179 Edgewood Avenue — The Seventh Home of Coca-Cola
179 Edgewood Avenue, the seventh home of Coca-Cola. Rendering shows the company after construction of the Annex building (left side above wagon) in 1903-1904.
In 1898, Asa Candler built the seventh home of Coca-Cola on a triangular-shaped lot at the intersection of Edgewood Avenue and College Street. Even though Coca-Cola by this time had technically occupied six other previous homes, this was the first building constructed solely for the purpose of housing the fast growing Coca-Cola syrup business.
The three-story red brick building was the significant investment for Asa Candler and comprised office space in the upper three stories (The Coca-Cola Company's advertising office was located on the third floor),and an up-to-date syrup factory in the basement. Coca-Cola was written proudly in the trademark script above the sandstone corner entrance. Upon the building's completion Asa considered his new offices "sufficient for all our needs for all time to come."
1899 Coca-Cola Company employee photograph. Frank Robinson is in the first row far left with his hand in his jacket pocket and Asa Candler is to the right of him. Asa's nephew Sam Dobbs is in the second row, over Asa's shoulder with the mustache. To the right of Mr. Dobbs is Charles Howard Candler, Asa's oldest son. Mrs. Dobbs is resting her arm on the column base. Asa's son Walter Turner Candler is in front of Mrs. Dobbs with his hands on the shoulders of younger brother William Beall Candler.
An understandable sentiment at that time since the entire nationwide sales staff numbered only fifteen. A year later in 1899, syrup sales had reached 281,000 gallons annually (many of those gallons were produced in the basement of the new headquarters). By 1900, Frank Robinson and his salesmen were responsible for distributing more than 1,000,000 advertising items, and an advertising budget of $85,000.
A November 1901 photo from the Atlanta Constitution
The new headquarters building was bounded by Edgewood Avenue to the north, College Street to the south, and a one-story wood frame home on the lot to the east. During Atlanta's growth and renewal after the Civil War, the Edgewood Avenue area had become a busy neighborhood of small homes, churches and mom and pop stores. Soon other businesses associated with the production of soft drinks and the printing trade were developed in the area around the Coca-Cola headquarters building, changing the complexion of the area.
The 1903 Coca-Cola Building Annex, briefly used for the production of Coca-Cola Chewing Gum, still stands today. It is one of the few surviving buildings from Coca-Cola's past in Atlanta.
In 1899, the Coca-Cola Company purchased the tract of residential land along the east side of its newly-constructed headquarters building and the one-story frame home on the site was tore down. Construction began in 1903 on a large building adjoining its headquarters. This was a three-story, brick building was slightly larger than the headquarters building and became known as The Coca-Cola Building Annex. It was also built in the Classical Revival style and extended the length headquarters building by five bays (the existing headquarters building was seven bays deep). The cornice heights, building materials, fenestration and organization of the facade closely (but not exactly) matched the exterior of the headquarters building.
The newly formed Coca-Cola Chewing Gum Company briefly occupied the large open main floor of the Annex from 1903 to 1905 before being transferred to the Franklin Manufacturing Company in Virginia. By 1909 The Coca-Cola Company needed more space for its rapidly expanding operations and sold both the headquarters building and Annex building. The headquarters that Asa said was "sufficient for all our needs for all time to come" lasted only eleven years before it was outgrown.
Unfortunately the beautiful headquarters building was destroyed by fire in the 1970's, but the Annex building still remains.
Sequence showing the changes in the location from 1899 to the present time.