The town is situated on a low hill just east of the Nishnabotna River. It was platted in 1868, and the following year it was connected to the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad. Atlantic's original plat laid out its principal street, Chestnut Street, with a 100-foot width. Two parks (one of which was for the county courthouse) were also established at the center of the town. For a community its size, Atlantic boasts an impressive array of buildings, ranging from the octagonal Duncan house of 1865 to the Streamline Moderne Coca-Cola Building of 1940.
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