Detail from the Battle of Atlanta painting.
Rendering of the new Cyclorama building (Courtesy Atlanta History Center)

The famed Cyclorama painting depicting the Battle of Atlanta will move from Grant Park to a brand new facility on the campus of the Atlanta History Center. Mayor Kasim Reed made the announcement at a press conference this morning.

The Atlanta History Center will begin construction on a new 23,000 square foot building next summer and the attraction is expected to re-open in 2016. The History Center intends to restore the painting to its full size and overall height, and to re-create the 128-year-old painting’s original visual perspective – both of which have been lost for nearly 100 years. The new display method will return the painting to its original presentation as a 3-D experience.

The Battle of Atlanta was painted in Milwaukee between 1885 and 1886 in the studios of the American Panorama Company. The completed painting was 50 feet high, 400 feet long, and weighed more than 9,000 pounds.

The painting toured to a number of cities, was bought and sold numerous times, before being purchased by Atlantan George V. Gress in 1893. Gress asked the city to find space for the painting, which offered Grant Park. A wooden, drum-like structure was built for the painting and Gress gave the painting to the City of Atlanta in 1898. The Grant Park building was dedicated in 1921 and the three-dimensional diorama was added in 1936.

After the relocation to the Atlanta History Center is complete, the Grant Park Cyclorama building will be transferred to Zoo Atlanta. The building will be developed into an event and community space that will include an overlook of the Zoo’s African savanna exhibit. Renovations to the building will preserve the historic character and aesthetic appeal of the original facility. Once the renovation is complete, the Zoo will feature a new entryway plaza, an enhanced African elephant exhibit and renovated workspace for administrative staff. The Zoo’s redevelopment plan also calls for an environmentally sound underground parking solution to alleviate parking in the neighborhoods and accommodate attendance growth at the Zoo.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley is Editor of Atlanta Intown. He can be reached at editor@atlantaintownpaper.com.