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Transportation transformation in Franklin County | Preston Citizen

Transportation transformation in Franklin County

February 24, 2013


Citizen staff writer

A century ago was a time of transition in Franklin County. People were moving from horses and buggies into the age of planes, trains and automobiles.

The Trail Blazer notes that the first automobile brought to Franklin County was one owned by a Dr. States on April 1, 1912.


Mark Hart, a prolific writer native to Franklin County, wrote in his book “Apple Blossom Daze,” (available at The Preston Citizen and at the Franklin County Larsen-Sant Library), what it was like to experience an automobile for the first time, as well as the first airplane to land within the county boundaries during those teen years of the twentieth century.

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“Down Preston’s main street came a horseless carriage sputtering like a one-lunged halibut boat. Dogs by the dozens were cavorting about, barking delightedly. Horses, with nostrils extended, reared frantically from their hitching posts. Merchants and customers alike appeared on the wooden sidewalks. A patron with his face half shaved stood by a barber with a razor in his hand. It seemed the whole town was there, standing amazed and mesmerized, eyes agape, as Louie Ballif, the local implement dealer, rattled down through town in the most electrifying surprise of the year, of the century, in fact. Wearing goggles and a light tan duster, with gauntlets that hit him at the elbows, Louie sat very erect as he grasped the steering stick with both hands. This new ‘invention’ had a dashboard, and high wooden wheels like a buggy. It was called an automobile. As this strange vehicle rattled by, a young squirt ‘Ernie Porter, by name’ shouted in a stentorian voice, ‘Hey, Louie, get a horse! Get a horse!’ Everyone guffawed.”

This story is sponsored by Strictly Ballroom.

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