History tells us that the man who more than any other deserves credit for the founding of Atlantic was Franklin H. Whitney. Whitney, along with B.F. Allen, a Des Moines banker, and P. Cook formed the Atlantic Town Company in 1868 and promoted the early establishment of the town. An election was held in October of 1869, and on the 20th of that month, the Board of Supervisors declared Atlantic the county seat of Cass County.
It is said that in August of 1868, Whitney, Cook, and Allen met at the mayor’s office to give a name to the town. A number of names were suggested. The name Atlantic was finally proposed, citing that it was the only place of that name between the two oceans.
Another story often related of our fine community is the foresightedness of Whitney when he was asked where the main street should be. As it is told, Whitney marked the center at what is now 6th and Chestnut and plowed two furrows 100 feet apart all the way to the railroad right of way north of Second Street, giving Atlantic its glorious main street.
In 2001, Atlantic was designated the “Coca-Cola Capital of Iowa,” building on the community’s annual Coca-Cola Days celebration. The event, held annually the fourth weekend in September, features a Show, Swap & Sell meet, kiddie parade, and annual meeting of the Iowa Chapter of Coca-Cola Collectors. The Show, Swap & Sell is the second largest mini-convention for Coca-Cola collectors in the nation.