Franklin became independent city 50 years ago

Published 9:43 am Friday, April 22, 2011

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Tidewater News is introducing a new column, Looking Back. Local history buff Clyde Parker will feature headlines of the past and reflect on Western Tidewater’s past twice a month on the Opinion page.

By Clyde Parker

Franklin became an independent city on Dec. 22, 1961. Prior to that, Franklin was a town and a part of Southampton County.

The following are some of the headlines from The Tidewater News in 1961:

April 20, 1961
Hospital contract awarded

Construction of the new 108-bed Southampton Memorial Hospital at the west end of Franklin will probably begin in the next 10 days.

Acting on a recommendation from the Building and Executive committees, the hospital board came to terms with the low bidder Harry Graham of Ashland on April 17. John M. Camp Jr. is chairman of the finance committee and J.H. Holland is chairman of the building committee.

Over $250,000 was cut from Graham’s original bid of $2.47 million.

Sol W. Rawls Jr., president of the hospital board of directors, said a letter of intent will be mailed to Graham, stating that the board has awarded him the contract.

Graham is expected to have his men on the job in 10 days.

(Southampton Memorial Hospital replaced Raiford Memorial Hospital. The original Raiford Hospital was founded by Dr. Rufus L. Raiford in 1919 and was in a house at Johnson’s Mill Road and Sycamore Avenue in Sedley.

In 1929, the hospital was relocated to Franklin and housed in the former Virginian Hotel at Second Avenue and Main Street.

Soon after the new hospital was built, Raiford Hospital was torn down to make way for Rose’s Department Store. Floor to Ceiling is currently located in the building.

The property occupied by today’s hospital at North High Street and Fairview Drive was a part of Hillview Farm, owned by the Rawls family).

Camp Guernsey cows set production records

Three registered Guernsey cows owned by William M. Camp Sr. of Holliknoll Farm in Franklin recently completed official production records with the American Cattle Club of Petersborough, N.H.

In production records supervised by VPI officials, Holliknoll Proud Candy, a 3-year-old, compiled the best record, giving 12,420 pounds of milk and 630 pounds of fat in twice-daily milking for 296 days.

Holliknoll Lucky Star, a 7-year-old, turned out 11,470 pounds of milk and 545 pounds of fat in 300 days and Southampton Sequel, an 8-year-old, was good for 10,920 pounds of milk and 521 pounds of fat in 305 days.

(Holliknoll Farm in 1961 was located on both sides of North High Street from Homestead Road to Fairview Drive and included what is now Wynnwood Drive, Crescent Drive to Fairview Drive and Forest Pine Apartments.

Later, Holliknoll Farm became the name of William M. Camp Jr.’s farm in Isle of Wight County.)

April 24, 1961
Editorial, Southampton’s new hospital

How many counties have enough public-spirited citizens and enough energy to finance and build a modern 108-bed hospital — especially counties with less that 30,000 population. Not many.

But Southampton has done it.

Construction will begin next week on the $2.8 million building. When finished, in 1963, it will provide our area with one of the best hospitals in the state. It is the legacy of today’s generation to coming generations. It means that our area will have adequate medical facilities for years and years.

The over $1 million raised locally is a lot of money. But, as much as it is, in the long run, the new hospital should prove to be a very economical move.

April 27, 1961
Indians remain unbeaten, blank Broncos 5-0

The Franklin High School baseball team was defeated by Southampton High School 5-0. While ace Indian lefthander Doug Tucker sat in the stands recovering from the mumps, right-hander Johnny Rawls, in his first complete game, threw 12 strikeouts and held the Broncos to five hits.

Bronco standouts were Jerry Eubanks, George Jakeman, Charlie Moore, Earl Vann and Billy Allmond.

CLYDE PARKER is a retired human resource manager for the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a Southampton Historical Society member. He can be reached at