The Phoebe Needles Center

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Thu Mar 3 23:17:01 EST 2016

On Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 12:41 PM, abram wrote:

By the way, can anyone supply President Needles' middle name?  I had always
> thought it to have been Cushman, but some information seems to indicate
> otherwise.

How about Chase?

Bruce in Blacksburg


Bora January 10, 1867—Died October 25, 1936
President, Norfolk and Western Railway Company, 1924-1936
The Board of Directors of the Norfolk and Western Railway Company records
with deep regret the death of Arthur Chase Needles, on Sunday, October
twenty-fifth, 1936, in his seventieth year. Mr. Needles was born January
tenth, 1867, at Baltimore, Maryland, and was educated at Swarthmore
College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. He began his railroad career in 1882 as
a rodman with the Washington, Ohio and Western Railroad Company, and on
July first, 1883, he came in the same capacity to the engineering
department of this Company's predecessor, the Norfolk and Western Railroad
Company. In the same year, he transferred to the transportation department
and was consecutively yard clerk, brakeman, yard master, Assistant
Trainmaster, Trainmaster, Assistant Superintendent, Superintendent, General
Superintendent, General Manager, Vice-president in charge of Operation and
Traffic, advancing on May first, 1924, to the position of President of the
Company. He was also a member of the Company's Board of Directors, as well
as its Finance and Executive Committees, and in point of service was the
second oldest Director upon said Board. During the period of Federal
control of railroads, he acted as Federal Manager of the Company's property
and was a member of the General Operating Committee of the Eastern
railroads. Mr. Needles' span of service with the Norfolk and Western,
amounting to more than half a century, virtually covered the period of
development of the railroad from a struggling carrier, born of the
consolidation of several short lines, to its present enviable rank among
the foremost transportation systems of the country. Under his direction the
Company's railroad and equipment were maintained at a high standard of
efficiency during the long depression, its outstanding debt was materially
reduced through the use of surplus earnings and at the same time reasonable
dividends to the owners of the property were continued. As one who had come
up the ladder from the lowest rung, Mr. Needles knew intimately the
problems of the men in the various departments and positions. He had the
faculty in exceptional degree of inspiring confidence and loyalty among
those under him and he was held in the highest esteem, amounting in many
cases to strong personal affection, by the entire organization. There was
absolute confidence in his leadership, reflecting the feeling that was
general that he was not only first in authority but also first in knowledge
of the road's problems and affairs. Rugged, energetic, whole-souled, he
demanded of others the same absolute loyalty that he himself gave in
unstinted measures to the railroad in whose success he has had such a very
large part. Mr. Needles' nature had a charitable side none the less
pronounced for the unassuming and often anonymous manner of his
benefactions. In recording the death of Arthur Chase Needles, the Board
bears testimony to the value of his long, efficient and intelligent service
and to his fidelity to duty and earnestness of purpose which have
characterized more than half a century of devotion to the interests of the

Annual Report, Norfolk and Western Railway Company, December 31, 1936. Page
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