Franklin Historical Society

The mission of the Franklin Historical Society is to seek to preserve and foster appreciation of local history and to maintain living museums for educational and community enrichment.



Barn Museum Update


The Barn Museum foundation is nearing completion. The museum is a gift to the City of Franklin honoring the city’s farming family history. We have many artifacts, tools, and equipment in storage that will be displayed once the building is completed. The museum will be open to the general public for touring and will be an important addition to our grade school program that just celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Our goal is to have a grand opening for the city’s 4th of July civic celebration in 2018.


Upcoming Events

Along with the Franklin Public Library the FHS will be hosting the tree lighting again this year starting at 5:00 pm on Saturday, December 2, 2017.
Our program will include the three non-denominational services in the St. Peters Chapel at 4:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. In the Old Town Hall following the services please join us for cookies, cider and music of the season. The children’s Whelan School program from 3:00 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. will start the evening. The Sheehan-Godsell Log Cabin along with our other historic buildings will be open for touring after the St. Peters Chapel’s services.


Franklin Lions Easter Egg Hunt 2017


Bob Storm shows our young Easter egg guests the FHS new leisure time in Franklin display.

The Franklin Historical Society’s Spring/Summer 2017 town hall display is titled “Leisure Time”. The display consists of items that people utilized in their leisure time in the time period of 1900 to 1950. The main categories of the display are: 1) Music – bands, civic and church, home entertainment, 2) Children’s Toys – indoor and outdoor games, 3) Modern Entertainment – “The Radio”, and 4) Outdoor Entertainment – sports and exercise.
There is a bicycle from around 1900, old phonographs and records, 2 old radios, musical instruments, sports equipment, and many games and toys. Some items are “hands on”, providing an opportunity to see how the things of the past compare to the present.

Dr. Benjamin Franklin Comes to Franklin

The Franklin Historical Society’s Dr. Ben program on Saturday April first at the Franklin Library a free public educational program had a great turnout!

Dr. Ben (Terry Kutz) displayed an incredible knowledge of Benjamin Franklin and his times. Mayor Steve Olson through a series of questions to Dr. Ben created a most interesting and informative dialog our guests really enjoyed. We would like to thank Mayor Olson for all the time and effort for the research he did to make this such a successful program, and Dr. Ben for his fine performance.


Barn Museum Ground Breaking Ceremony



On Wednesday December 7th the Franklin Historical Society took a very important step for the building of our Barn Museum with a ground breaking ceremony. Plans are in place to begin construction in the spring of 2017 with the goal of a grand opening on the Fourth of July during the City of Franklin’s Civic Celebration.


St. Peters Chapel Christmas Service 2016




For the past 14 years the Franklin Historical Society as part of our Christmas program has had 3 non-denominational services in our St. Peters Chapel where you could experience a service with kerosene lamps and a pump organ. Rev. Roger Boesch pictured here has done all of these services. St. Peters Chapel was originally located on S. 68th St. just north of Rawson Ave. and moved to the FHS historic village. The congregation was of German descent. Rev. Boesch’s service features a German theme where you feel a sense of going back in time being connected to Franklin’s past.


2016 FHS Children’s Christmas Program



The Franklin Historical Society as part of our school program presents a special children’ s Christmas program. The children come to our Whelan School a week or two prior to decorate the Christmas tree and have a rehearsal. Their program includes reading stories of Christmas, readings of poetry, and singing Christmas carols.
During the school year 3rd and 4th grade children from Franklin and some surrounding communities come to Whelan School for a one day field trip where they are instructed by our teachers as if they were students in 1908.
After their class work is done they tour our other buildings. Once the barn museum is completed it will be an important addition to the school program.


2016 City of Franklin Tree Lighting Ceremony


The Franklin Historical Society hosted our annual Christmas program on December 3rd. The program featured many different Christmas celebrations. This is the City of Franklin’s tree lighting ceremony.    


2016 FHS Town Hall Christmas Program

During the Franklin Historical Society’s Christmas program our guests were invited to join us in Franklin’s Town Hall to share food, drink, music and song of Christmas. As you can see we had a packed house.
Early town hall meetings had been held in houses and other buildings and it was in November, 1884, that the decision was made to build a Town Hall at the cost of about $900.00.
Town meetings had begun as early as 1842. It was April 6, 1886, when the first town meeting was held in the new town hall.
In 1956, as the town became a city, the building ceased to be used as the Town Hall. The building was used by the Engineering Department, the Police Department and continued as the Justice Court until 1970.
The building was moved to the FHS village in 1975 as a living museum.


Sheehan-Godsell Cabin 2016 FHS Christmas Program


Pictured here  during the Franklin Historical Society’s Christmas program is the Sheehan-Godsell Cabin the first European structure in Franklin. The cabin is representative of the lives of the early settlers of Franklin.