Looking Back: Airway Motor Lodge opens off Route 58

Published 11:13 am Friday, November 2, 2012

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


The brand-new Airway Motor Lodge is scheduled to open Monday. The 26-unit motel, located just east of Franklin on busy U.S. Route 58, next to the Franklin Municipal Airport, is a project of the Franklin Chamber of Commerce. Built at a cost of $340,000, the motel is being financed by local individuals and Tidewater Bank and Trust Co. in Franklin.

The Airway, a member of the “Quality Courts” association, will have a swimming pool, free TV in each unit, air conditioning, baby cribs, room telephones, free ice, and wall-to-wall carpeting. A walkway connects the motel to the Airway Restaurant.

Sol W. Rawls, Jr. is president of the motel, Robert C. Ray is vice president, George H. Parker, Jr. is secretary and John T. Claud is treasurer and manager.


The milk processing and distribution part of Hunterdale Farms has been sold to Pet Milk Company, according to Gordon Bridges, Hunterdale Farms Manager, and R. H. Steadham, Manager of the PET plant in Franklin.

Pet Milk Co., based in Johnson City, Tennessee, has served the Franklin area for many years with the ‘’PET” ice cream brand.

Back In April, Pet bought Pine Grove Dairy in Norfolk County, which purchases 85 percent of the milk production of dairy farmers located in Southampton County. Now, Hunterdale Farms will sell and ship its milk in bulk to Pine Grove. After milk for Franklin area customers is processed by Pine Grove and packaged with the “Pet” label, it will be sent to the Pet Plant in Franklin for distribution.

Romie Green, who is a long-time home delivery route salesman for Hunterdale Farms, will be retained by Pet and will continue to serve his customers except the brand will be “Pet” instead of “Hunterdale Dairy.”

Although Bridges will no longer be involved with milk processing and distribution, he will continue to operate the farm. It is one of the largest dairy farms in Southampton County. There are 100 Guernsey milking cows, 109 acres of land for raising feed, and 50 acres of pasture.

Co-owners of Hunterdale Farms are Gordon Bridges and Hunter Scott.

Other community dairy farmers that provide milk to Pine Grove include: Cadmus Stephenson, Zuni; T. J. Ashburn, Suffolk; J. M. Babb, Ivor; Carl Branch, Ivor; Walter Young, Franklin; William Bradshaw, Franklin; William Camp, Franklin; W. H. Rose, Carrsville; Clifford Cutchins, Franklin; H.G. Dashiell, Smithfield; Mrs. R. F. Fahy, Franklin.


“Your hair will be as white as mine by the time we get through with these court cases,” John M. Camp, Chairman of the Southampton County Board of Supervisors, told a fellow supervisor at Monday’s meeting.

He was referring to and commenting on the fact that the Board wanted to settle the COUNTY-CITY SCHOOL CASE and a possible ANNEXATION effort by the City of Franklin before getting involved in, or pursuing, any other complicated legal matters.

NOTE: When Franklin became an independent city in December of 1961, even though Camp was a resident of the City, he continued to serve on the County Board of Supervisors. He was in his most recent of several terms as the elected supervisor for the Franklin District of Southampton County.

Prior to Franklin’s city status, the Franklin District of Southampton County included Franklin and areas immediately surrounding the town including Hunterdale, Delaware and Forks of the River.

Of course, after Franklin became an independent city, Camp could no longer represent Franklin citizens. But, he could still represent the people that were residing in the remaining parts of the Franklin District for the duration of his current term and for as long as he continued to be elected.

Mike Johnson, Southampton County Administrator, provided this excerpt of the State Statue governing this situation: “Any county officer who resides in the county or in any town therein, and has an established home therein, which homesite becomes a part of a city after such officer’s election or appointment, shall not vacate his office by reason of his residence in the city, but shall continue to hold such office so long as he is successively elected or appointed to the office held by him at the time of the transition.”

In July of 1962, Camp was, again, elected Chairman by vote of his fellow Board members.