April, 2006, Page 1

Franklin, CA
A Present Day View and Reflection
On My Errant Youth

Where in the H E double toothpicks is Franklin?  Well Franklin is a place on the road on Franklin Blvd. about 8.4 miles south of Sacramento and Florin Blvd.  Franklin Blvd. follows the Southern Pacific Railway (out of Sacramento) south and runs all the way from Broadway in Sacramento where Hwy 50 and 99 intersect, to Thornton Blvd. where it crosses the Mokulumne River.  What is significant about this is that Franklin Blvd. pretty much defines the neighborhood that I grew up in.

Originally, Franklin Blvd. was contiguous from Sacramento all the way to Thornton Blvd., a distance of about 16.5 miles. Now, it takes a small detour to accommodate the development of Elk Grove and the Laguna Creek area of Elk Grove.  This detour doesn't add distance, it just makes it weird and unfriendly to get into Franklin as you have to know where you are going, in order to bypass the detour.  It's the kind of weird like when you try to eat ice cream with your left hand and you are right handed.

As a kid, Mom would take me to Sacramento shopping (for her, not me.)  As we drove up Franklin Blvd. towards Sacramento, she would point to the empty fields and tell me, "Someday, Sacramento is going to be building houses all the way out here."

She was right about the houses, wrong about Sacramento.  In hind sight, Elk Grove is the city expanding into this area on Franklin Blvd..  It turns out that Sacramento expanded north and East while Elk Grove expanded mostly West.

Now, Elk Grove has expanded all the way to the west side of Franklin Blvd into an area known as "Laguna," now a sub division of Elk Grove.

Laguna is part of this journey down memory lane.  When I was raised in the communities comprised of Point Pleasant and Franklin and Elk Grove, Elk Grove's town limits only extended west to the east side of 99 and a good 3 miles east of Franklin Blvd.  What a surprise it was to see an Elk Grove city limits sign, posted on Franklin Blvd. as I drove south from Sacramento.  The Elk Grove city limits are actually extending west of Franklin Blvd. as well.  Everything looked like it had been built on Tuesday.

Laguna received national media attention in March of 2006 because some nutso person shot up that part of Elk Grove with a shotgun, killing one person and wounding several others. Fortunately, the Sheriff and his Deputies took a dim view of his antics, ultimately using him for target practice.  He survived but I am not sure why or how.  Perhaps the Sheriff' and his Deputies need more time at the shooting range, honing their shooting skills.  What was that guy thinking?  Bringing a shotgun to a rifle range, is pretty short sighted.  On the other hand, if he intended "Cop" cide (aka suicide,) he failed.

As I passed through Laguna on Franklin Blvd., I looked for any signs of shotgun pellets and bullets but alas, the only lead I found was in the emissions laid down by my errant youth in the 50s, driving a not so pollution free 1953 Hudson "Wasp."  Like this one, only imagine it painted with a white primer color.  I can picture myself behind the steering wheel as I view this photo, peering out into my emerging adult world.

This was a car I earned from my family for irrigating our 40 acre ranch for an entire summer.  My friends jokingly referred to my car as an upside down bath tub on wheels.  I tried my best to personalize it by painting it and whatever else I could do to decorate and personalize it.  I even went so far as to paint the dash a "Candy Apple" red color.  I had hopes of doing the outside of the car this color as well but alas, not on my budget. Painting it Candy Apple Red never happened, but a teen age guy on a budget, can fantasize, can't he?

Franklin is pretty much unchanged from when I was kid.  If anything, it has gotten smaller and less significant.  Presently, it has two bars, a grave yard, a skate rink, a grammar school and two stop signs.  It used to have a grocery store as well.

Present day Franklin is like stuck in a time warp.

This is a photo of the "Old" Franklin store fronts.  

These were vacant buildings when I was a kid.  At one time, a couple of us explored the insides, finding nothing of interest.

The above photo is also a view of a hotel, the "Franklin Town House" Established "1881."  According to the "Galt" historical society, Franklin was a township at one time.

I do remember Franklin having a fire department.  It was equipped with a Buster Keaton fire engine as backwards as the town itself.  This fire engine was an open cab version complete with the hand operated siren as well.  (It actually had a real siren but you would not have guessed that such an old engine would have such a modern fixture.  The siren was probably an after market add on.)  The windshield would fold down as well allowing unencumbered stream lining as it got up to its top speed of approximately 37 MPH.

Whenever there was a need for the fire engine to be dispatched, you could hear the wail of the siren from it's point of origin in Franklin and as it gently progressed to it's smoky destination.  This siren could be heard from anyplace in the Franklin Fire District and was also a call to any volunteer to come help fight the fire.  You wouldn't have to listen for very long before determining it's general direction as it headed to a more evident pillar of smoke wafting vertically into the sky.  (I think they use cell phones now instead of smoke signals, to notify the volunteer fireman.)

One time a neighbors haystack caught on fire.  I got to the fire on my bike quicker then the fire engine from Franklin, even though the distance was about the same.  The fire itself was one of those spontaneous combustion things farmers warn each other about.  "If your hay is too green and you stack it before it has a chance to dry out, it may catch on fire."  That's exactly what happened.  This particular farmer was a full time truck driver hauling milk in his rig on a daily basis.  Farming was not his first choice and he probably had not heard of the fire danger of stacking too green hay.  He decided he was better suited for hauling milk after this incident, rather then being a farmer. Cont.

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