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In 1849, Stephen and Rebecca Keith donated land for a town site. The post office was called Keith and then Lone Star before taking the name Mount Vernon. Franklin County was formed from part of Red River County in 1875. This Texas Main Street City still offers a small-town feel. The central plaza has a gazebo and park benches. A Grecian-style 1912 gray limestone courthouse (undergoing renovation in 2014) with a chiming clock tower is on the north side of the square. More than 70 homes built before World War I are marked with signs designating the original owners and year of construction. Tour maps are available. The Cherokee Trace runs along the county's eastern edge, while the Choctaw Trail runs through town, and the Bankhead Highway (the first east-west transcontinental automobile route through the U.S., opened in 1916) remains the town's Main Street.