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Since You Asked: Hot on the trail of a road mystery

“Several years ago the county put up new road signs for our road with the name changed from Netherland to Netherlands with an “s.” The road was named for Frank Netherland, and I have always wondered why it was arbitrarily changed to Netherlands. Of course, now the GPS’s only recognize it with the “s,” but why did some county clerk change the name and with it the historical significance? Or is it simply a case of lack of attention to detail that so plagues the media these days?”

— Heidi H., Trail

We can take on a challenge to pay attention to detail, Heidi. Here’s what we found out about this confounding “s.”

John Vial with Jackson County Roads was our guide through this historical investigation.

Vial looked through records and found that the road was never officially named by the Board of Commissioners — it was adopted by folks in the area and the name stuck.

Vial said a record notes that Frank Netherland did inspire the name, but again, this was never officially given by the board.

Vial said files reference both names interchangeably throughout the various county records.

The official county map book has listed the road as Netherlands Road for more than 25 years, he said.

Your questions, however, might be the spark that’s needed to change the name back to what you remember it as being, Heidi. Vial said because the name has never officially been given by the commission, changing it to Netherland would “an easy fix.”

“However, if that is desired, we will ask the residents to circulate a petition so that the county is confident that we aren’t making a change that one party desires but others oppose,” he said.

We hope you’ll keep us updated.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.