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Asa Candler: The Grandaddy of Atlanta Whales

If you think Arthur Blank's the big-pimpin' standard-bearer in Atlanta, you don't your Asa from a hole in the ground. Sure, the Candler family has been beset with financial troubles of late, but way back in 1920 Asa Candler had put legal battles over the "healthfulness" of his greatest invention — Coca-Cola — behind him, and he could rest on his millionaire laurels. A devout philanthropist, Candler's most famous donation was a personal check for $1 million — which basically established Emory University.

Candler diversified. He invested in real estate (see his imprint all over Druid Hills) and founded the Central Bank and Trust Company. As a headquarters for Coke and the bank, he erected the still-standing Candler Building (right), Atlanta's tallest when it opened in 1906. Candler lorded over Atlanta as a reformist mayor for a while, had some drama with the lady folk, then suffered a debilitating stroke. He eventually checked out in 1929 — but not before substantially changing the world.

· Georgia Encyclopedia