bottle was invented and did not migrate to the United States until 1919. Others have attributed inspiration for the design not to the cocoa pod, but to a Victorian hooped dress.[41]


In 1944, Associate Justice Roger J. Traynor of the Supreme Court of California took advantage of a case involving a waitress injured by an exploding Coca-Cola bottle to articulate the doctrine of strict liability for defective products. Traynor's concurring opinion in Escola v. Coca-Cola Bottling Co. is widely recognized as a landmark case in U.S. law today.[42]


In 1997, Coca-Cola also introduced a "contour can," similar in shape to its famous bottle, on a few test markets, including Terre Haute, Indiana.[43] However, the new can was never widely released.



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