Tag Archives: Candler

The water tower and the golfer

It stood above the campus like a sentry, as if to guard against drought and keep watch for welcome rain clouds on the horizon. In my recollection it was always blue, though not Emory blue–more like the blue of a robin’s egg.

It should have been painted white, with trompe l’oeil stippling to mimic the look of a golf ball. Because after I heard someone refer to it as “the Bobby Jones Memorial,” I could never again see it as anything but a golf ball on a tee. (Bobby Jones was the Emory alumnus who graduated from the law school in 1929 and went on, the following year, to become the only person ever to win the grand slam of golf.)

water-tower-in-r-d-cole-catalogue-copy
The old water tower on Emory’s campus resembled a golf ball on a tee. The tower appears here in the catalogue of the manufacturer.

The tower was installed in 1933 and made it into the pages of the November-December 1933 Emory Alumnus.

water-tower-in-emory-alumnus

By 2007 the water tower, in terms that Bobby Jones would have been familiar with, had become a waterless hazard. It had not held water since the 1980s, and improvements to maintain its structural integrity were estimated to cost several hundred thousands of dollars. While realigning Eagle Row to make way for new residence halls, the university dismantled the tower and recycled its steel.

I learned recently that Mathew Pinson, senior director of development in the Candler School of Theology, has a personal connection to that bygone tower. His great-grandfather, Bryan M. Blackburn, was employed by R.D. Cole Manufacturing Company in Newnan, Georgia, when he patented the design of the hundred-thousand-gallon tank. Mathew shared images of the design that was approved by the US Patent Office on February 20, 1934 (after the tower had been installed at Emory). The patent and the catalogue from the R.D. Cole Manufacturing Company are in the Pinson family archives.

water-tower-patent-diagram

water-tower-patent-diagram-2

Great-grandfather Blackburn was a member of the twenty-fifth graduating class of Georgia Tech and began developing this design while he was a student.

Great thanks to Mathew for sharing these design images and the information about his ancestor.

Curiously, Emory University was not the only Emory with a water tower that resembled a golf ball on tee. Check out the one from Emory, Texas, below. I believe ours was built first–and unfortunately had to be removed first.

emory-texas-water-tower

Gary Hauk

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The mystery woman on the nature trail

Here was an assignment just made for the slower summer months, although these months have been full and the summer fleeting. Compile a list of all  buildings and outdoor spaces on campus that are named for persons, with a brief bio of the persons named. And, where possible, identify the funding source for the building’s construction and the date of naming. Ignore buildings like 1599, 1762, and 1525, but please don’t forget the four named streams.

Eleven pages and some eighty names later, I have a good sense of the many ghosts and the few living souls who populate our campus landscape. Look for this list on the Emory history website by the end of the summer.

All of this was relatively easy to ferret out, but some facts took digging, and one name in particular proved a puzzle.

On the Oxford campus, in 1978, biology professor Curry T. Haynes Sr. carved out a nature trail on the west side of the campus, winding from Williams Gym past the soldiers’ cemetery and into the woods between the cemetery and the dining hall.

Currey Haynes
Professor Curry Haynes, circa 1978, at around age 76. He taught at Oxford for more than thirty years and died in 2000 at the age of 97.

The trail was dedicated on May 7, 1978, and named in memory of Elizabeth Candler Hearn.

Hmmm. Who was this Ms. Hearn? She’s not mentioned in any of the Candler family histories I’ve looked into, and the only online search for her turns up an announcement in the Atlanta Georgian of her impending wedding to Howell Reid Hearn on December 27, 1906.

A call to my friend and colleague Joe Moon, dean of campus life at Oxford College, turned up two news clippings from the dedication.

Hearn Trail dedication 2

Standing among the smiling family members shown in the old news photos are Elizabeth Candler Hearn II (Mrs. A.J. Bates) and three-year-old Elizabeth Candler Hearn III, wielding a scissors almost as large as she is as she cuts the ribbon on the trail. But no mention of the original Elizabeth Candler Hearn.

Thank goodness for genealogists. One of the websites catering to them is findagrave.com.

Elizabeth Candler Hearn appears to have been the daughter of Samuel Charles Candler Jr., who was the brother of Asa Candler of Coca-Cola fame and Warren Candler, Emory’s former president and first chancellor.

Elizabeth’s listing in findagrave.com shows her as Samuel’s daughter. But, oddly, his own listing does not show her as one of his children. The dates for each suggest the connection, however. He lived from 1855 to 1911, and she from 1883 to 1976. Her wedding in 1906 to Howell Reid Hearn would have occurred when she was 23. Her tombstone, shown in a photo on findagrave, notes that she was born in Villa Rica, which was also the hometown of Asa and the other children of Samuel Charles Candler Sr.

I’d love to have a photo of her or more information about her. Anyone out there know her?

Gary Hauk

 

 

 

End of an era

September 21, 2016, will mark sixty years since the most damaging fire in Emory’s history—a conflagration that began in the Administration Building’s fourth-floor offices of public relations and development (aren’t they always trying to set people on fire for Emory?) It was a Friday morning in 1956, little more than a year since the building had been dedicated.

Admin Bldg fire 1956
North end of Administration Building, now adjacent to White Hall, as it burned on September 21, 1956.

Most of the fourth floor suffered smoke damage, but all of the roof burned. A few days later Hurricane Flossie blew through Atlanta and poured rain onto the fourth floor.

President's office, 9.21.56
Firefighters clean up the president’s suite after the fire on September 21, 1956.

All this came to mind because, six decades after the building was dedicated, in 1955, the first major renovation of the board room is under way.

Here are trustees in the room after a meeting sometime in 1956-57. Not exactly a happy-looking group. Not very diverse, either, except for the shades of their suits.

Bowden Board Room 1956
Emory Board of Trustees in the Administration Building board room, circa 1957.

The man seated fourth from the left is Goodrich C. White, Emory’s president at the time. To his left sits Charles Howard Candler, chair of the board, who would die in October 1957. His successor would be Henry Bowden, the tall man standing seventh from the left in the back row. Twenty-two years later, Bowden’s service as board chair would be honored by the naming of the board room for him on his retirement from service.

Bowden Board Room plaque

Over the years grew the tradition of commissioning oil portraits of presidents and board chairs on their retirement from office. Soon the walls became crowded. And people noticed that the galaxy of stars around the room was no more representative of the university demographics than that 1957 photograph of the board.

Here is the board room in 2015, from two different angles. The top photo shows (left to right) Presidents Cox, White, and Atwood. The bottom photo shows (left to right) board chairs Asa and Charles Candler, Bowden, Robert Strickland, and Brad Currey. Not visible, on the left in the bottom photo, are portraits of Presidents Laney and Chace.

Bowden Board Room portraits

This summer the room will be renovated to bring it technologically into the 21st century and update its furnishings and walls. The portraits will be re-installed in spaces and buildings that bear the names of the portraits’ subjects (except for Strickland and Currey, whose portraits will go to the Rose Library).

Meanwhile, here’s the Bowden Board Room stripped and waiting its new garb. The bottom photo shows the space where the board sat for its photo in 1957.

400 empty 3400 empty 2

More later, when the renovation is complete.

Gary Hauk

 

Asa Candler’s NON-million-dollar letter

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Asa Griggs Candler Sr.

Many Emory people know of the “million-dollar letter” written by Asa Griggs Candler Sr. on July 16, 1914, to the Educational Commission of the Southern Methodist Church.

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That was the spur to planting Emory University in Atlanta and eventually moving Emory College from its home in Oxford. Less well known are the hundreds of other Candler letters deposited in the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory.

Candler was a great letter writer — great not only in the volume of personal and business-related missives he penned but also in the candor of his messages. As he aged, his penmanship deteriorated, looking as if every line was dashed off in a frenzy to keep up with his thoughts. But the first letter we have from him shows something else.

Candler letter to Griggs

Written to Candler’s namesake–Dr. Asa Griggs, of West Point, Georgia–the letter presents the young Candler, age 21, looking for better prospects. Having considered a career in medicine, he opted instead for pharmacy. “The country has enough [doctors] without they [the country] were better. Besides I think there is more money to be made as a druggist than as a physician.”

Having secured a position in Cartersville, Georgia, where he had spent two years learning the business, Candler now was ready for greater things. Was it possible, he wondered, that the physician for whom he was named, and who was “so widely known both professionally & socially,” might open a door or two for him? “I am not particular about the place,—where it is—will go to any place where I can do well.”

No evidence exists that Dr. Griggs responded to the young Asa, but within a year Candler had made his way to Atlanta, knocked on several doors, and landed a job assisting pharmacist John Howard. He also met Howard’s daughter, Lucy, who would become Asa’s wife. Fifteen years later he would buy controlling rights to John Pemberton’s recipe for Coca-Cola.

Gary Hauk