Greeson: Happy anniversary Coca-Cola Chattanooga, and thanks - for everything

Greeson: Happy anniversary Coca-Cola Chattanooga, and thanks - for everything

July 23rd, 2019 by Jay Greeson in Opinion Columns

Coca-Cola bottles sit in boxes on an old Ford Model T truck outside Coca-Cola during the 120th anniversary event for anniversary event of Chattanooga Coca-Cola bottling company Monday, July 22, 2019 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Photo by Erin O. Smith /Times Free Press.

So what did I miss?

Some of you might have noticed — some might have celebrated — that I was gone last week. Did some SEC football things in the heart of SEC football-landia in Birmingham.

So I'll ask again, what did I miss?

Apparently quite a bit.

The president tweeted some things, and the word racism got tossed around more than salad.

The ripples were felt almost everywhere, include ESPN, which now has a dust-up with one of its most talented on-air personalities after writer and radio and TV personality Dan LeBatard spoke against President Trump's remarks, violating the newly implemented company policy of not commenting on politics.

There were of course the other race-related stories — from Miss Michigan being banned from the Miss World America contest for social media posts to some media outlets pointing out that NASA's race to space was dominated by whites and men to San Francisco schools painting over a George Washington mural because of slavery.

Actually, I don't think I missed those stories all that much, you know.

But I will tell what I did miss, what we all miss.

Not sure if you are aware but Coca-Cola Chattanooga celebrated 120 years in our town Monday.

Yes, 120 years. It's a connection that is under-celebrated because of Coca-Cola's deep history here.

"Chattanooga Coca-Cola, its employees and this community have an indelible and enviable place in history as the first bottler of one of the world's most iconic brands," said John Sherman, president and CEO of Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, the Birmingham-based company that purchased the Chattanooga franchise back in 1924, in a release. "Inside every bottle of Coca-Cola throughout the world, there's a little bit of Chattanooga."

Jay Greeson

Jay Greeson

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

Sure, we like to look around and point to the progress our city has made.

Understandably so.

Well, Monday was the perfect day to reflect on the impact that Coca-Cola Bottling and the Lupton family in particular have had on our city's renaissance and reinvention.

The anchor to the downtown rebound was the Tennessee Aquarium. It has been the linchpin and, as we try to figure out the next cool spot — Hi, Southside, love ya — we take the Aquarium for granted too often.

But as a whole bunch of folks speed to their next Ironman event or some craft beer carnival, those fish begat downtown, which begat the waves that became the North Shore and the Southside and the wistful looks so many folks cast at the Old Foundry property.

And Jack Lupton was the man behind the fish, friends. The stories about how the local- and state-government funding stopped and Lupton made sure the project got finished and the tanks were full are well-known and often repeated.

Of course, that was not all. With that Co-Cola coin, Lupton created The Honors, a world-class golf course that is routinely ranked among the top 20 golf courses on the planet and certainly the best anywhere that is nestled behind an AutoZone auto parts store.

His benevolence to his city — and that of those benefactors like him such as Scotty Probasco, among others — can't be overstated.

And whether you are drawn to the connection of a sports drink on the Tennessee Riverwalk or a cocktail downtown, remember that 120 years ago Monday a lot of of our redirection came as a result of our city's connection to Coca-Cola.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com.

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Chattanooga Times Free Press Comments Policy

The Chattanooga Times Free Press web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Times Free Press web sites and any content on the Times Free Press web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Times Free Press, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Times Free Press websites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Chattanooga Times Free Press
400 East 11th Street
Chattanooga, TN 37403
Phone: 423-757-6315
Email: webeditor@timesfreepress.com