David Flickwir and the Tunkhannock Viaduct ?

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sun Mar 9 21:21:04 EDT 2008

On Mar 9, 2008, at 12:09 PM, NW Mailing List wrote:

> Concerning my post yesterday on David Flickwir...

> Flickwir's mansion (built 1906) was at 903 S. Jefferson Street,

> Roanoke, and apparently still stands, being known now as the

> "Fralin House" of the Jefferson College of Health Sciences. (Why

> not the "Flickwir House," since David Flickwir was a great

> benefactor of the Roanoke Hospital ?)


> Can anyone find Flickwir's obit in the Roanoke paper, and post it

> here?

Since Abe tossed the gauntlet down...

Fralin was a huge contributor to many charitable things in the
Roanoke area, and the family is still here. I think the idea was
maybe we can get more since there is still Fralin family in Roanoke,
and, as you noted, there was no other Flickwir relatives here or nearby.

The obituary in the Roanoke confirms some of the things mentioning
the New Jersey Cutoff, Tunkhannock Viaduct and many construction
projects for the N&W. The paper reported on the front page that D. W.
Flickwir died at 4:25 pm on October 31, 1935 after a brief illness at
age 83. There is no mention of where his funeral was, or where he is
buried, but I can make a few educated guesses at that, and may have
that answered in a week or so. There was also a Flickir Coal Company
in Salem, located along the Catawba Branch, but I have no idea when
it disappeared.

The N&W Magazine reported his passing with the following article.

From Norfolk and Western Magazine, November 1935
A Business Leader, Plallantlropist, and "Doctor Of Humane Letters".
He Will Be Sorely Mlssed.

One the evening of October 31, the flag for the General Office
Buildings was lowered to half mast-the second time within a week. D.
W. Flickwir, chairman of the Executive Committee, Norfolk and Western
Board of Directors, and a long-time loyal friend of the Family, had
passed away. One of the builders of the old Shenandoah Valley
Railroad-now that part of our line between Roanoke and Hagerstown-
Mr.Flickwir was actively interested in the development and operation
of our railroad from 1879 until late in 1895.

From March 23, 1916, until his death he was a member of our Board of
Directors. In the interim he executed a number of construction
contracts for the Norfolk and Western, being in the general
contracting business.

His interest in our company, its employees, and the welfare of both,
never flagged. Perhaps most readers particularly those outside of
Roanoke- will best remember him as the one who on behalf of the Board
of Directors, presented the Diamond Insignia of the Norfolk and
Western Veterans Association to A. C. Needles on July 1, 1933. (See
the MAGAZINE July 1933, page 230.) During the 56-year period
following 1879 he was in close touch with the progress of the Norfolk
and Western System and its predecessors lines.

Mr. Flickwir was civic minded in the fullest sense of the term.
Becoming a resident of Roanoke in 1881, when that city was still
known as Big Lick, he was constantly a useful and outstanding
citizen. To quote from the editorial columns of the Roanoke Times:

"Big of body, big of mind, big of heart-that general contracting
work. describes Mr. Flickwir. For many years he had worked,
unostentatiously but effectively, to promote the upbuilding and
progress of Roanoke, and those who know the constructive strides
taken by the city in the last quarter of a century do not need to be
told that the vision, loyalty, faith and courage of this fine citizen
are inextricably and permanently written into the record of this
interesting and important period of its history.

"An uncommonly keen and sagacious business man, Mr. Flickwir had the
wisdom to realize that it takes more than bricks and stones to make a
city. That realization found expression in myriad services and
benefactions, for the most part not matters of public record or
public knowledge because Mr. Flickwir chose to have it that way.
Extremely generous though he was, he had a distaste for publicity and
was one of those who 'do good by stealth'."

Your MAGAZINE has recorded (page 191, March, 1925) one of his
benefactions to Roanoke—-the presentation of a four-story unit to
Roanoke Hospital. The construction of this unit was supervised by Mr.
Flickwir and he assumed its entire cost. Because of his civic service
and philanthropies, Roanoke College, Salem, Va., conferred upon him,
on June 4, 1934, the degree of "Doctor of Humane Letters" an unusual

David Williamson Flickwir was born in Philadelphia Pa., on September
26, 1852, and first entered railroad work in 1879 as a construction
engineer on the Shenandoah Valley. In 1883 he was made engineer
Becoming a resident of Roanoke in 1881, and superintendent of that
road. In 1890 he was appointed general superintendents Eastern
General Division of the Norfolk and Western Railroad, and served in
that capacity until February 1, 1895, when he resigned. Between 1896
and 1915 he engaged in general contracting work. On March 23, 1916,
he was elected a member of the Board of Directors of our Company and
in the same year also was elected chairman of the Executive Committee
of the Board.

Submitted for your approval

Ken Miller

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