In 1913, this land which had long been a part of huge Oneida County, became a more manageable area, christened Franklin County. Records indicate that there were some differing opinions among the populace as to where and when the courthouse would be located.
In the early spring of 1914 the editor of the Franklin County Citizen penned this bit of news. “We understand that there is a movement on foot by the Commercial club and other bodies, that in view of the fact that the new county has been put to considerable expense, that they are diametrically opposed to the building of a court house in any part of the county for the next four years.
“There are about 2,200 voters in the entire county and Preston has half of these. And we are still growing. “
Within a week or two, Fairview citizens expressed their feelings on the matter. “Getting Ready for County Seat. Franklin may not be in it if matters materialize as indicated — it is expected that Preston will move down there on wheels. . . It is time the Franklin County Citizen was getting its eyes open. It has forgotten that there is a thriving little town in the southern end of the county and is wide awake...we feel sure we will get it as our town is so centrally located in the extreme southern end of the county.” They went on to describe the efforts of their citizens to improve their city in terms of sidewalks, the railroad approaching, a water system in place.
Editor Roe’s response, “Well, I guess Fairview is in the race, and always has been, my kind reader, and now that we’re a village the race is turning into a dash, and a dash it is. If you doubt it, just watch us for a while.” Franklin likely had similar opinions.
The outcome of this tussle was as we have it today. However they did not have a courthouse built for many years. Instead the Greaves Building, on the north west corner of Main (State) and Oneida, was extended on both its western and northern sides in 1914, its windows squared rather than rounded as they had been. A second story was remodeled to offer office space for both businessmen and the newly formed Franklin County. This space served for the functions of a courthouse until the completion of the current structure now in use. This site is pictured in Images of America – Preston,a book on local history.
The need for a building to house all things connected with a courthouse and county business was being discussed as early as 1934. It would be an expensive venture for the citizens, and much consideration was given to the project. With the new year of 1938, District Judge J. L. Downing promoted the need for the courthouse with the leaders of the county. So it began: searching for architects, locating funds, many decisions to be made. Hyrum C. Pope, of Salt Lake City was the architect chosen with his plans for a structure in the Art Deco style. The federal WPA program would supply a portion of the money needed, the citizenry to match the amount. O. E. Millard Construction was chosen to begin the project. The aim was for a building that would last for years with granite walls and floors, beautiful woodwork throughout, conveniences of that period.
Our courthouse has lasted, and it is beautiful, but time has taken its toll on the then-up-to-date building, and major improvements are required to continue to use this edifice. Plumbing, electrical changes, and heating systems need to be updated, and the steps are crumbling. The list is long.
In November, 1939, “a five-band street parade and concert and flag raising opened a day of house-warming and dedicated of the new Franklin County court house. The American Legion conducted a beautiful flag-raising ceremony. State officials were present, Lieutenant Gov. Whitehead traced the development of Idaho and urged people to guard the freedom that was earned by our forefathers. The erection of the building is a milestone in the community.
Dist. Judge Jay Downing lauded its appearance. “I can truly say that there is no building in the Intermountain country more beautiful than the one you people in Franklin have.” There was a five-second silence in memory of Architect H. C. Pope who died after his plans were blueprinted.
More than 3,000, visited the rooms of the court house during the open house. The dedication services were broadcast in loud speakers throughout the building,” states the Citizen.
Randy Henrie, current County Building Inspector, has designed an addition to the courthouse that will attach to the rear of the building, blend with the design, but also provide ways to bring the building into the year 2020 in its improvements and features. Safety and meeting the requirements of American’s Disability Act is a major part of his plan. The utilities and the ability to function for modern use as well as doubling the size of the facility are of importance as well.
The building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, 32 years ago. It was noted that ‘it was built for the people” and it has served our citizenry well. For years the problems have been ‘band-aided’ “so it could still function. This isn’t something new, our commissioners recognized the need several years ago. Band-aids only last so long. Our courthouse deserves better.
In a relatively quiet commissioners meeting on Oct. 28, the Franklin County Commissioners heard a briefing on cyber security from Warren Wilde, the county Civil Defense Coordinator. He was accompanied by Darin Letzrine, from the Military Division of the Idaho Office of Emergency Services and TJ Burbank, Of IT Services, IT managers for Franklin County.
There have been a number of intrusions and other attempted hackings of the computer systems in the state, including several in neighboring counties. Camille Jensen, the Franklin County Clerk, received high praise from Letzrine for her proactive and aggressive approach to the entire hacking problem. As a result of her forward thinking and actions, as well as the training program that is active in county offices, the county has not had any incidents to date. Burbank also noted that the county has had great benefit from the constant and ongoing attention to the hacking issue.
Later in the meeting Shawn Oliverson, accompanied by Doug Day of Day Mountain Ranch, discussed preliminary planning for the future development of Day’s ranch. The development will span several years and will ultimately generate not only numerous jobs, but ongoing tax revenue for the county. Day has also purchased the Bosen Building in the city of Preston, which will also be remodeled and upgraded, resulting in jobs and tax revenue.
County Road Manager Troy Moser presented the commissioners with several building options for the previously approved structure for road salt and brine to be used during the coming snow season. The building has been approved as a steel building that will be protected from corrosion by several technologies, the exact nature of which is still being refined. The building will be largely paid for by grants from the state.
The commissioners approved the liquor license for LaTienda, in Franklin. Several routine items of routine county business were addressed prior to adjournment.
West Side produced the champions at the Southeast Idaho Youth Football League last weekend in the Idaho State University Holt Arena.
The team coached by Regie Anger, won the championship. Players are: Drake Sage, Pryce Anger, Michael Roberts, Cole Rouse, Tanner Henderson, Will Phillips, Dawson Reese, Jonathan Roley-Roberts, Jayden Coats, Micah Benavidez, Gage Smith, Jaden Fuller, Braydon Hansen, Emmett Hatch, Chet Ward, Ryan Talbot and Brytan Marble. Assisting Anger as coaches were Dustin Talbot, Rand Roberts, Curt Fuller, Brandon Smith, Riley Smith and Tanner Smith.
“I’ve coached a lot of teams over the years, and I don’t ever think I’ve coached a team that meshed as well as this team did. Most teams have these cliques; I’ve never seen a team that treated each other so good, and were so fair with each other no matter what role they had on the team. They are a very fun team to coach,” said Anger.
In addition, “they are smart and fast, and they play hard,” he said. Statistically, the boys were outweighed by an average of 24 pounds a player against the Snake River team they beat for the championship, said Anger, and as they are a combined team of fifth and sixth grade players, they are younger, too.
The game had gone scoreless until the last six seconds of the game. “We caused a fumble and three plays later we won it 6-0,” he said.
Also placing second at the tournament were two teams from Preston. Coach Casey Judd’s seventh grade team took second place in their category. Players are: Ryley Orris, Luke Hodges, Tyler Harris, Freeman Sturges, Ethan Bassett, Eli Palmer, Elijah Allen, Caide Oxborrow, Cruz Harris, Trevyn Atkinson, Tegan Zollinger, Ryan Judd, Trayce Stone, Jaxon Merrill, Austin Beagley, Saager Keller, Carey Swainston, Coleman Thorson, Hunter Hansen, and Trevin Troumbley.
Coach Shane Selley’s sixth grade football team took second place. Team members are: Chase Anderson, Dextin Atkinson, Ty Atkinson, Burk Austin, Brock Barnard, Cash Bessinger, Draden Day, Levi Desain, Cole Eubanks, Rusty Golightly, Jarett Haslam, Janson Hollingsworth, Conner Iverson, Hayden Jorgensen, Landon Kelley, D’carreih-Jo Lumpkin, Conner Pearson, Johnathan Peterson, Tristan Peterson, Kyson Petterborg, Judd Selley, Dylan Shumway, Keegan Spackman, Jayden Thornton and Caysen Whiteley.
The Southeast Idaho Youth Football League has over 1,400 players for fifth through eighth graders. It consists of players from Aberdeen, American Falls, Bear Lake, Blackfoot, Chubbuck, Fort Hall, Grace, Inkom, Malad, Marsh Valley, McCammon, Pocatello, Rockland, Snake River and Soda Springs as well as the Franklin County area.
The program began in 1968 and is one of the largest youth programs in the northwest. It is a non-profit organization, funded through player registration fees and donations.