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Historical Profile: George P. Coleman
By Nancy E. Sheppard

Coleman imageEvery year, thousands cross the George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge, which connects Yorktown to Gloucester. This important draw bridge has served as an important thoroughfare for transportation since 1952. But who was the namesake of this bridge?

George Preston Coleman was born in Williamsburg on May 4, 1870. After completing his education at the College of William and Mary, Mr. Coleman worked in engineering in Mississippi, Georgia, West Virginia, and served as the city engineer for Winona, Minnesota from 1901- 1906. During this time, he married Mary H. Begg before life brought the couple right back to Coleman’s hometown.

Throughout his life, Mr. Coleman wore many "hats.” He served as president of the Peninsula Bank and Trust Company, Williamsburg Finance Corporation, Jamestown Corporation, Williamsburg Inn, Inc., Williamsburg Gazette, Noting First Mortgage, and Richmond’s South Atlantic Corporation. He also served as the director of the American Gas Association Co. and Signal Service (Elizabeth, New Jersey) and the Argaloy Tubing Company (Springfield, Ohio). From 1913 to 1922, Mr. Coleman served as the head of the Virginia Highway Commission and was elected Mayor of Williamsburg from 1929 to 1934. Additionally, Mr. Coleman organized the Virginia Road Builders Association and the Virginia Good Road Association, in which he served as president of for three terms.

George P. Coleman passed away on June 16, 1948 from coronary thrombosis. He was interred at Bruton Parrish Church in Williamsburg. Given his advocacy and participation in roadbuilding throughout the Commonwealth, Mr. Coleman was the obvious choice to honor when it was announced that the bridge would be erected.

Check out next week’s Yorktown Crier- Poquoson Post for the history of the George P. Coleman Bridge!

 





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