1962 – 1965: Charles Leachman and the AFL

Charles Walton Leachman, Jr. (1931 – 2000) and Caro Story Lechman (1934 – 2000) purchased Meredith House on October 15, 1962 from Trust Company of Georgia as executor of the McLoughlin estate for $67,500.

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 10.18.34 PMAccording to the survey completed for the Leachmans on October 8, 1962, Meredith House and the surrounding land comprised about 6.1 acres. The residential lots on the south side of Blanton Road and the west side of Dykes Drive were no longer part of the property. A portion of Dykes Drive (now known as Tuxedo Forest Drive) with a fifty foot right-of-way was also noted on the survey for the first time. The survey is recorded in Fulton County Deed Book 3960, Page 267.

Thus, the sale represented about seven acres less than the McLoughlins had originally purchased from the Merediths.

Mr. Leachman played football at Cartersville (GA) High School and attended University of Georgia.

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 10.08.11 PMMr. Leachman was a stockbroker and Assistant Vice-President at Norris & Hirshberg, Inc. He was also President of Atlanta Football, Inc. and a franchisee of the Atlanta Spartans in the Atlantic Coast Football League (ACFL). According to the website, funwhileitlasted.com, “The Atlantic Coast Football League was a minor league loop that stretched, at various times, from northern New England west to New Jersey and as far south as Orlando, Florida.” The Spartans were only active in 1964.

The Atlanta Spartans would play home games at Ponce de Leon Ball Park across from the Sears Building, which is now the Ponce City Market.

According to The Atlanta Constitution on March 19, 1964, Mr. Leachman disclosed putting in a bid for an American Football League (AFL) expansion franchise in Atlanta for the 1965 season that would play “at the city’s multi-million dollar sports stadium [Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium]. Atlanta Stadium director Arthur Montgomery was unavailable for comment on Leachman’s disclosure of his plans for an AFL franchise. However, Montgomery has said earlier that the authority will consider all proposals for stadium occupancy.”

The Abilene (TX) Reporter-News reported on July 28, 1964 that “Atlanta didn’t get the St. Louis Cardinals, so the disappointed city is resuming immediately its search to find a professional football tenant for its $18 million stadium. . . . Charles Leachman, president of the Atlanta Spartans minor league pro football team and a proponent of the AFL, said he hoped now the city would unite in seeking an AFL franchise. ‘I have had an application for an AFL franchise pending since June 18,’ he said. ‘I had been holding up, waiting to see how the St. Louis deal would work out, but now I’m going ahead.’ Leachman said he was discussing the possibility of AFL expansion with the league’s expansion committee. ‘There is a distinct possibility the league may expand to 10 teams,’ he said.”

According to the November 3, 1964 edition of the Syracuse Post-Standard, the “Atlanta Spartans, in their first season, had their franchise revoked Monday [i.e., November 2, 1964] by the Atlantic Coast Football League for failing to meet financial obligations.” Commissioner Joseph Rosentover “said the francise will be held in abeyance for the time being since the Atlanta owner, Charles W. Leachman Jr., has the right to appeal the franchise revocation to the league’s executive committee. Leachman said in Atlanta he plans to appeal.”

According to the November 3, 1964 edition of the Atlanta Constitution, Mr. Leachman said, “’My home [Meredith House] is now on the market, and if a sale is not made shortly, I’ll obtain a second mortgage.’ . . . Leachman estimated earlier this fall he lost approximately $20,000 in sponsoring the New York Jet-San Diego Charger exhibition game at Cheney Stadium. Atlanta Football Inc. also recently posted $25,000 with the American Football League as earnest money toward obtaining a future franchise.”

On November 9, 1964, Meredith House was deeded to Atlanta Football, Inc. (Fulton County Deed Book 4329, Page 336). On December 16, 1964, Meredith House was deeded back to Caro S. Leachman from Atlanta Football, Inc. (Fulton County Deed Book 4345, Page 240).

On February 8, 1965, the Atlanta Constitution reported that “Atlanta Spartan owner Charles Leachman said Sunday night he has requested that the Atlantic Coast Football League sell the franchise that he operated here for one season. . . . Leachman estimated Spartan losses at $60,000 last fall. He acquired the club from the league about a year ago for $5,000.”

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 10.08.27 PMMrs. Leachman was a member of the Londonberry Garden Club and hosted the November 1963 meeting at Meredith House.

On May 26, 1965, Meredith House was deeded from Caro S. Leachman to Edward B. and Helen R. Workman (Fulton County Deed Book 4422, Page 367).

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