Franklin is a suburban industrial community on the watershed between the Charles and the Blackstone Rivers, just 22 miles southwest of Boston. It is one of the highest towns in Norfolk County. Principal highways crossing Franklin include Route 140 and Interstate 495, a major beltway of Massachusetts. This access to roads and proximity... Show all »
Franklin is a suburban industrial community on the watershed between the Charles and the Blackstone Rivers, just 22 miles southwest of Boston. It is one of the highest towns in Norfolk County. Principal highways crossing Franklin include Route 140 and Interstate 495, a major beltway of Massachusetts. This access to roads and proximity to Boston and surrounding towns, make Franklin an ideal bedroom community. With quiet tree-lined streets and neighborhoods of handsome suburban subdivisions, Franklin is an attractive place to settle.
Early settlement of the area occurred late in the 17th century after the Native American uprisings of King Philips war. Those who came to reside in what is now Franklin were engaged small scale farming and grazing, but the towns abundant water power allowed early industrial development at mills along the river. There were cotton mills, felt makers and boot and shoe manufacturers established in Franklin in the 18th and 19th centuries, but the dominant industry in the town from 1799 on was the making of straw bonnets, and Franklin became one of the centers of straw bonnet manufacturing.
Franklin was renamed in 1778 in honor of Benjamin Franklin. Then, the American ambassador to France, Founding Father Franklin showed his appreciation of the tribute by sending the town a library of 116 volumes which seeded the public library. The Town of Franklin's long history has left a legacy of buildings in a variety of architectural styles. High style Greek revival and Italianate structures, as well as examples of Victorian Gothic, Second Empire and Queen Anne styles remain preserved by the community.
Today, Franklin's 22,000 residents live spread out over 26 miles of town and enjoy a wide array of services and community activities and organizations. The Franklin Downtown Partnership, for example, leads public improvement activities to combat community deterioration and to preserve the historic character of the downtown commercial area.
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