Newport News Automobile Exchange   
3400 Huntington Avenue, Newport News, VA 23607
later (between 1962-1963) became
Hutchens Chevrolet
3400 Huntington Avenue, Newport News, VA 23607
later (sometime after 1981) moved to
12920 Jefferson Avenue, Newport News, VA 23608

1929 Newport News City Directory, p, 22  1954 Anchor, p. 149 1955 Anchor, p. 180 1962 Anchor, p. 190 1966 Anchor, p. 202
Courtesy of Tom Norris (HHS - '73) of VA - 12/10/04 Courtesy of Tom Norris (HHS - '73) of VA - 12/09/04 11/01/05 11/01/05 11/02/05
3400 Huntington Avenue, Newport News, VA 23607 12920 Jefferson Avenue, Newport News, VA

I am searching for information about an old business in Newport News.  Are (were) you familiar with the
"Newport News Automobile Exchange"?  Where was it located?  Was the name changed?  Did the company
merge with or evolve into another business?
  I moved to Newport News in 2001.  I find it interesting to learn the local history of the areas to which I move. 
 Perhaps you or someone with whom you are acquainted can enlighten me.
- Richard Amadon (Gardner HS, Gardner, MA  - '71) of VA - 11/01/05
Thanks, Richard!  Let's find out!

I was mentally/geographically locating 3400 Huntington Avenue and realized that it would have been at the foot
of the 34th Street Bridge. While I cannot look at the site due to firewalls at work, I know that one
of the old CRT bus images shows that bridge and perhaps a glimpse of the car dealership along with it.

Have a look, and if it does show some of it, you can forward the link to that image to Richard.
- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 11/01/05
Thanks, Dave!

The Newport News Automobile Exchange was located on the East side of Huntington Avenue at 34th Street. 
In 1946 it occupied nearly the entire 3400 block.  The company was a Chevrolet car and truck agency,
but they had an unusually large service department and did major repair work on all makes. 
They also had a huge used car business.  Founded in 1921 by John H. Watkins and Charles K . Hutchens. 
By 1946 Mr. Watkins was deceased and Mr. Hutchen's son had joined as Business Manager.


The above is from pages 90 - 92 of  Newport News' 325 Years, published 1946 for the 50th anniversary
of Newport News' chartering as a city.  It is available in the Virginiana Room at the Newport News Public
Library on Main Street in Hilton.  In Sept. 2000 I saw used copies for sale at a Phoebus book store. 
It is a must for anyone doing a historical study of the Peninsula.

- Fred Field ('45) of CA - 11/01/05
Thanks, Fred!
Newport News Auto Exchange was managed for many years by Mr. Hutchins. I believe it was Charlie Hutchins.
He purchased the firm, or simply changed the name when they moved from downtown Newport News, where
they occupied the entire block between 34th Street and 35th Street and between Huntington Avenue
and Warwick Boulevard.

When they moved north in the city, I cannot remember, but it seems to me it was after the merger of Newport News
and the County of Warwick.

I think they still trade as Hutchins Chevrolet today.
- Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 11/01/05
Thanks, Joe!
My dear husband, who is a walking book of trivia  information, said it was across from N. N. H. S.
on the southwest corner of Huntington Avenue.   It could have become a Dodge dealership later on.  The only other one would have been Hutchens Chevrolet. 
- Cathy Slusser Hudson ('64) of VA - 11/01/05
Thanks, Cathy!
Newport News Auto of the oldest Chevrolet dealerships in the Nation.  It was owned by the
C. K. Hutchens family. C. K. was a longtime, respected and popular, elected member of the Virginia House of Delegates. 
The sales manager at NN Auto Exchange  in the 1950's was a Mr. (Mark) Stockton, who had an only daughter,
Sue Stockton -- who I think attended Mary Baldwin College. came home, became an active Junior League member
(approx 1958), (was close friend of Dr. Mewborn's daughter, Jonzennie Mewborn ('53)). Sue Stockton married
a dentist and lives in Norton, VA (coal town in  Appalachia);  Sue had a daughter???  
The Hutchens family lived at the corner of Huntington Avenue and 56th Street.  In the late 1940's the Hutchens
moved to a home north of Hilton Village.  That house which they had on Westover Road was offered
for sale in 1960 for approx $32,000;  I was negotiating for the purchase and got cold feet -- backed out of the deal. 
It was a vary stately home on two lots...
The Bivens family (prominent-attorney) lived next door to the Hutchens home in the North End of NN.  ..
in large house with white columns(corner of 55th and Huntington Avenue). Dicky Bivens ('51) grew up there.
Back to NN Auto Exchange,  The Hutchins' sons took over the Business just as the city built a new bridge
at 34st and Huntington Avenue and the city acquired the property for the right of way...The two Hutchins brothers
(sons of C. K., the legislator) made the bold move of relocating the dealership,  way up in the deserted area of Jefferson Avenue, just north of Richneck Road and changed the name to Hutchens Chevrolet...I believe they had to borrow heavily and one of the brothers wanted out and soon sold out to the younger brother...The Hutchens Auto Dealership, which was so far out in the boon-docks a few years ago is now the hub of several auto dealerships on Jefferson Avenue just north of Denbigh Boulevard (and is very successful)...they are pretty much in the center of the newly migrating city of Newport News towards Williamsburg.  I have purchased many autos from that dealership from the time I purchased by first full sized, brand new Chevrolet, 2-door, 150 series,  from NN Auto Exchange in 1950 -- the auto cost $1,545.  The heater was extra and I did not purchase a heater for a year because I did not have the $29 ;  NN Auto Exchange installed one after some freezing nights parked with dates...hugging and kissing in the cold winter nights. 
NN Auto Exchange sponsored the Soapbox derby for kids, for which Mr. Stockton, the Sales manager
at NN Auto Exchange, was the local chairman...It was a big event on the 28th Street bridge in downtown NN for years. 

I think most of this is accurate...there may be some small errors?

- Bob Allen ('51) of VA - 11/01/05
Thanks, Bob!
The Auto Exchange was founded in 1921 by C. K. Hutchens and remained at 34th & Huntington Avenue
until the site was bought for the I-664 Project. They moved to 12920 Jefferson Avenue and now use
the name of Hutchens Chevrolet.
- Bruce Sims ('56) of VA - 11/02/05
Thanks, Bruce!
Hutchens began as NN Auto Exchange in 1921, and is the OLDEST continuously owned Chevrolet dealership in existence
(even more amazing, since the first Chevrolet was built only ten years prior, in 1911). The 1980-81 NN City Directory
still lists them at 34th and Huntington ... seems that they moved to the current location at 12920 Jefferson in the 1980s.

I was away from the area from 81 through 85, and it seems they had moved by the time I got back.
- Tom Norris (HHS - '73) of VA - 11/02/05
Thanks, Tom!

Walter Lewis Hutchens II

VIRGINIA BEACH - Walter L. Hutchens II, 83, died Tuesday, May 15, 2007. Known to his family and friends as 'Bud,' he was a lifelong resident of Newport News until 2005, when he moved to Virginia Beach to be close to his daughter and grandchildren. Born in Newport News, Oct. 17, 1923, he was the son of the late Charles Kunkle 'Charlie' Hutchens Sr., who served as a member of the House of Delegates of Virginia representing Newport News for 30 years, and Anne McErlain Hutchens. Mr. Hutchens attended St. Vincent dePaul in Newport News and was a graduate of Benedictine High School in Richmond, before entering the University of Notre Dame. His years at Notre Dame were interrupted by his proud service to his country in the U.S. Navy. When World War II ended, Mr. Hutchens immediately returned to South Bend to complete his education, graduating from Notre Dame with a degree in Commerce. Upon graduation, he came home to Newport News and began working for his father in the family automobile business, Hutchens Chevrolet. An active Peninsula businessman, Mr. Hutchens ultimately became a partner in Hutchens Chevrolet, as well as The Young Men's Shops and College Realty, a real estate and apartment complex partnership. Mr. Hutchens was a devoted parishioner at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church. He served as President of the Peninsula Rotary and on the board of directors of the War Museum of Virginia. He was a very active member of the James River Country Club, which his father had helped found, and a member of the Peninsula German Club. He always enjoyed a day of playing golf with his favorite foursome at the James River Country Club. He was an avid sports fan, especially collegiate sports and his enthusiasm for his daughter and grandchildren in their athletic endeavors was contagious and will be fondly remembered and cherished. He was preceded in death by his older brother, Charles Kunkle Hutchens Jr. Bud is survived by his only child, his daughter, Judge Pamela Elizabeth Hutchens and her husband, Richard A. Beskin, and two grandchildren, Alexander Dylan Albert and Caroline Elizabeth Albert, all of Virginia Beach. A nephew and four nieces also survive him. A funeral service will be conducted at 10 a.m. Friday, May 18, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, Newport News. Burial will follow in Peninsula Memorial Park. As a reflection of 'grandpop's' love for and support of student athletics, the family requests in lieu of flowers, any desired memorial donations be made to the Rockne Heritage Fund, University of Notre Dame, P.O. Box 519, Notre Dame, IN 46556 or Cape Henry Collegiate School Athletics, 1320 Mill Dam Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23454. Peninsula Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Published in the Daily Press from 5/17/2007 - 5/18/2007.
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(This page created 11/01/05 at the request of Richard Amadon -
Gardner HS, Gardner, MA - '71 - of VA.)

Animated Navy Flag clip art courtesy of - 06/18/03

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