In 1925, Atlanta leased an abandoned racetrack with the goal of turning it into an airfield. The land was renamed Candler Field after its original owners, which included Coca-Cola president Asa Candler. Candler Field doubled in size during World War II and became known as Atlanta Municipal Airport.
By 1957, Atlanta was the nation’s busiest airport with more than two million passengers annually and work began on a larger terminal building to relieve the congestion. The new $21 million terminal, the largest in the nation, opened in 1961 and was stretched beyond its six million passenger capacity in its first year. In 1980, the airport opened the world’s largest terminal complex, designed to handle fifty-five million passengers a year.
In 1971, the city renamed the airport after Mayor William B. Hartsfield, who steered the airport from the barnstorming era to the jet age. In 2003, the city added the name of Mayor Maynard Jackson, who led the rebuilding of the airport in the 1970s. The Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport continues expanding to keep up with passenger demand. In 2015, the airport served a record one-hundred million passengers and is the World’s Busiest Airport by passenger count.