William Parker, newspaper publisher
and artist, began working on this book in 1999 when he spent
several months in the Robert W. Woodruff Library at Emory University
in Atlanta. He also worked at the Atlanta History Center researching
the Coca-Cola section. His first writings about Coca-Cola appeared
as a monthly series in two of Chattanoogas community papers.
Parker was born and raised in the South. Although his immediate
family lived in Chattanooga where he received his early education,
much of his childhood was spent with his grandparents who operated
a cotton plantation in South Georgia. He later wrote a book that
included much of his memories in the cotton country.
He attended public grammar schools
and graduated from McCallie School which at the time was a private
military academy. He entered the University of Tennessees
School of Journalism where he graduated with honors in 1960.
During his senior year he wrote promotional columns for Life
magazine. Following college graduation, he took a job as general
assignment reporter for the Chattanooga Times, a holding
of the New York Times. For a short time he was vice president
of a local advertising firm and later became Director of Communications
for the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association. In 1987, Parker
founded the Mountain City Publishing Company which publishes
community newspapers in the Chattanooga area.
He is active in community affairs
and serves on the board of the Hunter Museum of American Art
and the Forest Hills Cemetery. He has recently been named chairman
of the newly created George Thomas Hunter Society, a function
of the Hunter Museum of American Arts.
Parker is noted for his watercolors which have been featured
in publication and have sold at galleries in Chattanooga, at
the Swan House in Atlanta, and at the Gulf Coast in Florida.
Parkers family includes his wife, Margaret, a married daughter,
and two grandchildren.
THE COCA-COLA STORY
Most folks are aware that the
Coke drink itself is made of two parts; syrup being one part,
and carbonated soda being the other. While Atlanta for more than
a century has manufactured Coca-Cola syrup, Chattanooga has brought
the syrup and soda together in bottles or cans, as it were, and
distributed the product, first to the state, then to the nation,
and now to the world.
The syrup part of the Coca-Cola
Empire in Atlanta is known as the Coca-Cola Company not to be
confused with Chattanoogas various names known as the Coca-Cola
Bottling Company or the Thomas Company or the Parent Bottler.
The Chattanooga part of the empire purchased the syrup, mixed
it with carbonation and distributed the product in bottles.
As a group, the Chattanooga bottlers
created a nationwide distribution network that grew into almost
1,200 franchised companies in the United States. The relationship
between the bottlers and the Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta is
familial, as one writer, Mark Pendergast, put it, like
they squabble constantly but never lose sight for long of their
Without Coke syrup, the bottlers
would have little more Than a lot of empty bottles, and conversely,
without Bottlers, the Coca-Cola Company would have little more
than syrup and soda. There is an old saying that where there
is a problem, there is also an opportunity.
Could it have been this syrup-bottle
problem that caused Coca-Cola to become a reality? Truth is the
worlds most celebrated soft drink came into being because
there was a problem and for many other reasons. Some are secrets
buried deep in Atlantas Westview Cemetery.