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Franklin, Indiana
City of Franklin
Johnson County courthouse in Franklin
Johnson County courthouse in Franklin
Official seal of Franklin, Indiana
Seal
Location of Franklin in Johnson County, Indiana
Location of Franklin in Johnson County, Indiana
Country United States
State Indiana
County Johnson
Townships Franklin, Needham, Pleasant
Area
 • Total 14.76 sq mi (38.23 km2)
 • Land 14.76 sq mi (38.23 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation
725 ft (221 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 25,313
 • Density 1,714.62/sq mi (662.04/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
46131
Area code(s) 317
FIPS code 18-25450
GNIS feature ID 0434762
Website http://www.franklin.in.gov/

Franklin is a city in Johnson County, Indiana, United States. The population was 23,712 at the 2010 census. Located about 20 miles (32 km) south of Indianapolis, the city is the county seat of Johnson County. The site of Franklin College, the city attracts numerous regional sports fans for the college teams, as well as audiences for its art events.

History

Franklin was platted in 1823. It was named after Benjamin Franklin. The Franklin post office was established in 1824.

Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Franklin College Library (Shirk Hall), Franklin College-Old Main, Franklin Commercial Historic District, Franklin Senior High School, Greenlawn Cemetery, Herriott House, Johnson County Courthouse Square, Martin Place Historic District, Masonic Temple, and August Zeppenfeld House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Geography

Franklin is located at 39°29′23″N 86°3′24″W / 39.48972°N 86.05667°W / 39.48972; -86.05667 (39.489585, -86.056784), 20 miles (32 km) south of Indianapolis and 90 miles (140 km) north of Louisville, Kentucky, on I-65 and U.S. 31.

According to the 2010 census, Franklin has a total area of 13.01 square miles (33.70 km2), all land.

There are three small waterways in Franklin: Canary Creek and Hurricane Creek flow into Young's Creek. These creeks flood frequently. Their small floodplain has been adapted as the basis of Franklin's green walkways and parks, which extend the entire length of the town. Hurricane Creek empties into Young's Creek in Province Park, downtown, which flows into the Big Blue River farther South. A buried stream, Roaring Run, flows beneath Franklin. In the June 2008 Midwest floods, all of these streams overflowed, damaging or destroying more than 100 houses throughout Franklin, including some entire neighborhoods.

Climate

The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Franklin has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 882
1860 2,367 168.4%
1870 2,707 14.4%
1880 3,110 14.9%
1890 3,781 21.6%
1900 4,005 5.9%
1910 4,502 12.4%
1920 4,909 9.0%
1930 5,682 15.7%
1940 6,264 10.2%
1950 7,316 16.8%
1960 9,453 29.2%
1970 11,477 21.4%
1980 11,563 0.7%
1990 12,907 11.6%
2000 19,463 50.8%
2010 23,712 21.8%
Source: US Census Bureau

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 23,712 people, 8,885 households, and 5,986 families living in the city. The population density was 1,822.6 inhabitants per square mile (703.7/km2). There were 9,895 housing units at an average density of 760.6 per square mile (293.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.9% White, 1.4% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 1.0% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.5% of the population.

There were 8,885 households, of which 36.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.6% were married couples living together, 13.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 32.6% were non-families. 27.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.07.

The median age in the city was 34.6 years. 26.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.6% were from 25 to 44; 22% were from 45 to 64; and 14.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.7% male and 52.3% female.

Attractions and economy

Several major international companies have operations in the city: Toyota, NSK, KYB and Mitsubishi. The city has worked to strengthen its international connections. Franklin is home of the first Ritters Frozen Custard, which became a national brand. An interesting but little-known historical fact is that Franklin once had its own automobile factory, the Indiana Motor & Manufacturing Company. It produced the Continental brand from 1910 to 1913, and the Martindale & Millikan brand in 1914 and 1915. The Whitesides truck was also built in Franklin between 1910 and 1914

FranklinIN-1936POcornerstone
Franklin, IN Post Office Cornerstone

Downtown Franklin is noted for the number of well-maintained, older houses and early brick streets. Landmark buildings include the Johnson County Courthouse and the Artcraft Theatre. Due west of the Artcraft is RFD Franklin, a fine dining restaurant in the renovated former City Hall, a Colonial Revival building originally constructed in 1936 to be used as a post office. It was designed by architect Louis A. Simon under Postmaster General James Farley. It was the original site of a federally commissioned Works Progress Administration (WPA) mural painted by Franklin artist Jean Swiggett, who started his career during the difficult years of the Great Depression. The WPA work was moved to the "new" post office when it was built by the federal government. In the 1980s, a private non-profit group, Franklin Heritage, Inc., was formed by citizens to preserve and restore its historic assets for new purposes. It now owns the Artcraft Theatre and is making it a community center for film, art, and special events. The current City Hall is located just east of the Johnson County Courthouse, and it also contains the Festival Country Indiana Visitor Center, which contains interactive exhibits that tell the story of the communities of Johnson County.

The Franklin Parks and Recreation Department maintains several miles of walking trails through the city, which connect various parks, community centers, the public library, and the public pool. Due to flood damage, the long park along the creeks was closed for the summer of 2008.

The city is the site of Franklin College, a four-year liberal arts college established in 1834 and the first in the state to admit women. Its students add to the life of the town and college events are open to the community.

The Daily Journal is the local newspaper in Franklin and also covers news in all of Johnson County.

Life magazine feature

The December 2, 1940 issue of Life magazine included a photo essay by Bernard Hoffman entitled, "A Small Town's Saturday Night," depicting farmer Glen Dunn and family on a typical Saturday night in Franklin: Dad getting a hair cut, and the kids seeing a movie at the Artcraft, people at the drugstore, as well as photos of other social spots, such as Nick's Candy Kitchen and the town's "lovers' lane." The nighttime photo showing double-parked cars and thick crowds on Jefferson Street is perhaps the best known of the set. According to the late-20th century critic James Guimond in his book on American photography,

Since "Life" wanted a perfect Saturday night, and one they considered typical, the photographer did not select a town still blighted by the Depression... What "Life's"' readers wanted, it seemed, was a stereotyped village that confirmed their nostalgic beliefs about small towns in which no one is bored, poor, or lonely; and the magazine's photographers and editors - like Norman Rockwell in his "Saturday Evening Post" covers - gave them exactly that kind of town.

Franklin Wonder Five

The small town became nationally famous during the 1920s due to the outstanding athletic achievements of the local high school basketball team, who became known as the Franklin Wonder Five. A small group who had played together as boys, led by Fuzzy Vandivier and coached by Ernest "Griz" Wagner, they became the first high school team to win the state championship for three consecutive years (1920–22). The youths followed Wagner to the local Franklin College, where he became coach and they earned the title of national college champions in 1923. They turned down an offer to play against the top professional team, the New York Celtics.

Sister cities

Franklin currently has two sister cities:

  • Japan Kuji, Japan since October 1960
  • People's Republic of China Luqiao, China since April 2010




Education

Franklin Community Schools operates public schools serving almost all of the city, including Franklin Community High School. A small section in the north is assigned to Clark-Pleasant Community School Corporation, served by Whiteland Community High School.

Franklin has a public library, a branch of the Johnson County Public Library.

Notable people

  • Steve Alford, former Indiana basketball player, now head coach of Nevada.
  • Austin Armacost, American reality television personality
  • Clinton Lycurgus Armstrong, (b. 1844) Medal of Honor recipient for Siege of Vicksburg during the American Civil War.
  • Homer Bone, U.S. Senator of Washington state (1933–44), was born in Franklin.
  • Roger D. Branigin, governor of Indiana (1965–1969).
  • Anthony J. Bryant, historian of Japan and translator.
  • George Crowe (brother of Ray), was first Indiana Mr. Basketball in 1939, and played professional baseball with a variety of teams.
  • Ray Crowe (brother of George), coach of Crispus Attucks High School basketball team that won state championships in 1955 and 1956, becoming first African-American team in nation to claim state title
  • Andrew Duggan, film and television actor.
  • Hal Fryar, actor and television personality.
  • Gordon Johncock, 1973 and 1982 Indianapolis 500 Winner, resided in Franklin.
  • Nick Hardwick, former center for the San Diego Chargers (2004-2014).
  • Milliard Lee, born in 1909, a star on the Indiana Avenue (Indianapolis) scene during the 1940s, playing in the Bob Womack big band, and leading his own group at Avenue venues like the Sunset Terrace, Ruby Shelton's 440 Club, and the Cotton Club. Also longtime pianist and band leader for B.B. King.
  • Marjorie Main, actress, portrayed "Ma Kettle" in the Ma and Pa Kettle movies. From nearby Acton, Indiana, attended Franklin College.
  • Jon McGlocklin, professional basketball player, inducted to three honorary sports associations.
  • Paul V. McNutt, governor of Indiana (1933–1937).
  • Jesse Overstreet, U.S. Representative from 1895 to 1909, introduced the Gold Standard Act.
  • George Marion Robinson Jr., singer in the Y.M.C.A Quartet (a.k.a. "Colored Y.M.C.A Quartet" a.k.a. "Hoosier Favorite Quartet") and the Foster Hall Quartet in Indianapolis. Attended Alva Neal High School, a 1911 graduate of Franklin College, an educator and musical director at many of the prominent churches in Indianapolis, Deputy Clerk of Marion County.
  • Max Terhune, actor, appeared in National Barn Dance (1933) with Gene Autry.
  • Forrest Tucker, film and television actor, star of TV series F Troop
  • Fuzzy Vandivier, basketball player, elected to Basketball Hall of Fame.
  • John Terrell Vawter, developer of Vawter Park Village at Lake Wawasee, half-uncle of noted architect of same name; donated Vawter Memorial to county
  • Gene White, basketball player for 1954 state champion Milan Indians (inspiration for the movie Hoosiers)
  • Marcus Peter Blakemore (January 3, 1889 - October 9, 1959 - aged 70), was one of seven Founders of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. (January 5, 1911 at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana) Blakemore was one of the first three freshmen initiates of Kappa Alpha Nu. He wired the first Fraternity house for electricity, the first Negro home ever wired for electricity in Bloomington, Indiana.
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