Ernest Woodruff
Ernest Woodruff was an important businessman in the U.S. city of Atlanta.


Woodruff was born in Columbus, Georgia
Columbus, Georgia
Columbus is a city in and the county seat of Muscogee County, Georgia, United States, with which it is consolidated. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 189,885. It is the principal city of the Columbus, Georgia metropolitan area, which, in 2009, had an estimated population of 292,795...

, USA. After relocating to Atlanta, he made his home in Hurt's Inman Park
Inman Park
Inman Park was planned in the late 1880s by Joel Hurt, a civil engineer and real-estate developer who intended to create a rural oasis connected to the city by the first of Atlanta's electric streetcar lines. The East Atlanta Land Company acquired and developed more than 130 acres east of the city...


With his brother-in-law, Joel Hurt
Joel Hurt
Joel Hurt was an important businessman and developer in Atlanta active in the late 19th century through the early 20th century.Born in Hurtsboro, Alabama Joel Hurt (1850–1926) was an important businessman and developer in Atlanta active in the late 19th century through the early 20th...

 he founded the Atlanta and Edgewood Street Railroad which ran its first electric trolleys on April 22, 1889 and Woodruff followed Hurt as president of the Trust Company in 1904 a post he held for 18 years before becoming its Chairman of the Board
Chair (official)
The chairman is the highest officer of an organized group such as a board, committee, or deliberative assembly. The person holding the office is typically elected or appointed by the members of the group. The chairman presides over meetings of the assembled group and conducts its business in an...


Woodruff's greatest skill was in re-organizing existing companies to improve value by increased scale: in 1903 he combined three small ice and coal companies into the Atlanta Ice and Coal Company then in 1910 with the help of the Trust Company he organized those types of companies from Virginia and throughout the Carolinas into the Atlantic Ice and Coal. None of these companies were able to make much money on their own with high costs of home and office deliveries but combined made handsome returns to shareholders.

He married Mary Frances (Overby) Winship, only child of Robert Winship
Robert Winship
Robert Winship was a prominent 19th century Atlanta businessman who built his fortune on the Winship Machine Company, originally built up by his father...

, the foundry magnate.

Then he restructured the Atlantic Steel
Atlantic Steel
The Atlantic Steel Company was a steel company in Atlanta, Georgia with a large steel mill on the site of today's Atlantic Station multi-use complex....

 (current site of Atlantic Station
Atlantic Station
Atlantic Station is a large brownfield redevelopment project at the northwestern edge of Midtown Atlanta, Georgia. Atlantic Station is being master developed by AIG Global Real Estate and local development partner Jacoby Development, Inc...

) factory and installed Thomas Glenn to get it out of debt.

This set the table for the biggest move of Woodruff's career: the take over of The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company is an American multinational beverage corporation and manufacturer, retailer and marketer of non-alcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups. The company is best known for its flagship product Coca-Cola, invented in 1886 by pharmacist John Stith Pemberton in Columbus, Georgia...

 which he negotiated with Asa Candler in 1919.
His sons, Robert W. Woodruff
Robert W. Woodruff
Robert Winship Woodruff was the president of The Coca-Cola Company from 1923 until 1954. With his enormous Coke fortune, he was also a major philanthropist, and many educational and cultural landmarks in the U.S...

 and George W. Woodruff
George W. Woodruff
George Waldo Woodruff was an engineer, businessman, and philanthropist in Atlanta, Georgia. He attended the Georgia School of Technology in 1917 and gave generously to both his alma mater and Emory University, including George Waldo Woodruff (August 27, 1895 - February 4, 1987 in Atlanta, Georgia)...

, would run that company for years leaving Candler's son Howard Candler
Howard Candler
Howard Candler, born March 16, 1851 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the oldest son of his father, Asa Griggs Candler. In 1917, Howard Candler gained complete control of The Coca-Cola Company as a Christmas present from his father. His younger siblings took seats of the board while he ran the...

rather out of the picture.
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