Eastern Shore History

Parksley Virginia in 1929

The following came from the "University of Virginia Record Extension Series" An Economic and Social Survey of Accomac County Vol. XIII, No. 9, March, 1929 pp 5 - 6. Chapter II. Chapter II has short sketches of the development of a number of the towns in Accomac County. The following sketch is about Parksley Va. and was written by H. R. Bennett.
By H. R. Bennett

"The town of Parksley was founded in February, 1885, the year after the completion of the New York, Philadelphia and Norfolk Railroad to Cape Charles, by Henry R. Bennett and Samuel T. Jones of Dover, Delaware, and Rev. J. A. B. Wilson of Philadelphia, who bought the Benj. F. Parkes' farm and on this site laid out the town. Later, surrounding lands to the extent of 400 acres were bought at a cost of $16,000, and these individuals joined by several others formed the Parksley Land Improvement Company."

"Parksley is located in the approximate geographical center of Accomac County five miles from Pocomoke Sound and seven miles from Atlantic Ocean and at an elevation of forty-four feet above sea level. Here was located the court house before the laying out of Drummond town, the present county seat. The surrounding lands are of a good loam soil with red clay subsoil, well drained and underlain with pure water easily tapped by wells."

" At the time this town site was laid out the founders had a topographical survey made which established the streets, sidewalks and drainage lines. The streets are sixty feet wide. Additional foresight was shown in the reservation of a five acre site to be maintained as a park on the west side of the railroad and a one acre lot on the east side to be used as a playground. An additional five ac res were reserved for school buildings and two choice lots were granted to each church which applied for the same. The Methodist Episcopal Church, under the presiding eldership of Dr. J. A. B. Wilson, was the first to take advantage of this offer and to build in Parksley. It is interesting to note that the deed for this land was the first to be recorded in this County, and it is believed to be the first in the state of Virginia, which contained an absolute forfeiture clause which provided for absolute forfeiture of property rights if intoxicating liquors were made or sold on the premises or if gambling was permitted."

"Lying in the center of a rich agricultural and sea food section embryonic Parksley rapidly became a business center. Today [1929] it is connected with the main state highway by a hard surfaced road and contains a high school building valued at more than $80,000, two banks equipped with first-class buildings and with resources of more than $2,000,000, four high grade department stores drawing a large trade from all over the Shore, three general hardware and agricultural supply stores, two chain grocery stores, four ladies hat shops, two men's clothing stores, six general grocery stores, a well equipped hotel under competent management, two good restaurants, electric light and water service and an ice plant, two wholesale grocery houses, one gasoline distributing agency, one wood working plant, two cold storage warehouses, one grist mill, two saw mills, three machine shops, seven garages, four gasoline and oil supply stations, three barrel factories, one manufacturing plant for the production of oyster dredges and tongs and sweet potato vine cutters, three blacksmith shops, four general dry goods stores, one furniture store, two drug stores, a new government post-office completely equipped, one marble works, one wholesale bottling works, one wholesale ice cream plant, two dairies, three coal yards, one wholesale feed store, one mortuary establishment, three produce exchanges and a beauty shop. The health of the residents is well taken care of by four physicians and two dentists while recreation and beauty are added by the local theatre and a monument commemorating the Confederate dead. The present population is estimated to be more than 800 and the value of real estate is conservatively estimated at more than $3,000,000."

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Barbara Cox

Copyright © 1996 Most recent revision Friday, 4 July 1997 5:01:57 PM