Franklin, Oregon
Franklin Oregon

The Franklin Smithfield controversy has been outstanding in Lane County for many years, and up to 1942 the difference of opinion had not been composed. The locality is on the territorial road a few miles north of Elmira. There have been many news stories about the squabble. The most comprehensive that the compiler has seen are in Eugene Register-Guard, March 1, 1931, and by Profs. john B. Homer in the Oregonian, May 14,1933. It is not easy to follow all the arguments. About 1852-53, Daniel Smith made his homestead at what was Franklin-Smithfield, and in 1857, RV. Howard established a store in the vicinity. In the meantime, Franklin post office was established on March 3, 1855, With Enos Elmaker postmaster. The compiler does not know if the office was at that time near the Smith home or some distance away, as it seems to have been in several nearby localities. Howard attempted to have a post office called Smithfield, and it was established in March 1859, only to be closed the folloWing December. This name did not run afoul of Smithfield in Polk County, as that office was not established until many years later, in 1893. It is not clear whether Howard wanted to change the name of the Franklin post office or establish a new one. In 1891, Daniel Smith laid out a townsite and filed the plat for Smithfield. In the meantime, Franklin post office was in operation, and it appears on the 1900 postal map, but it was closed in November 1902. In 1909, the USGS mapped the locality as Smithfield. It was shortly after this that there began to be marked differences of opinion' as to the name of the village. The controversy was acute in 1931. In 1934, an effort was made to have the county commissioners adopt one of the names. The commission, however, passed a resolution calling for double-barreled direction signs on roads and highways, reading both Smithfield and Franklin. This arrangement did not satisfy the partisans of the two names, but it represented the" situation in 1943. By 1966, the Franklin contingent appeared to have triumphed, for maps no longer included Smithfield. By 1990, dissension had ceased, and the community is known only as Franklin.