Looking Back

Published 11:52 am Wednesday, March 27, 2019

By Clyde Parker

March 27, 1919

New garage opens

The Norfleet Motor Corp., a new Franklin enterprise, begins this week under the direction of Mr. Jesse C. Norfleet, a well-known and practical machinist of long experience. The new company, which is composed of a number of local stockholders, purposes to conduct a general garage and motor service business, doing general repair work and representing the “VELIE” automobile in this territory.

The company is located in the big brick building facing on Second Avenue just back of W.H. Lankford’s furniture store and extending almost to Franklin Street. This building is well adapted to the needs of the new concern, giving them ample room for offices, machine shop, and storage capacity for at least 30 cars. Many people will want to avail themselves of the business’s capacity for winter-time storage of their motor cars. Spring is here now but winter will come.

With the ever-widening increase in the use of automobiles, Norfleet Motor Corp. will doubtless be kept busy as the modern motor car is here to stay and is already in almost universal use for pleasure, business, commerce, and agriculture. The especial attention of our readers is directed to the Norfleet advertisement on page three of this week’s Tidewater News.

Concrete road is coming

At a conference with State Highway Commissioner Clements Coleman, in Richmond, on Tuesday of last week, General C.C. Vaughan of Franklin and Senator W.J. Sebrell of Courtland laid plans for the immediate construction of a 16-foot concrete road between Courtland and Franklin. This will be one of several links, to be started in a few weeks, on the Norfolk to Richmond superhighway, a concrete road that will be one of the Class “A” highways of the great system of permanent roads provided under what is known as the “Swanson Bill.” The legislation was approved by the United States Congress just a few weeks ago.

The Franklin-Courtland link will tie in with links connecting Franklin, Carrsville, Holland, Suffolk and Magnolia; Magnolia, Driver, Portsmouth and Norfolk; and a five-mile stretch from the City of Norfolk into Norfolk and Princess Anne counties toward Virginia Beach. A concrete road is now being constructed between the cities of Petersburg and Richmond. Another link will connect Courtland with Sebrell, and then on up to Littleton, Homeville, and Petersburg.

With all of the forgoing described linkages being constructed and connected, within a space of just a few more months, the Norfolk-Richmond highway, sometimes described as the “Ridge Route,” will be an accomplished fact.

General Vaughan, who first put the “Ridge Route” on the map, so to speak, and who has availed himself of each and every opportunity to present his proposals to the State Highway Commission, deserves much credit for this highly significant connection between the state’s two most populous metropolitan areas. And, the resulting connectivity also gives linkage and accessibility to and from the rural towns and counties along the way.

In addition, General Vaughan’s influence with Tidewater Automobile Association, Bankhead Highway Pathfinders, and to other “good-roads” bodies, has brought about quick action and accelerated construction timelines that have, so far, and will, in short order, facilitate an amazingly early completion of the overall project.

Following his retirement from the U.S. Army last year, with the rank of Major General (two stars), General Vaughan, has devoted most of his time in pursuit of better roadways throughout the eastern part of Virginia.

Yet, he is still devoting time and attention to Vaughan & Company, Bankers — a family-owned banking institution dating back to 1887.


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.