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That Seventies City As calendars flipped to 1970, Atlanta had few traffic jams, three skyscrapers and virtually no smog.
There was no CNN Center. There was no CNN, either. Atlanta Municipal Airport had one cramped terminal and no international flights. Public transit was limited to buses..
Downtown rocked at night, as locals filled the city's popular clubs and taverns. The city lacked the facilities to compete for major conventions.
Segregationist Lester Maddox was governor. Yachtsman Ted Turner owned a thriving billboard empire and a ramshackle UHF station. Cobb and Gwinnett counties were still largely rural.
Atlanta's transformation in the '70s —from "The city too busy to hate" to "Hotlanta," from the Heart of Dixie to a mecca for black professionals — was breathless, and its growth stood in stark contrast to the nation's other urban centers.
Detroit lost nearly 40 percent of its industrial jobs that decade. New York skirted bankruptcy; nearly 1 million of its residents fled. Factories shut down across the Rust Belt. Crime and despair were rampant.
Atlanta's was a different story, at least in the early part of the decade.
Fueled by a surge of newcomers, a real estate boom pumped life into the economy. Opportunities drew the young and the ambitious; they brought with them the freewheeling values that typified the era. By the end of the '70s, Atlanta had evolved from a moderately sized burg to a burgeoning metropolis. It wasn't always a smooth transition, and as the decade progressed unemployment rose and crime spiraled. ,
In the days ahead, we'll look back at the decade of disco, when Atlanta came of age.
— News researcher Nisa Asokan contributed to this series.