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HISTORY


For further information on Jack Spalding and His Family, click here to download historical books, portrait and Atlanta Journal-Constitution Articles from over the years.

Choosing Atlanta

When Jack Johnson Spalding, along with his wife Elizabeth Hughes Spalding, decided to move to Atlanta, Georgia in 1882, the Uniontown, Kentucky Telegram lamented the loss of the 25-year-old Kentucky native: "He is a young lawyer of exceeding promise ... and the regrets of many friends follow him and his bright young wife."


Kentucky was right to be saddened by the loss of the young attorney. After only three years in Atlanta, Spalding and partner Alex King established King & Spalding, which has grown to be one of the top law firms in the country, with offices in Atlanta, Houston, New York, Washington D.C., and most recently, London.

Although very different in persona, Spalding and King were said to make the perfect law partners. Jack, having suffered a detached retina in 1875, was totally blind in his right eye, a handicap that greatly limited his abilities to read and study. His personable and savvy character, however, was ideal in handling clients. King, on the other hand, was aloof but was esteemed by many for his photographic memory and thorough knowledge of the law.


Although an out-of-stater, Jack Spalding displayed an amazing dedication to the city in which he chose to build a new life. The expansion and preservation of Piedmont Park and the establishment of King & Spalding are among the many contributions Spalding made to the renewal of Atlanta in the decades following the Civil War.


Family Man

In 1892, having settled into his new law practice, Jack Spalding purchased a large piece of land at the northwest corner of Peachtree and 14th Streets to serve as the site for his family's home. The new house was spacious and comfortable, with fire places in every room to keep the Spalding family warm. The family had plenty of help in maintaining their barn, carriage house, four-acre pasture, and scores of horses, milk cows, and chickens, but Jack was a strict father, insisting that his three children awake every morning to get the fires going before any help arrived.


When they weren't tending to chores, the Spalding children enjoyed the outdoors, and had plenty of it, with their new home situated in what was primarily an undeveloped area at the time. Hughes Spalding, Jack's oldest son, recalls riding his Texas pony every day through the countryside, frequently wandering as far as the present-day location of Piedmont Park.



Suzanne Spalding,
later Mrs. William Schroder

After 1895, however, the north side of Atlanta, from 6th Street to beyond 14th Street, and especially along Peachtree, grew rapidly as a result of the Cotton States and International Exposition of 1895, a project in which Jack himself was thoroughly involved. With throngs of new young people in the area, Hughes and Jack Spalding Jr. found themselves caught up in the neighborhood gangs.   The two boys were happy to be considered a part of the "North Side Sluggers," whose territory extended from 11th Street to beyond 14th Street. Among their rivals were the "Tight Squeezers," a gang with members from other prominent Atlanta families, including the Fosters, Crawfords, and Freemans. Between Hughes' brass-knuckle fight with Jim Freeman and the family rooster's involvement in the Slugger's weekly cock-fight, Jack and Hughes' father was fed up. He decided to move his family further into the countryside, which meant up Peachtree Street and towards what is now Buckhead.


Having acquired a large home at Peachtree and Collier Roads as part of an investment in 1895, Jack Spalding made this his family's permanent home in 1901. The new estate was called "Deerland" and was situated on the eleven acres that is now the site of Atlanta's Piedmont Hospital.

Although primarily known for the success of his law firm, Jack Spalding made family his first priority, as he always made decisions with the well being of his wife and three children in mind. All three children – Hughes, Suzanne, and Jack – went on to achieve top educations and loving families of their own. Jack Spalding has left his mark on Atlanta not only through the credibility and success of King & Spalding, but also through the numbers of family members he has left behind.



Click on photo to enlarge and view names

Today, over a hundred of Spalding's descendents reside in the state of Georgia, with others spanning the country from Kentucky to New York to California – and the world.   The Spalding legacy of Atlanta will undoubtedly stay alive for years to come.

 

For further information on Jack Spalding and His Family, click here to download historical books, portrait and Atlanta Journal-Constitution Articles from over the years.

 

 

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