Key Dates

Timeline of Franklin History

c. 6,000 BC - 1620

Native American peoples inhabit the land around Lake Pearl.

1620

The Pilgrims flee to North America from England and Holland and establish Plymouth Colony. Half of the one hundred and two settlers die during their first winter. 

​1630

In reaction to religious persecution in England, Puritans flee to the New World and establish Massachusetts Bay Colony.

1636

Puritan settlers establish the inland town of Contentment, later renamed Dedham, stretching between Boston and Providence Plantation. The two hundred square miles of land include what would eventually become the Town of Franklin. 

1660

A committee from Dedham explores the land and meadows near the bodies of water now known as Lake Pearl and Lake Archer. The land is called Wollomonopoag meaning “place of shells.”

1661

Ousamequin, the Massasoit of the Wampanoag tribe and longtime ally of the settlers, dies. He is succeeded by his eldest son Wamsutta (known to the English as Alexander). 

1662

Wamsutta dies and is succeeded by his younger brother Metacom (known to the English as Philip).

1663

Settlement begins in the Wollomonopoag Plantation.

1668

At the town meeting in Dedham on February 4, a Wampanoag woman named Sarah, along with her brother George and son John, requests an exchange of her ten acre farm in the Wollomonopoag Plantation for land elsewhere. The trade gives her ten acres of land about two miles west of the Wollomonpoag Plantation near what is now known as Uncas Pond.

1673

The Town of Wrentham is incorporated.

1675-1678

Hostilities between the native peoples and the settlers erupt into King Philip’s War. The War saw the only battle fought on what is now Franklin soil when in 1676, under the command of Captain Robert Ware, twelve armed settlers ambushed forty-two sleeping native warriors at Indian Rock, near present-day Jordan Road, killing all but a few of them.

1713

The first sawmill is built at Mine Brook.

1717

Jabez Fisher, a deacon, precinct clerk, notary public, and legislator, is born on Buck’s Hill near Sheldonville.

1718

Wrentham is divided into four districts.

1725-1736

The residents of Northern Wrentham, who are unable to attend Public Worship because they live too far away, request that the taxes they pay for the minister be placed in a separate account which would be repaid to them should they split off into a separate precinct or parish. During this time, they repeatedly petition for a new town.

1737

On December 23, after much urging by the residents of Northern Wrentham, Governor Belcher signs the legislative action to create a second precinct of Wrentham known as the West Precinct.

1739

The West Precinct Meeting House is constructed.

1760

The Oliver Pond House is built on what is now West Central Street.

1773

At a town meeting on January 11, residents approve a set of Resolves expressing their displeasure at the conduct of the King of England. The document was drafted by David Man, Captain John Smith, Jabez Fisher, Lemuel Kollock, and Thomas Man.

In April, Nathanael Emmons becomes the pastor of the original Congregational Church. He serves as pastor for fifty-four years.

1775

Hostilities between the settlers and the British government escalate at Lexington and Concord. Wrentham musters two companies of volunteers to fight, thirty-seven under Captain Asa Fairbanks and thirty under Captain Elijah Pond.

1778

Almost named Exeter, the Town of Franklin is incorporated on March 2. Justice of the Peace Jabez Fisher convenes the first town meeting on March 23. The First Congregational Church is consecrated.

1783

Oliver Dean, a successful physician in Boston and Medway, is born in Franklin on February 18. In later years, he would purchase part of the farm of the late Nathanael Emmons in order to establish Dean Academy.

1784

Theron Metcalf, a lawyer, legislator, and jurist, is born in Franklin.

1785

Although bells for the Church are requested, Benjamin Franklin donates books to the Town for naming it in his honor. On April 13, Franklin writes his cousin Jonathan Williams: “I have written to Br. Price of London, requesting him to make a choice of proper Books to commence a Library for the use of the Inhabitants of Franklin. They will be sent directly from thence. Your affectionate uncle, B. Franklin”

1787

Land for the Town Common is purchased from Nathaniel and John Adams.

1791

The Congregational Church is constructed at the end of the Town Common.

1796

Horace Mann, a lawyer, legislator, educator, and the Father of the American Public School is born in Franklin on May 4.

1799

Naomi Whipple and Hannah Metcalf of Providence discover the secret of imported European straw braids used in straw bonnets by unraveling the braids. Sally Richmond, also of Providence, attends Wrentham Academy and teaches her Franklin classmates how to braid. Thus, the straw industry is introduced to the Town.

 

1806

A belfry is added to the Congregational Church.

 

1810

The first straw factory, owned by Asa and Davis Thayer, is opened at the corner of Union and West Central Streets.

 

1819-1822

There are two rival post offices in Town, Franklin City and Franklin Center. Franklin Center is made the official post office in 1822.

 

1832

Two factories, a thread factory at Rivers End and a cotton factory at City Mills, are opened.

 

1833

The Red Brick Schoolhouse opens at the junction of Main, Maple, and Lincoln Streets to replace an existing wooden schoolhouse.

 

1835

A private high school is established at the corner of Beaver and Union Streets.

 

1839

Colonel Joseph G. Ray arrives in Franklin with his family and begins manufacturing cotton goods in Unionville.

 

1840

Nathanael Emmons, a commanding presence in Town, dies at 95. 

 

1842

The original Town Hall is built on West Central Street as a gift of Erastus Metcalf on land donated by Archibald Dewitt. The building is now home to the Franklin Historical Museum.

 

1849

Through the efforts of Erastus Metcalf, George W. Nason, and others, the railroad is introduced to the Town. The Norfolk County Railroad is granted a charter.

 

1852

The Lady’s Benevolence Society is established.

 

1855

The Franklin Bonnet begins publishing their newspaper.

 

1856

The South Franklin Meeting House is consecrated on Washington Street. The Grace Universalist Society is founded. The Benjamin Franklin Savings Bank is chartered.

 

1857

A farmer named George Wadsworth begins writing about his daily life in South Franklin.

 

1858

Grace Universalist Church is consecrated on Main Street.

 

1861

The Civil War begins and Franklin over fulfills its conscription quotas. Of the ninety-eight Franklin men who serve in the war, ten die, thirteen are wounded, and seven are taken prisoner.

 

1865

Dean Academy is granted a charter. James H. Nason of West Street receives a patent for the coffee percolator.

 

1866

Excelsior Lodge AT & AM Masons is established.

 

1868

The Baptist Church is consecrated. Thayer School, named for Rev. William Makepeace Thayer, a clergyman, author, and Secretary of the Massachusetts Temperance Alliance, opens on School Street.

 

1871

The Unionville Woolen Mill, owned by brothers James P. and Joseph G. Ray, is opened on the site of the Frank B. Ray shoddy mill. The Methodist-Episcopal Church is consecrated. Two banks, the Benjamin Franklin Savings Bank and the First National Bank, are established.

 

1872

The Franklin Fire Department is established on June 17. The Franklin Register begins publishing their newspaper.

 

1873

A new Grace Universalist Church is built behind the first one on Main Street. Baptists purchase the First Universalist Church and move it to School Street. The United Methodist Church is consecrated.

 

1874

A new Dean Hall, built on the foundations of the original, is dedicated at Dean Academy.

 

1876

The American Woolen Company is established at Nason’s Crossing on Union Street by James P. and Joseph G. Ray.

 

1878

The Town celebrates its Centennial Anniversary.  A History of the Town of Franklin is published by Mortimer Blake. The Nason Street School is built. The Franklin Sentinel begins publishing their newspaper. Lydia Paine Ray becomes the first female collegiate graduate from the Town of Franklin when she graduates with honors from Vassar College.

 

1879

A sugar beet mill is opened by Erastus Metcalf only to close a year later.

 

1881

L.W. Miliken and Sons, a leather findings company, is opened on West Central Street.

 

1882

The Franklin Knitting Company is opened by A.D. Thayer.

 

1883

Eddie Grant, a Major League Baseball player, lawyer, and World War I hero, is born in Franklin on May 21.

 

1884

The Franklin Water Company is opened and later owned by Joseph G. Ray.

 

1886

Snow, Bassett, and Company, a straw goods company, is opened on Dean Avenue. Grace Universalist Church is destroyed by a fire and rebuilt a year later.

 

1887

The Franklin Grange, a self-help organization for farmers, is established.

 

1888

The Lady Franklin Rebekah Lodge is established. Union Light and Power, the Town’s first electrical service, is opened.

 

1889

Dean Co-Operative Bank is founded.

 

1891

Harry T. Hayward Company, a cotton and wool company, is opened at Nason’s Crossing on Union Street.

 

1892

Horace Mann High School is built. Singleton Worsted is opened.

 

1893

The Alden Club is established. The Woonsocket Call begins providing a section dedicated to Franklin news.

 

1895

The Congregational Church is constructed on Main Street.

 

1898

St. John’s Episcopal Church is consecrated. H. Bullukian and Sons, a coal company, is opened.

 

1899

The Appleton Rubber Company is opened in the old sugar beet factory. The Franklin Country Club is established.

 

1900

St. Mary’s Church is destroyed by a fire. A scarlet fever epidemic closes Franklin schools and the public library.

 

1901

Ray Fabric Mills is opened in Unionville. Murdock and Geb Bobbin Holder Company is opened on McCarthy Street.

 

1902

The Science Building at Dean Academy is donated by the daughters of Joseph G. Ray, Lydia and Annie.

 

1903

The Civil War Statue is dedicated on the Town Common, a gift of Frederick Atwood Newell.

 

1904

The Ray Memorial Library is dedicated in memory of Joseph G. Ray and Emily Rockwood Ray by their daughters Lydia and Annie. Its murals are painted by Italian artist Tommaso Jurglais. The Children’s Room on the lower level is built the following year.

 

1905

The Ray School, a gift of Annie Ray Thayer, is built on the corner of Union and School Streets. The Golding Manufacturing Company, a press manufacturer, is opened.

 

1908

The Alpine Woolen Company is bought by the American Felt Company and made into a shoddy mill.

 

1910

St. John’s Church is consecrated on School Street.

 

1911

Staples Brothers, a straw goods company, is opened.

The Clark-Cutler McDermott Company, a felt product company, is opened.

 

1912

Theron Metcalf School is built on Winter Street.

 

1916

The Sacred Heart Council No. 1847, Knights of Columbus, is established.

 

1918

Franklin suffers numerous casualties in World War I. Most notably, major league baseball player Edward Leslie Grant is killed in October in the Argonne Forest of France while searching for the Lost Battalion. An influenza epidemic sweeps across Europe and America, reaching Franklin in the summer. The Town Hall is used as a makeshift hospital. American Type Founders Company is opened on Dean Avenue.

 

1919

Two wings are added to Theron Metcalf School. Four suspected anarchists are killed in an attempt to explode a bomb at the American Woolen Company at Nason’s Crossing.

 

1920

Edward L. Grant Post, No. 75 American Legion, is established.

The Franklin Weaving Company, a rayon manufacturer, is opened.

 

1921

The Whitney Worsted Company is opened.

 

1922

The first Girl Scout troop is registered in Franklin. The Joseph G. Ray Fire Station is built on West Central Street, a gift of Annie and Adelbert Thayer.

 

1923

The parish building at St. Mary’s Church is destroyed by a fire.

Dr. Austin B. Fletcher, Dean alumnus and professor of oratory, dies and bestows generous gifts upon both Dean Academy and the Town. The gifts create the Town Improvement Trust and the Fletcher Hospital Fund. The Central Iron Machine Foundry, also known as the Clark Machine Foundry, is opened.

 

1924

Franklin High School is built on the corner of West Central and Union Streets. It later becomes a junior high school and eventually Davis Thayer Elementary School, named for Davis Thayer whose straw business and store/post office were located on the property.

Quattro Eroi, Sons of Italy, No. 1414 is established.

 

1925

Thompson National Press Company is opened on Dean Avenue. The South Franklin School on Washington Street and the Unionville School at Conlyn Avenue and West Central Street are both discontinued.

 

1927

The Frances Eddy King Student Fund is established. The World War I monument is dedicated at Dean Academy.

 

1928

The Town celebrates its Sesquicentennial Anniversary. The Morse Opera House catches fire during the showing of a movie and is destroyed with no loss of life. Awpie Way is dedicated at Dean Academy, named for headmaster Arthur Winslow Pierce.

 

1929

The Horace Mann monument is dedicated on the site of the old Mann family homestead on East Central Street.

 

1930

The Rotary Club is established.

 

1931

Two brothers, Israel and Max Garelick, borrow ten thousand dollars to buy a farm on West Central Street. By 2015, the original Garelick Brothers farmstead is New England’s largest dairy farm.

 

1933

The current post office is built on Main Street.

 

1934

Franklin Rod and Gun Club is established. Dean Headmaster Arthur Winslow Pierce dies of a heart attack in his office at Dean Hall.

 

1935

The King David Lodge is renamed the William F. Ray Lodge.

 

1936

A new Four Corners School is built on the corner of King, Chestnut, and East Central Streets.

 

1938

The Franklin Rod and Gun Club purchases land and a clubhouse at Uncas Pond.  The Masonic Hall on Dean Avenue is purchased from the YMCA. In October, the Hurricane of ‘38 wreaks havoc on Franklin, including the destruction of the Dean Hall clock tower and the steeple of the Baptist Church. As a result, Baptists begin sharing worship services at the Congregational Church.

1941

The Congregational Church officially joins the Baptist Church to become the Franklin Federated Church.

1942

The Arlington Street School is destroyed by a fire and not rebuilt.

 

1942-1945

Over eight hundred brave men and women from Franklin serve in World War II.

 

1945

The Franklin Lions Club is established. The North Franklin School on Pond Street is discontinued. The building is now the VFW Hall.

 

1948

The Franklin Housing Authority is established.

 

1949

The Moose Lodge is renamed the Franklin Lodge, No. 944.

 

1952

The Parmenter School is built on land donated by the Parmenter family of Wachusett Street in memory of their son, Gerald Murdock Parmenter, who was killed in WWII. The Welcome Wagon is introduced in Town. The Nason Street School is discontinued.

 

1953

Little League baseball is organized in Town.

 

1954

The Calvary Baptist Chapel is consecrated on Summer Street.

 

1956

St. Mary’s School is opened.

 

1959

Franklin Lodge of Elks, No. 2136 is established.

 

1960

The Franklin Emblem Club is established.

 

1961

St. John’s Episcopal Church relinquishes its mission status. The church building on School Street is bought by Dean Junior College to be used as a Center for the Performing Arts. The Franklin Rangerettes are established.

 

1962

Franklin High School, now the Horace Mann Middle School, is built on Oak Street.

 

1964

Franklin Jaycees is established. The Franklin Police station is built on East Street.

 

1965

The John F. Kennedy School is built on Pond Street in honor of President Kennedy. The Knights of Columbus Hall is built on West Central Street. Dean celebrates its Centennial Anniversary. The Louis A. R. Pieri Gymnasium is dedicated.

 

1966

The Franklin Singers is organized. The post office on Main Street is renovated.

 

1967

The Grace Universalist Church is sold to Dean Junior College and demolished in order to construct a library.

 

1969

The Franklin Flyers, a youth hockey team, is organized.

 

1970

The Franklin Historical Commission is established by a town meeting vote. The First Universalist Society of Franklin Meeting House is consecrated on Pleasant Street. The Franklin Youth Soccer Association is established.

 

1971

Franklin High School is built on Oak Street. The Franklin Newcomers club is established. The Council on Aging is established by a town meeting vote.

 

1972

St. Mary’s School is closed. The South Franklin Church on Washington Street is given to the town by the Federated Church and is put in the care of the Franklin Historical Commission. Elks Hall is dedicated on Pond Street. The J. Walter Chilson Beach is dedicated on Beaver Pond.

 

1973

FISH of Franklin is established.

Veterans’ Memorial Skating Rink is opened.

 

1974

The Franklin Country Club golf course is expanded to eighteen holes. A second grade class in Franklin successfully petitions to make the State Bug of Massachusetts a ladybug with help from their teacher Palma DeBaggis Johnson.

 

1975

A Milford News branch office is established in Town.

The Horace Mann Museum is developed in the former South Franklin Church. Franklin Youth Services is organized. The Calvary Baptist Church becomes Calvary Temple and is non-denominational. South Middlesex News begins local coverage of Franklin news.

 

1976

The Franklin Track Club is established.

 

1977

Tri-county Regional Vocational Technical School is opened.

 

1978

The Town celebrities its Bicentennial Anniversary. The Four Corners School is discontinued and becomes administrative offices for the School Department. The Horace Mann School is discontinued and becomes the Town Hall. The Town government system is changed from three selectmen to a Town Council and Town Administrator system through charter reform.

 

1979

The Horace Mann School is discontinued.

 

1980

The Horace Mann Stamp is circulated around the country, starting in Franklin.

 

1990

The Franklin Public Library celebrates its Bicentennial Anniversary.

 

1995

The Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter School is opened in the former St. Mary’s School.

 

1996

The Remington and Jefferson Schools on Washington Street and the Keller and Sullivan Schools on Lincoln Street are opened. 

 

2004

Horace Mann Middle School is expanded.

 

2009

Ben Franklin Savings Bank is sold to Rockland Trust.

 

2010

The Horace Mann Museum moves from Washington Street to the old Town Hall on West Central Street and becomes the Franklin Historical Museum.

 

2011

Franklin News is founded.

 

2014

The new Franklin High School is built just south of the old one and opens for the 2014-2015 school year. The Delcart Recreational Area is opened on Pleasant Street. The Tot Park is opened at Fletcher Field.

2017

The Horace Mann statue is dedicated at Horace Mann Square on May 7.

2018

The Veterans Memorial Walkway is dedicated on the Town Common on November 11.