1990s - Timelines - Atlanta Magazine
Atlanta Timelines
Trace news, trends, major events, and pop culture breakthroughs over the decades since Atlanta magazine's 1961 launch.


The Olympics help Atlanta finally earn "international city" status.

August 21, 1990
The World of Coca-Cola opens at the recently rehabbed Underground Atlanta.

November 6, 1990
Zell Miller is elected governor.

Even more Nineties stuff
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The giant street party known as Freaknik

January 17, 1991
Roiled by labor disputes, Eastern Airlines goes out of business.

October 27, 1991
After a miracle season in which they advanced from bottom of the league to the national championship, the Braves lose Game Seven of the World Series to the Minnesota Twins. The worst-to-first showing inspires Atlanta’s normally fair-weather fans; they overlook the lack of a title and greet the returning Braves with a ticker tape parade.

June 1992
After two decades of wrangling, the Georgia Department of Transportation and neighborhood groups reach a settlement that will result in the creation of Freedom Parkway—instead of a planned toll road that would have decimated intown. Protests heated up in the 1980s when Jimmy Carter, who as governor sided with residents, flip-flopped and supported the DOT (the road would have led to the Carter Center). Activists known as Roadbusters chained themselves to trees and camped in parks along Ponce de Leon; others formed CAUTION (Citizens Against Unnecessary Thoroughfares in Older Neighborhoods) and bombarded the DOT with lawsuits. Land cleared in 1970s work on the expressway became today's Freedom Park.

November 29, 1992
As her two young sons watch from passenger seats in the family’s Toyota 4Runner, a kidnapper murders Sara Tokars with a shotgun blast to the head. Her husband, Fred, a former Fulton County prosecutor, weeps in front of news cameras. But within weeks, he is suspected of orchestrating the hit, fearful Sara would turn him in for money laundering. In 1994 Fred Tokars is found guilty of racketeering, and in 1997 he is sentenced to life without parole for Sara’s murder. During the trial, Atlantans are transfixed by sensational testimony from prostitutes, pimps, and drug dealers, and the heartbreaking account from son Rick, who described a “mean man” killing his mother.

May 24, 1993
The Gone with the Wind–themed series finale of Designing Women airs, ending the seven-year run of a show with big hair, big shoulder pads, and big Southern stereotypes.

August 1, 1993
The Georgia 400 extension opens. Cost of the toll to use the road: fifty cents.

September 1, 1993
The first HOPE Scholarship is awarded to Matthew Miller of Snellville, headed to Gwinnett Tech.

November 23, 1993
Bill Campbell wins a hotly contested runoff mayoral election against Michael Lomax. In 1997 he will win reelection without a runoff.

April 26, 1994
Antwan “Big Boi” Patton and André “André 3000” Benjamin—the Atlanta duo best known as Outkast—release their first album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik.

November 15, 1994
TLC releases CrazySexyCool, which sells more than 11 million copies. With a slate of hits including “Waterfalls,” “No Scrubs,” and “Unpretty,” the trio becomes one of the top-selling girl bands of all time. This does not prevent the group from filing for bankruptcy in 1995.

January 4, 1995
Newt Gingrich becomes the first Republican Speaker of the House in forty years.

October 4, 1995
After making landfall in Florida, the eye of Hurricane Opal passes over Georgia, dumping more than six inches of rain on Atlanta and downing trees and power lines before being downgraded to a tropical storm.

October 28, 1995
The Braves defeat the Cleveland Indians to win the World Series, their first Series win in almost four decades—and Atlanta’s first pro sports national title. (The Braves previously won in Milwaukee and Boston.)

April 27, 1996
The Olympic torch relay starts its 15,000-mile journey across the U.S. The torches, designed by a team from Georgia Tech, can withstand forty-mile-an-hour wind gusts.

July 19–August 4, 1996
The Centennial Olympic Games are held in Atlanta. At first the city gets mixed reviews; stellar facilities are marred by a carnival-like vending area Downtown. Then everything is overshadowed by the tragic bombing at a July 27 concert.

December 31, 1996
JonBenét Ramsey is buried at St. James Episcopal cemetery in Marietta. More than a decade of fascination with the slain child beauty-pageant star follows. Her murder remains unsolved.

February 14, 1998
“Nice & Slow” by Atlanta R&B crooner Usher Raymond reaches number one on the Billboard 100. It’s the first chart-topper in a decadelong string of hits—many with hometown collaborators, such as the raunchy “Yeah!” with Ludacris and Lil Jon.

January 31, 1999
The Atlanta Falcons lose to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII.

July 29, 1999
Day trader Mark Barton goes on a shooting spree in a Buckhead office park, killing nine coworkers and wounding thirteen others. The shootings came after he bludgeoned his estranged wife and two children to death. He later kills himself.

August 13, 1999
Shopping stampede! More than 10,000 people flood into the Mall of Georgia during the first fifteen minutes after its official opening.

November 5, 1999
A UPS plane lands in Atlanta. On board: giant pandas Lun Lun and Yang Yang, who will take up residence in a new $7 million habitat at Zoo Atlanta. By the end of the next decade,

December 17, 1999
A Census Bureau report reveals that metro Atlanta’s population grew by 786,559 residents during the 1990s, the fastest growth of any urban area except Los Angeles.

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