How Atlanta got its name

Atlanta was named by J. Edgar Thomson, Chief Engineer of the Georgia Railroad. The city was named for former Governor Wilson Lumpkin’s daughter’s. Her middle name was Atalanta, after the fleet-footed goddess.

Early settlers called the area Canebreak or Canebrake. In 1835, the federal government recognized the area with the Whitehall Post Office. Hardy Ivy was an early citizen and it was on his property that Stephen Long established the end of the Western and Atlantic Railroad. Colonel Abbott Hall Brisbane, Chief Engineer of the W&A named the area Terminus in September, 1837. The name Terminus was never an official name and between 1837 and 1842 the area was also called Deanville (for Lemuel Dean) and Thrasherville (for John J. Thrasher).

In 1842 former governor Wilson Lumpkin, then president of the W&A suggested either the name Lumpkin or Mitchell for the town (Samuel Mitchell had given land to build the actual terminus). On December 23, 1842, the tiny town was incorporated as Marthasville in honor of his daughter, Martha Atalanta.