Drake, Piette named to VNB board

Published 9:38 pm Thursday, January 22, 2015

By Clyde Parker

January 23, 1965

Clifford A. Cutchins III, Senior Vice President of Virginia National Bank in Norfolk and Chairman of the Bank’s Franklin Board, has announced appointment of Roger W. Drake and James M. Piette to Franklin Board membership effective immediately.

The appointments were made by a unanimous vote of Virginia National Bank’s Board of Directors at its organizational meeting in Norfolk on Tuesday.

The following men were RE-ELECTED to the Franklin Board: James Floyd Briggs Sr., John M. Camp Jr., Paul Ryland Camp, Dr. Kurt Hirsch, George H. Parker, Daniel K. Peak, Sol W. Rawls Sr., Dr. Burton J. Ray and W. Eldridge Smith.

The Virginia National Bank Norfolk Board also re-elected R. Cosby Moore as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. W. Wright Harrison continues as President.

Earlier, at a Virginia National Bank’s shareholders meeting, James L. Camp, Jr., Chairman of the Executive Committee of Union Bag-Camp Paper Corporation and Cutchins were re-elected to the Norfolk Board.

Other business included approval for the merger of Virginia National Bank with The Bank of Glade Spring, The Peoples Bank of Farmville, and First National Bank of Gate City.

When final approval by the Comptroller of the Currency is given, Virginia National Bank will be operating a total of 54 offices in 28 Virginia communities.

Roger Drake currently serves as President of both Franklin Equipment Company and Franklin Auto Supply Company, Inc. He is a native of Boykins. During World War II, he served with the combat engineers in Germany.

Drake is a member of the Franklin Rotary Club and is a director of the Franklin Chamber of Commerce. He serves on the Board of Deacons of Franklin Baptist Church.

Piette presently serves as Resident Manager of the Franklin mill of Union Bag-Camp Paper Corporation. A native of Appleton, Wisconsin, he attended Purdue University. During World War II, he served with the United States Marine Corp.

He serves on the Executive Board of the Old Dominion Area Council, Boy Scouts of America. He recently was appointed to the Board of the City of Franklin Redevelopment and Housing Authority. He is a vice president of the Franklin Chamber of commerce. And, he is a member of St. Jude’s Catholic Church.

Following their formal election, Cutchins commented, “In my opinion, both Roger Drake and Jim Piette will make excellent additions to our Franklin Board. Their experience will enable us to better serve an important segment of the population of Southampton County and Franklin.”




Three downtown business locations, according to various sources connected with economic development, are prime locations for new businesses. Physical location is the primary consideration. Buildings that occupy the property are secondary. The idea is to modernize downtown Franklin. Storefront facades on many businesses have already been altered to reflect more modern standards.

Speculation has centered on Peeble’s Department Store and Sears Roebuck as being two concerns that would most likely move to new locations and erect structures with modern appearances.

The property occupied by the Stonewall Hotel, on the southeastern corner of Main Street and Fourth Avenue, is considered by many to be a prime location for another business.

To many people, though, the Stonewall Hotel, built in the early 1900s, is an iconic and historic landmark that should be retained. The hotel is considered by many people, both local and from “far and wide,” to be the most recognizable and the most symbolic structure in Franklin’s landscape. It is owned by Thomas Hilton. The interior of the building needs to be restructured but the outer walls are solid. The hotel business is in decline.

On the northeastern corner of Main Street and Fourth Avenue and across Fourth Avenue from the Stonewall Hotel is the “Franklin Theater”.. It is owned by Hal Lyon Enterprises which also owns Lyon’s State Theater on South Main Street. The land on which the “Franklin Theater” stands is considered a prime location for a new or relocated business. That theater is now closed and is advertised “for sale”. As with the Stonewall, the Franklin Theater, built in the 1920s, is another one of Franklin’s historic structures. Some people would like to see that building retained and put to good use.

W. T. Pace Hardware, built in 1905, is located on the northeastern corner of Main Street and Second Avenue. According to some people in authority, it, too, is considered a prime location for a “modern business”. Mr. Pace said that he has no present plans to sell the property but would do so if the price is right. The building is in good condition.

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 magnolia101@charter.net