When Hugh Parks the elder was Mayor in 1876, taxes paid for little more than a local constable and street maintenance. Modern municipal politics date from just before World War I, when the Town received a revised charter from the State, and a Mayor and Board of Commissioners was elected to supervise Town affairs in 1917. During the 1920s the Town officials refused invitations to join Ramseur in building a joint water treatment system on Sandy Creek during the Depression, as mill owner John W. Clark had visions of building his own system on Bush Creek. This never happened, and Franklinville only began distributing water from the Sandy Creek Reservoir in 1978, after receiving a Farmer’s Home Administration loan to build a water distribution system.

Water, septic and electrical services were all initially provided to village residents by the textile mill corporation. Generation of electricity began in the Upper Mill in October 1896, when a dynamo was attached to the waterwheel and “tallow candles and kerosene lamps became a thing of the past.” Gradually the system was expanded to serve the whole community. In 1919 the mill built a large new coal-fired steam turbine generating plant which could supply power to the entire Town. In 1923 the mill signed a contract to link its system to the Southern Power Company of Moncure, one of the early segments of what became Carolina Power and Light system. Electric power is provided to the Town today by Duke Energy.

In 1898 a deep well and steam-powered pumps began to supply the first running water system in the mill, and wells soon were drilled all over town to supply water to clusters of houses. The 1972 plats prepared of the Randolph Mills property showed 11 individual wells serving groups of residences, in addition to three wells located around the mills and a large well located on the school grounds. These wells continued to provide communal potable water until the passage of the bond referendum to fund construction of the municipal system in 1976. The mill corporation began treatment of wastewater in the 1950s as part of an expansion that built the bleachery and dyehouse necessary to print plaid flannel cloth. An expanded system was designed and built by the engineering firm of L.E. Wooten and Company in 1961; that system was expanded jointly by the mill and the Town in 1967. This treatment system was purchased by the Town in 1994; its condition had greatly deteriorated by the lack of maintenance during the mill’s period of bankruptcy from 1977 through 1985. A $1.2 million grant awarded by the Clean Water Management Trust Fund in the spring of 2000 allowed the Town to begin construction of a completely new treatment plant. This innovative, modular, 200,000-gallon-per-day plant can be expanded as needed to more than a million gallons per day- enough to meet anticipated demand throughout the study period.

Information and communication services have always been both private and public operations. A telegraph connection to the outside world followed construction of the railroad in 1890. Telephone service was first provided to the Town privately in the 1910s, by extension of the lines from Asheboro. The first public library in Randolph County was the one begun in Franklinville at the instigation of mill owner John W. Clark in 1924. The John W. Clark Public Library is now a joint venture of Franklinville and the Randolph County Public Library system. A cable television franchise was granted to Cablevision of Asheboro in 1985. Local internet connections were available through three separate private service providers beginning in 1995.

Law enforcement was one of the original 1847 functions of Town government. The Mayor was legally a Justice of the Peace, and entitled to sit with the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, the antebellum equivalent of the county commission. The Town’s only employee was a Constable, equivalent to a deputy sheriff, who was responsible for collecting taxes and lost livestock in addition to enforcing local laws. A single policeman remained on the Town payroll up into the early 1980s, when the Town’s dwindling tax base and the escalating cost of law enforcement saw the closing of the department. The Town now relies on the general protection of the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department, with a satellite office located in the Town Hall. Code enforcement and administrative regulatory duties are now performed by the Town Clerk.


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