FRANKLIN -- FRANKLIN COUNTY
Franklin began in 1871 with a small log store owned by Mr. O'Bannon, who kept a small supply of staples for hunters. In 1872 there was a second store owned by Mr.Buck. At first there was some confusion, with the "towns" of "Franklin City," "Waterloo," and "Franklin" shifting around, hoping for the best spot near Center Creek. Locating at its present site, only Franklin survived and proceeded to grow in an orderly manner. There were the usual early stores, livery stables, blacksmith, harness and wagon shops, produce and live stock buyers, etc.
Franklin City, a few miles from Franklin, was named the county seat in 1872, only to lose it to Bloomington two years later. (People from Franklin City later moved their buildings to Franklin.) In an election in 1920, the county seat moved again, this time to Franklin. The "courthouse affair" was finally settled in 1925 when the new building was finished.
Schools and churches began in dugouts and soddies, even under the trees at times, and progressed to suitable buildings. Mr.Buck and Mr.Greenwood donated land for an academy which operated under the direction of the Congregational Church. Many people brought their children from as far as the Sandhills to attend school at Franklin Academy because it was a very good academy, and there were no saloons or gambling halls to "corrupt" their children. For 41 years it graduated well-educated, cultured, young citizens, that parents were proud of.
Closing in 1922, the Academy's influence on the town is still seen in many ways. Dupee Music Hall stands in the former campus, now a city park, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Also in this park is the stone museum, school house, and a WW II airplane -- the type flown by some of our Franklin County boys, who purchased it and brought it here.
The pioneers who settled around Franklin were hard working, good managers who built-up their homes, educated their children, and prospered. Many are still represented in third, fourth, and fifth generation farms and local businesses.
There have been the usual fluctuations in the economy; years of plenty, of drought, grasshoppers, floods, depression, and numerous fires, but the number of businesses has changed very little.
Following the normal growth at the beginning, there has remained approximately 50 businesses during any given year, sometimes more in cottage industry, and other times on main street. We have averaged two doctors, several staying for years, such as Dr.Doering, who recently retired after nearly 40 years of caring for us. We have averaged two each: dentists, lawyers, veterinarians, clothing stores, hardware and lumber yards, automobile and implement dealers, as well as a fine complement of repairmen and service people to keep them all running smoothly.
Franklin, in addition to county government, has groceries, pharmacies, clothing, gift, and jewelry stores, garages and service stations, repairmen, lawyers, accountants, bank and savings institutions, golf and country club, racket ball, tennis, a swimming pool, senior center and community services able to supply almost anything. We have our own power, light, water, and sewage treatment plant. We are proud to have one of the best volunteer fire and emergency organizations in the state. We also have some very talented people living here. Someone in the community can meet almost any need you can imagine.
Fact is, it would be possible to be born in our hospital, go to nursery school, grade school, high school, and college (through the college extension classes at our school), find a job, pay taxes, get married in our of our churches, attend almost any type entertainment, rear a family, retire to our Golden Age Village, be cared for at Franklin Nursing Center, receive final care at our funeral home, and be buried in Greenwood Cemetery, with your head stone purchased locally and never have to leave town for anything unless you so chose. Franklin is a very complete town, that is, unless you happen to have poor eyesight. We don't have an eye doctor!
We are indeed blessed in Franklin, Nebraska. It is, and will continue to be, a very special place to live.
Dessie J. Warriner, 1302 P St. Franklin, NE 68939
Veda Clements and Cliff Garrett
City of Franklin, Bicentennial History, by Linda Reeson
with Supplement, City of Franklin 1970-1983, in second edition
"In the Beginning, So They Say..." by Dessie J. Warriner
Newspapers: ""Franklin County Sentinel," "Riverton Review," "Bloomington Guard," "Bloomington Advocate," "The Echo."