The History of Centennial Olympic Park
Centennial Olympic Park, in downtown Atlanta, Ga., was first built in 1996 to serve as the site for the Centennial Summer Olympics. It is hard to believe that before then, the area was little more than a bunch of run- down, ramshackle buildings.
At the Olympics, during a concert by Jack Mack & the Heart Attack on July 27, a terrorist planted a bomb on the grounds. The explosion killed two people and injured 111 others. Eric Robert Rudolph, who was also tied to three other such incidents, pled guilty to the crime five years later and was given four life sentences in prison.Get more information here. http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2011/04/googie-burger-review-atlanta-ga.html
After the Olympics, the Park remained closed for almost two years, while renovations were being done. But since its reopening in the spring of 1998, many celebrations have been held there: A concert and a fireworks display take place every year on Independence Day, and there is also the Wednesday WindDown, a jazz and blues concert.
A number of buildings and other structures have also been erected on the park. These include:
- the Georgia World Congress Center, where the annual SEC Football Fanfare is held;
- the Children’s Museum of Atlanta, built in 2004, which includes– among other things– a program called Home School Days designed for parents who homeschool their children;
- the new World of Coca Cola museum, which features exhibits on the history of the soft drink;
- a statue of Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the International Olympic Committee.
Centennial Olympic Park suffered some minor damage when a tornado struck in 2008, destroying two of its towers. Several major events were postponed as a result.
Volunteers at the park contribute to the main events as well as to its everyday maintenance. They work as information desk attendants and on beautification projects.