In July 1936, a new paved highway from Jacksonville to Waverly was completed. After much controversy and delay, Franklin gained access to a good road, but lost out on a much greater improvement for the village.
The route was surveyed along the south side of the Burlington Railroad from Jacksonville to Waverly, and the state highway engineers made the proposal that in order to follow the railroad through the village, a 20 foot loop of pavement, connecting with Route 104 would be built by the state. A 50 foot strip of land would be needed off the cemetery for which the state would pay $1500 as well as consequential damages. Railroad crossings at Wyatts Avenue and one near the water tank, which was seldom used, were to be closed.
On June 23, 1934, by a vote of 101 for and 21 against, lot owners of the Franklin Cemetery Association approved the sale of the strip of land at special election. Also, a petition was signed by over 200 citizens giving their approval of the proposition, and it was presented to the village board. However, board members had been pressured by certain business interests to have West Street closed and bring the strip of pavement up Wyatts Avenue instead. After much disputing, the final vote was 3 to 2 in favor of Wyatts Avenue. The state, unwilling to delay further construction any longer, proceeded to build the highway through the town. Thus Franklin lost what could have been a major benefit to the village.
The American Legion
Next: Other Major Improvements