Asa Candler

Asa Candler Photo

Asa Griggs Candler was a business mogul who made most of his wealth from Coca-Cola. He was owner of the company that is world-famous till date. Candler was also mayor of Atlanta, Georgia from 1916 to 1919.

Candler was born on 30th December 1851 in Rome, Georgia. Candler’s life truly personifies the fictional character Horatio Alger’s rise from rags to riches. It is not that he was born poor in fact his family lived in quite comfortable conditions but the Civil War depleted their wealth. Contrary to his siblings who were well educated and on respectable posts, Candler refused to attend college. Initially he was a drugstore clerk. He then started manufacturing patent medicines. In 1888 his life took a turn when he went to a soda fountain looking for a cure for headache. The tonic he got changed his life. He bought the Coca-Cola Company and spent the next ten years trying to turn the tonic into a nationwide phenomenon. This however was not a smooth ride. Asa Candler faced many court cases due to his use of caffeine and cocaine in the drink until even the smallest amount of narcotics was removed from the formula. Candler fought the battle for many years until he grew tired of the accusations and the imitators and distributed his shares between his five children.

Coco-Cola’s success was mainly due to its heavy and successful marketing. The money Candler made allowed him to establish the Central Bank and Trust Corp. He also invested in real estate and did considerable amount of philanthropic work. He gifted one million dollars and some land to Emroy University which was a Methodist college. He also gave millions of dollars to Emroy Hospital. He donated a piece of land for Candler Park. In 1906, he completed the construction of Candler Building which was the tallest building at that time consisting of 17 stories. Asa Candler became the mayor of Atlanta in 1916 which was also the end of his day to day operations at Coca-Cola Company. He was very much liked as the mayor as he played a pivotal role in balancing the budget of the city and in the rebuilding of 15000 homes after the Great Atlanta fire in 1917.

Candler has been commemorated several times. The Candler Field Museum in Williamson, Georgia was named after him. He donated more than fifty acres of land to the City of Atlanta which was later named the Candler Park. He owned two mansions; the Callan Castle and his mansion in Druid Hills, that later became the St. John Chrysostom Melkite Greek Catholic Church. In short Candler did a great deal for growth of the City of Atlanta. The commercial properties in the area such as the Candler building and the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport stand as testimony to his contributions. Above all the Coca-Cola Company is a constant reminder of the efforts that Candler put in it to make it a world-renowned beverage. Candler died on 12th March 1929 and is buried in southwest Atlanta.