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The Town of Franklin is a city in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. Franklin is one of fourteen Massachusetts municipalities that have applied for, and been granted, city forms of government but wish to retain "The town of” in their official names. As of 2012, the city's population was 33,092. It is home to the country's first library, with its first books donated by Benjamin Franklin. It also contains the largest Catholic parish in the Boston Archdiocese, St. Mary's Catholic church, with some 15,000 members.
|Town of Franklin|
|Motto(s): Industry Need Not Wish|
| • Town
|• Total||27.0 sq mi (70.0 km2)|
|• Land||26.7 sq mi (69.3 km2)|
|• Water||0.3 sq mi (0.7 km2)|
|Elevation||300 ft (91 m)|
|• Estimate (2016)||33,150|
|• Density||1,200/sq mi (450/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||Eastern (UTC-4)|
|Area code(s)||508 / 774|
|GNIS feature ID||0611686|
Franklin was first settled by Europeans in 1660 and officially incorporated during the American Revolution. The town was formed from the western part of the town of Wrentham, and it was officially incorporated on March 2, 1778; its designated name at incorporation was to be Exeter. However, the town's citizens chose to be called Franklin in honor of the statesman Benjamin Franklin, the first municipality in the U.S. to be so named.
It was hoped that Benjamin Franklin would donate a bell for a church steeple in the town, but he donated 116 books instead, beginning a debate over who should be allowed access to these books. On November 20, 1790, it was decided that the volumes would be lent to the residents of Franklin for free via its library, which has been in operation since then. The Ray Memorial Library building was dedicated in 1904. In 1990, on the library's bicentennial, its staff published a booklet, "A History of America's First Public Library at Franklin Massachusetts, 1790 ~ 1990" to commemorate America's first public library and book collection.
The town is also home to the birthplace of America's father of public education, Horace Mann. The town is also home to what may have been the nation's oldest continuously operational one-room school house (Croydon, New Hampshire's school dates to 1780, but there is debate as to whether it is truly "one room"). The Red Brick School was started in 1792, its building constructed in 1833, and was operational until 2008. St. Mary's Catholic Church, located in central Franklin and built by Matthew Sullivan, is the largest Catholic parish in the Boston Archdiocese with some 15,000 members.
Franklin is located at  According to the U.S. Census Bureau the town has a total area of 27.0 square miles (70 km2), of which 26.7 square miles (69 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) (1 percent) is water.(42.0891, -71.4069).
Most of Franklin lies within the Charles River watershed. Principal streams include Mine, Shepard's, Miller, Uncas, Dix and Miscoe Brooks. Much of the marshland along Mine Brook has been permanently protected by the Natural Valley Storage Project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The extreme southwest corner of Franklin is part of the Blackstone River watershed. The town has an impounded series of lakes known as the Franklin Reservoir, which is not used as a public drinking water supply. The lakes are now protected open space donated to the town by the late Ernest DelCarte. Significant public forests and parks include the Franklin State and the Franklin Town Forests.
|* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
As of the 2010 census, there were 31,852 people, 10,866 households, and 7,877 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,105.4 inhabitants per square mile (426.8/km2). There were 10,327 housing units at an average density of 386.2 per square mile (149.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.8 percent White, 3.83 percent Asian or Pacific Islander, 2.0 percent Hispanic or Latino of any race, 1.4 percent Black or African American, 0.15 percent Native American, 0.29 percent from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races.
There were 10,866 households out of which 44.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.4% contained married couples living together, 22.4% were non-families, and 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present. 18.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.7% had someone living alone 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.80, the average family size 3.29.
The population includes 28.5% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 35.1% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 9.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 96.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.4 males.
The median household income in the town was $92,066, and the median income for a family was $81,826 (these figures had risen to $89,659 and $101,900, respectively, as of a 2008 estimate)). Men had a median income of $58,888 versus $36,557 for women; the per capita income for the town was $27,849. About 2.2% of families and 3.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.8% of those under 18 and 5.2% of those 65 or over.
The Franklin Public Schools have six elementary schools, three middle schools, and one high school. Franklin is also home to a regional vocational-technical high school and one charter school (Grades K - 8).
Franklin High School constructed a new high school building and tore down the old one in 2014.
The Red Brick School is a historic school in the town. It was used at various times for kindergarten through 4th grade students; sometimes for multiple grades simultaneously. It was one of the longest running one-room schools in America.
The Town of Franklin is also home to Dean College, founded in 1865, a private residential college with over 1,100 students. The college grants associate degrees in a number of subjects (98% of the students are accepted for transfer to four-year schools) and also offers bachelor's programs in Arts and Entertainment Management, Psychology, Sociology, History, English, Business, Marketing, Criminal Justice and Homeland Security Management, Sport Management, Sport Fitness, Recreation and Coaching, Dance, Liberal Arts & Studies, and Theater.
Points of interestEdit
As noted, the Franklin Public Library is the first public library in America and houses the original books donated by Benjamin Franklin. Across the street from the library is Dean College.
At one end of Franklin's Historic District is the little Red Brick School. Its classroom, believed to be one of the oldest still functioning as a public school in the United States, celebrated its 175th birthday in 2008.
Franklin has easy access to major cities like Boston and Providence with its two exits along I-495 at Route 140 and King St. Commuter rail service from Boston's South Station is provided by the MBTA with the Forge Park/495 and Dean College stops on its Franklin Line.
Franklin, and the surrounding towns also have a bus system, that is part of the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority (GATRA) bus authority. Its route includes stops to the Municipal Building, Senior Center, Franklin Public Library, and the Franklin Village Shopping center.
- Charles Partridge Adams, born in Franklin, 1858 – landscape painter, Gold Medal of National Mining and Industrial Exposition, Denver, for landscape
- Asa Aldis, Chief Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court
- Edward Reed Blake, born in Franklin - Wisconsin state legislator and businessman
- Major General Normando Antonia Costello, born in Franklin, 1905 – orchestrated surrender of Weimar, Germany
- Oliver Dean, MD, born in Franklin, 1783 - physician and educator, benefactor and founder of Dean Academy
- Milton Metcalf Fisher, born in Franklin, 1811 - abolitionist
- George Warren Fuller, born in Franklin, 1868 – responsible for important innovations in water and wastewater treatment
- Eddie Grant (baseball), born in 1883 and grew up in Franklin - baseball player, killed in WWI
- Peter Laviolette, born in 1964 and grew up in Franklin - former head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, former head coach of the 2006 Stanley Cup Champions Carolina Hurricanes. Coached Team USA in the 2006 Olympics in Italy. He currently coaches the Nashville Predators, and won the Western Conference finals in the 2016-2017 season.
- Horace Mann, born in Franklin, 1796 – educator
- Eliab Metcalf, born in Franklin, 1785 – artist
- Theron Metcalf, born in Franklin, 1784 - Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
- Robbie O'Connell, Irish folk singer, former resident of Franklin
- Albert D. Richardson, born in Franklin, 1833 – journalist, spy, and author
- Bobby Santos III, born in Franklin, 1985 - NASCAR driver
- Ilario Zannino, mobster, former resident of Franklin
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- Schmidt, Bernd (June 11, 2011). "80th Infantry Division Takes Weimar; Germans Fail to Resist Yanks; Col. Costello Arranges for Surrender" (PDF). Blue Ridge, The Service Magazine. 80th Infantry Division. pp. 13–15,. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
- Blake, Mortimer, ed. (1879). A History of the Town of Franklin, Mass: From Its Settlement to the Completion of its First Century. Providence, RI: J.A & R.A Reid. p. 150. ISBN 978-1-178-85357-5.
- Fisher, Milton Metcalf (1902). The Autobiography of Milton M. Fisher of Medway, Mass. Medway, Mass: Rumford Press.
- "Franklin's favorite son Peter Laviolette on wrong side of rink". The Milford Daily News. Retrieved April 21, 2014.
- "Eliab Metcalf". Smithsonian American Art Museum. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
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