Looking back: Another Franklin by-pass is proposed

Published 10:04 am Friday, August 8, 2014

by Clyde Parker

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

August 8, 1964

The State Highway Department continues to look at various options for a by-pass around Franklin. Both State and local officials agree that one is needed; the State is pushing for one to happen within the next two to three years.

On Monday night in front of the Franklin City Council, Franklin City Manager Harold Atkinson pointed out the most recent proposal by the State for a U. S. Route 58 by-pass around downtown Franklin. A straight line from Rose’s Corner (the intersection of Delaware Road and U. S. Route 58) just west of Franklin, following a straight-line course, to a point next to Franklin Municipal Airport and across the road from Franklin Concrete Products Corp. on Route 58 east of Franklin, is the current thinking.

This most recent proposal caught City Council off-guard. The route as outlined by Atkinson would cross and divide some of the most valuable real estate in Franklin. It would disrupt several major farming operations: namely, Deerpath Farms owned by Clifford Cutchins and Cecil Vaughan, Council Plant Farm owned by J. P. Council and Son, Hillview Farm owned by the Sol Rawls family, Holliknoll Farm owned by William Camp, and River Road Farm owned by the Bob Ray family. And, many residential properties would be in jeopardy.

The route is approximately four miles long. The land over which it would cross is zoned for farming under the City’s subdivision ordinance. Interchanges at major existing street and road crossings would be put in. A new bridge across the Blackwater River, north of the Second Avenue bridge would be constructed.

An earlier by-pass proposal using existing West Clay Street and an extended Lee Street across the Blackwater River was rejected because it was “too close in” and would not adequately alleviate traffic from the central part of Franklin. Some believe that this most recent by-pass proposal is also “too close in.” With an eye toward the future, it should swing much further out from Franklin’s core environs.


The downtown Franklin bulk storage installation of Pretlow Peanut Co., on which work began in early May, is now ready for use. Most of the work was completed by mid-June. Finishing touches have been going on since then. Construction cost was $75,000.

The new bulk storage installation is so constructed that unloading can be controlled by pushbutton from the mill. There are six valves in the conveyance mechanism which can be controlled by remote buttons, with one or more being worked at a time.

The next step in the Pretlow expansion program will be the installation of COLD storage facilities.


Redevelopment in Franklin will be officially launched if the Franklin City Council approves the first project proposed by the City of Franklin Redevelopment and Housing Authority. The newly formed Authority after careful consideration has selected the west portion of Area 3 on South Street, near the Hayden Schools, as its first project.

If the highest priority for redevelopment is the area considered to be the most blighted, then most people believe that Area 1 should be the first project — not Area 3. Area 1 is a 22-acre blighted neighborhood, known as Berkley, between the back of Franklin High School and the National Guard Armory. It was generally this area, considered to be the most wretched slum in the City that stirred public opinion for redevelopment and the establishment of the Franklin Redevelopment and Housing Authority in the first place. Franklin voters, by a vote of 575 for and 349 against, approved, in a referendum in July of last year, the establishment of an Authority.

Authority members selected the South Street area first because they believed there would be difficulty in bringing about the reuse of the Berkley area once it is cleared of sub-standard housing. When people are displaced, suitable housing must be readily available. Redevelopment of the South Street area would not displace as many people as the Berkley area would. So, time is needed to further study the situation and come up with a plan for the Berkley area that would include suitable housing for displaced people.

CLYDE PARKER is a retired human resources manager for the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a member of the Southampton County Historical Society. His email address is cpjeep99@yahoo.com