As it has done for many others, the appeal of living in Western North Carolina’s beautiful mountains brought the Jackson family to Asheville in 1914 from Cuthbert, GA. Attracted by the area’s status as one of the fastest growing cities in the southeast, Ken Jackson’s great grandfather left the lumber business behind, brought his family to Asheville and built several homes in Asheville prior to 1919. His son, L.B., was also bitten by the construction bug and built his first spec home on Macon Avenue in 1919.
L.B. Jackson’s mark is still clearly visible on the Asheville skyline. Among the landmarks he created stands the Jackson Building in downtown Asheville, WNC’s first skyscraper, which he completed in 1924.
Times changed quickly. Like most other Americans, L.B. was hit hard by the depression in 1929. Prior to the stock market’s collapse that year, the young giant had built a construction and development firm with projects under its belt like the Flat Iron Building, the city’s municipal golf course and approximately 400 homes. In the course of building a town, L.B. also built up a successful mortgage business and an insurance company.
Things changed as quickly and unexpectedly as the stock market’s fateful dive as L. B. Jackson lost everything during the crash and the resulting depression.
But not for long—- L.B. Jackson came back strong. After completing a building for National Linen Service on the corner of Hilliard Street and Lexington Avenue in 1937, the company asked Jackson and his men to travel throughout the country to handle their building expansion needs. As the business grew, another Jackson entered the construction industry, L.B. Jackson, Jr., Ken’s father.
The relationship was strong and profitable until 1974 when, years after L.B. had retired and turned the business over to his son, National Linen stopped their building program and the company the elder Jackson had started, quietly slipped into the history books. Ironically, L.B. Jackson died that year.
Completing his undergraduate work in architecture from Clemson in 1976, Ken quickly realized he was too high-strung to spend his days at a drafting table. Ken needed to be out in the field and always had a fondness for building construction. After completing a 2 year graduate program at Clemson in construction management, Ken landed a job as project manager trainee with Gilbane Building Co.
In 1981, after a 3 year career with Gilbane, Ken Jackson received a call from a family friend and owner of a local construction firm and was offered a job as a project manager. Ken accepted the job and made the move from Washington, DC, beginning a 4 year career as a project manager for Beverly Grant, Inc. Though he had grown up in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, where his grandfather had moved the family in 1947, Ken, like his grandfather, felt strong ties to Asheville.
In 1985, Ken left Beverly Grant and started his own construction company, L.B. Jackson & Co., naming in the memory of his late grandfather, L.B. Jackson. From its inception, L.B. Jackson & Company, LLC has been equally diversified in both commercial and residential construction and real estate development. To date, the company has developed a half dozen office buildings, several grocery anchored centers, strip centers, industrial parks, residential subdivisions and residential condo projects.
Quality, customer service and commitment to tradition, heritage and a high standard of professional ethics: Those are the building blocks on which Ken Jackson has built L.B. Jackson & Co., LLC. “I strive to always maintain a level of quality that has been traditionally associated with the Jackson name.” “I can do no less than that.”
Today, the company is focusing its efforts on property management for company developed projects, residential construction and development and commercial development.