Looking Back: Norfolk officials offer redevelopment tips to Franklin Chamber

Published 9:14 am Friday, April 20, 2012

EDITOR’S NOTE: Looking Back features past articles from The Tidewater News with commentary by local historian Clyde Parker.

April 20, 1962


Two City of Norfolk officials have been engaged by the Franklin Chamber of Commerce to put on a seminar in reference to housing redevelopment.

Lawrence Cox heads the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, which is transforming the slums of Norfolk into a “Golden Triangle,” a project which has been noted all over the country.

Pretlow Darden, a Southampton County native who resides in Norfolk, has been connected with Norfolk redevelopment for many years. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at 3 p.m. in the City Hall Courtroom.

Chamber President William Camp considers housing redevelopment one of Franklin’s primary needs.

“It has been a Chamber project for many years,” he said.

Several years ago, when Franklin was still a part of the county, a referendum on a proposal to set up a housing authority for Franklin produced a 2-to-1 margin for approval in Franklin, but was defeated by a 4-to 1-margin in Southampton County.

Now, as a city, Franklin has the right to act independently. The housing authority issue along with Franklin’s desire to control public schools are the two main issues that prompted Franklin to seek city status.


Power affects different men different ways. For some, it means a personal responsibility to do their best.

Sol Rawls Sr. of Franklin belongs in that category. This was demonstrated while serving on the Commonwealth of Virginia Highway Commission. Serving under eight different governors and longer than any other person, Rawls first took his seat on the Commission back in 1933.

“In the early days, the bigger problem was not maintaining and upgrading existing roads but building entirely new ones to communities without adequate access,” he said.

At a recent banquet, after his retirement from the Commission, he was honored by other Commission members and highway engineers alike for the job he has done.


The Committee for Individual Thinking and Voting is to be commended for taking an active interest in the ongoing Franklin City Council election campaign. We think, however, that the unsigned letter, which they recently sent to a number of people doesn’t make sense and is overstated and misguided.

The anonymous letter states that it is something “dark and ominous” for four incumbent members of the Council to join with newcomer Roger Drake in announcing as a slate for the five at-large Council seats. The incumbents are Dr. Darden Jones, Carl Steinhardt, Floyd Briggs and Dellie Cotton. The letter, hinting of socialism on the part of those five candidates, suggests that this is the type of thing one would expect to read in Russia’s “Pravda” newspaper rather than in a local newspaper. We do not see their point. Quite the contrary, we suggest to the “committee” that a slate of men announcing for a City Council is something that could be expected in St. Louis, Des Moines, Norfolk or Seattle.

It is logical that men working on a governmental body would want men with them with whom they could differ on issues yet work in harmony. Still, even though there is a group of five men who say they are running as a “slate”, four other men are running: Warren Councill, Maxie Day, Dr. John Murray and Robert Pretlow. And, when the people vote, they will vote for five candidates, individually, from a field of nine people listed on the ballot. That is what counts. This is democracy.


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The contest is designed to make The Tidewater News the most widely read weekly newspaper in southside Virginia. Contestants who do not receive one of the first four prizes will receive 20 percent cash commissions on all subscription money he or she collects. Basically, the rules allow anyone of mature age to sell subscriptions to The Tidewater News. The persons who are the top sellers will be declared winners.