History Files


American Lives

Atlanta Hotels & Motels: Atlanta Mariott Motor Hotel (Georgia)

by Laurie Stevens, 21 August 2021


Atlanta Marriott Motor Hotel, postcard, Atlanta, GA
Photo © The History Files Collection

The Atlanta Marriott Motor Hotel at the corner of Courtland Avenue and International Blvd (and now the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel) was a very big deal at the time of its ribbon-cutting in 1965.

Attending were the governor of Georgia, the mayor of Atlanta, and the topmost executives of the Marriott chain, some bearing the family name.

Atlanta was seeking to position itself as a convention hub, able to serve larger, national organizations in search of new annual meeting and convention sites (none were available south of Washington, DC), and the Marriott was the first hotel in Atlanta which had been designed and operated expressly for that purpose.

See more: Motor Hotel Postcards of Atlanta.

Sheraton Atlanta Motel
Photo © Laurie Stevens

Today's view is a little greener! At the time of the hotel's opening it was the world's largest such location in terms of covered square footage, with what was lauded as a '10,000 square foot "Grand Ballroom" which could seat 1,500 people for dining and 2,000 people for meetings'.

Sheraton Atlanta Motel
Photo © Laurie Stevens

Adjacent to it was 'an exhibit hall - occupying a full acre, [which] will seat 5,000 banquet guests'. It was an instant success, due to factors among others which included Atlanta's status a transportation hub, especially for air travel, and the fact that in 1963 liquor-by-the-drink sales became legal.

Sheraton Atlanta Motel
Photo © Laurie Stevens

Atlanta, a city of aggressive 'boosterism', continued to grow solidly as a huge convention location afterwards and this hotel was just the beginning.

Sheraton Atlanta Motel
Photo © Laurie Stevens

The hotel later became a Radisson and is today the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, with original structures intact, but with a contemporary facade and features added.

Main Sources

The Atlanta Constitution (now the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper), 31 January 1963

Franklin Garrett - Atlanta and Environs: Volume II (University of Georgia Press, 1969)

Atlanta History Center

City of Atlanta


Images and text copyright © Laurie Stevens except where stated. An original feature for the History Files: American Lives.