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When it opened 50 years ago, the Hyatt Regency on Peachtree Street felt like the architectural embodiment of the Space Age. Visitors—14,000 came one opening weekend—gazed up in awe at the 22-story atrium, designed to provide “spatial relief” from the hassles of air travel and city life.
Making its debut at the Romantic Times book convention is an e-book that mingles two of Georgia's biggest pop culture exports: Scarlett O'Hara and zombies.
From the moment you push the oval Polaris button inside the glass elevator of the Hyatt Regency, the stomach-flipping wonder returns. In nineteen seconds, you’re rocketed up the atrium’s hanging ivy–accented twenty-two stories, through the roof, and out into the Downtown sky. Then you ascend into the space-pod lounge, hovering 312 feet above the lobby of the forty-seven-year-old hotel.
The notion that Muhammad Ali—a conscientious objector who was a member of the Nation of Islam—would make his comeback in the deep South at the height of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War seemed laugh-out-loud ridiculous. But thanks to one fortuitous telephone call to a local businessman—and the political savvy of State Senator Leroy Johnson—Atlanta stunned the world by granting Ali a boxing license and playing host to his return on October 26, 1970.