nearly 50 years, a Coca-Cola sign had been a meeting point for Atlanta.
From 1932 to 1981, a Coca-Cola Spectacular sign hung in Margaret
Mitchell Square at the intersection of Peachtree Street and Pryor
Street. The new sign hangs atop the Olympia building at 22 Peachtree
Street, near Atlanta's Woodruff Park and Five Points district (where
World of Coca-Cola is located).
new Atlanta sign is the only "retro-style" structure Coca-Cola
has designed anywhere in the world. 2003 Coca-Cola Neon SpectacularThe
sign has much of the same design as the neon spectacular that was
in place from 1948 to 1981, with a circular, 33-foot diameter face
covered in neon lights, featuring nine-foot tall, 28-feet wide Coca-Cola
lettering. The sign contains more than a mile of red neon, and more
than 10,280 bulbs. The design also includes a message board and
a time and temperature board.
Coca-Cola advertising has been a part of Atlanta since 1886, but
few examples were as visible or well known as the series of signs
in Margaret Mitchell Square. The sign became a well-known landmark
for the downtown Atlanta area, and even served as the backdrop to
annual New Year's Eve celebrations.
old sign underwent various upgrades and changes throughout its life.
The original (circa 1932-1938) was a three-part sign featuring a
nine-foot-high neon trademark, a billboard that changed out monthly
and a motograph -- an electric sign using light bulbs to create
letters in order to relay news of current events.
The original sign was replaced in 1938 with one that displayed
snowflakes, raindrops, clouds or sunrays to forecast the next day's
weather. This sign was dismantled in 1941 to make way for a new
building on site. During World War II, with building materials scarce,
Coca-Cola used an existing sign featuring S&W Cafeteria to advertise
Coca-Cola at Margaret Mitchell Square.
1948 work was completed on the Coca-Cola "Neon Spectacular"
sign, as it was called. The sign was 48 feet tall and 33 feet wide,
featuring a 28-foot-wide trademark as well as a 44-foot-tall thermometer
(the first of its kind featured on a neon spectacular).
In 1965, the thermometer was replaced by a digital temperature
display; at the same time, the horizontal neon background was changed
to a pinwheel design.
The Neon Spectacular sign was dismantled in January 1981 to make
way for the development of what became known as Woodruff Park.
The 2003 version of the Coca-Cola Spectacular was developed by
Peachtree City, Georgia-based Art Productions Inc., which has worked
on a number of other projects for The Coca-Cola Company, including
the giant Coca-Cola bottle at Boston's Fenway Park. Construction
of the Atlanta sign and the components took four months, and installation
at the site took six weeks.
Atlanta's new structure is the latest addition to a distinguished
list of Coca-Cola Neon Spectacular signs prominently displayed in
some of the largest cities in the world, including Piccadilly Circus
in London and Times Square in New York.