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Coca-Cola Legacy to Gain Recognition at Five Points

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Atlanta gives go-ahead for hometown soda maker to leave its mark downtown

The distinctive red Coca-Cola logo is a ubiquitous symbol in Atlanta. It adorns the company's world headquarters near Georgia Tech, is enshrined at the World of Coca-Cola, glitters above the Five Points intersection in downtown, and appears in just about every restaurant in the region: the city's adoration of Sweet Dixie Champagne is hard to miss. But now, according to the Saporta Report, the company is preparing to leave yet another mark on the city, though not nearly as flashy as many of the others. The new sign, a historic marker, will be placed at the site of the former Jacob's Pharmacy, where Dr. John Pemberton sold the first Coca-Cola on May 8, 1886.

While the building that housed the pharmacy — and, in fact, the building that replaced it, too — is long gone, the story of what happened on the site is still enough to warrant recognition. The marker will stand across the street from the Olympia Building — which is still topped by the soda maker's circular, flashing sign despite a major ongoing renovation — at the southwest corner of the intersection of Marietta and Peachtree streets at Five Points. The location is particularly poignant as it is proximate to the heart of not only the origin of Coca-Cola, but the city itself.

The city of Atlanta, with permission from the state and Georgia State University — owner of the adjacent building — has granted Coca-Cola the right to place the sign. Final approvals should be granted by the Atlanta City Council early next month, with the sign being unveiled in May, coinciding with the 130th anniversary of the sale of the first coke on the site. Cheers!

Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

14 Marietta St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303 (404) 413-0000