Friends and family, local government officials and representatives of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) gathered on Aug. 3 to dedicate a bridge to Harbert F. Edwards. The newly named Harbert F. Edwards Memorial Bridge, complete with a sign, crosses Little Reed Creek on U.S. 58 in Hillsville.
According to resolutions adopted by the Hillsville Town Council and the Carroll County Board of Supervisors, Edwards “was a person of outstanding morals and personal integrity who by giving considerable land for road development excelled at helping others. As a farmer and agriculturalist, he owned approximately 500 acres at the west end of Hillsville from which he gave land to build the first Hillsville by-pass known as Highway 58 which connects Hillsville and Galax.”
The resolutions went on to say that Edwards “exhibited considerable respect for others by giving land that he worked very hard to acquire and sacrifice for the betterment of the county, its citizens and other motorists traveling Route 58.”
Edwards’ descendants later gave additional land from the property so that U.S. 58 could be broadened from two lanes to four lanes, and provided additional land for the new U.S. 58 by-pass and other VDOT projects.
“I want to express our thanks to everyone who worked to make this dedication possible, and I’d like to thank all who were able to make it here today,” said Roger Webb, one of Edwards’ nine grandchildren.
Webb went on to say that Edwards, who was born on May 17, 1873 and died on May 11, 1943, traveled west at one point, farming in Oregon and Missouri before returning to Carroll County to set down roots.
“We appreciate the sacrifice on his part, but are thankful he had the foresight that the people of the county, as well as he, would benefit from,” said Webb. “A substantial amount of his farm has been resorbed by this road, and we are glad the contribution he made to the county is being acknowledged this way.”
In opening statements, County Administrator Gary Larrowe thanked the Edwards family past and present for their “willingness” to provide land for the improvement of U.S. 58, while Supervisor Bob Martin said the named Edwards represented one of the “most prominent families in Carroll County.
“If you look in the phone book, Dalton is the only more prominent name than Edwards,” said Martin.