Looking back: Colgate Darden goes to war zone

Published 11:33 am Friday, May 20, 2016

MAY 20, 1916
Colgate Whitehead Darden Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Darden, of this community, leaves this week for New York City; from there, he will sail for France and the battle line of the entente allies. There, he will join the American Ambulance Corps, a body of patriotic Americans who are giving their services to the combatants in the LaBelle, France region.

Europe is in the midst of the terrible world war.

Darden is a graduate of Franklin High School. He recently left the University of Virginia after completing two years.

Young Darden is going to France with Robert Kent Gooch, former football star at the University of Virginia, who was with the Ambulance Corps last year and returned to America in June from Verdun where his Corps was at work. Darden and Gooch will sail on the French Line steamer “La Touraine” and land at Bordeaux. From there, they will go to Paris. And, from Paris, they will be transferred to the front. Mr. Darden, who views his hazardous undertaking with eager enthusiasm and anticipation, does not know exactly where he will end up.

For security reasons, his people will only hear from him as being somewhere in France. All mail to him should be addressed to Paris. It will be forwarded to the front from there. His many friends wish him a great time and a safe return.

(NOTE: Not too long after arriving and serving in the Ambulance Corps, Darden contracted malaria and was sent home. After recovering from that, he received his pilot wings and returned to France as a marine aviator after the United States entered the war in 1917. About two weeks before the Armistice, Darden was seriously injured in a bomber crash. He was hospitalized for about 10 months.

After recovering from his injuries, he returned to the University of Virginia and graduated in 1922. He received an MA from Columbia University in 1923.

In 1927, he married Constance Simons du Pont.

In later years, Darden was governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia (1942-1946); United States congressman (1933-1937) and (1939-1941); delegate to the United Nations; Chancellor of the College of William and Mary; and president of the University of Virginia (1947-1959).

Darden died on June 9, 1981. He is buried in the family cemetery at Beechwood (also known as Jericho) near Sedley.)

Knight Drug Company remodels

Recognizing the value of modern equipment in progressive business methods, the Knight Drug Company in Franklin, one of the best drug stores to be found in any southern town, has recently put in a beautiful new front of plate glass and marble. This remodeling makes it a very attractive building from the exterior, and has transformed the interior, as well, by reason of the light-refracting qualities of the solid glass show windows. The large prismatic glass panel over the display windows and door add greatly to the allure of the building.

The woodwork on the new front is handsomely finished in mahogany. Mahogany floor showcases have been installed to match the front. A massive mahogany soda fountain was installed a few years ago.

The interior of the store was recently finished in pure-white brascolite electric fixtures. The artificial illumination is excellent.

Another new and modern fixture installed is a refrigerated candy case of white enameled metal. The case has double glass sides and tops with a refrigerator compartment in the center. In hot weather, candy will be kept in perfect condition. The case has a separate compartment for keeping bacterins and vaccines. By storing these essential elements of modern medicine in a thoroughly cold compartment, absolute freshness and freedom from deterioration is assured.

Mr. George H. Parker, who has been associated with Knight Drug Company continuously since 1902, is now manager and one of the principal owners of the concern. He recently purchased the building from Mr. J.R. Knight, a successful businessman of our town, who established the store in 1887. Mr. Parker, who is thoroughly awake to the needs and requirements of a complete drug store, is an unusually capable young businessman. He is constantly improving the business in scope and efficiency.

Although varied lines of sundries characteristic of all good drug stores are carried, the dominant idea in the business is that of a thoroughly reliable and trustworthy pharmacy. No pharmaceutical is secondary to the total business. Accuracy and service are emphasized not only with prescriptions but also with staple and proprietary medicines.

Mr. Parker wants it to be known that Knight Drug Company is a major outlet for “Victrola” mechanical music playing machines.

(NOTE: A little later, Mr. Parker assumed total ownership of Knight Drug Co. and renamed it Parker Drug Co.)

Palace Cafe’ is new enterprise

A long-felt need for a first-class restaurant in Franklin has been admirably filled by the new “Palace Café,” which was opened for business this week in the store building, on South Main Street, that was formerly occupied by the City Grocery Company. L.E. Derr, proprietor of the Daisy Bakery, is owner of the new café, and C.C. Hayes, a restaurant man of experience, is in charge.

The new café is fitted-up in the most modern manner with marbletop tables, steel chairs, etc. A tempting menu will be maintained at all times at reasonable prices. The café will give a 7-day service, and will be open every evening until 11 o’clock.

The kitchen is on the second floor, insuring patrons against the usual heat and odors so objectionable where kitchen and dining room are on the same floor. Mr. Derr will appreciate the patronage of the public, and especial attention will be given to ladies and children.

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