Franklin, Massachusetts

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Town of Franklin
Main Street in 2010
Main Street in 2010
Official seal of Town of Franklin
Industry Need Not Wish
Location of Town of Franklin
Town of Franklin is located in the United States
Town of Franklin
Town of Franklin
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 42°05′N 71°24′W / 42.083°N 71.400°W / 42.083; -71.400Coordinates: 42°05′N 71°24′W / 42.083°N 71.400°W / 42.083; -71.400
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Norfolk
 • TypeCouncil-manager
 • Town
Jamie Hellen
 • Total27.03 sq mi (70.00 km2)
 • Land26.64 sq mi (69.00 km2)
 • Water0.39 sq mi (1.01 km2)
300 ft (91 m)
 • Total31,635
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,279.59/sq mi (494.05/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Code
Area code(s)508/774
FIPS code25-25100
GNIS feature ID0611686

The Town of Franklin is a city[4] in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. Franklin is one of thirteen Massachusetts municipalities that have applied for, and been granted, city forms of government but wish to retain "The town of" in their official names.[5] As of 2010, the city's population was 31,635. It is home to the country's first public library, the Franklin Public Library with its first books donated by Benjamin Franklin in 1790. It also contains the largest Catholic parish in the Boston Archdiocese, St. Mary's Catholic church, with some 15,000 members.


Franklin, Massachusetts in 1879

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.[6] However, the town's citizens opted to call it 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,[7] 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 as the Franklin Public Library. 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.[8]

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,[9] 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 42°5′N 71°24′W / 42.083°N 71.400°W / 42.083; -71.400 (42.0891, -71.4069).[10] 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) is water.

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.[citation needed] Significant public forests and parks include the Franklin State and the Franklin Town Forests.


As of the 2010 census,[22][23] 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)[24]). 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.

65.5% of Franklin residents claim to be religious, of that 54.2% are Catholic, 3.0% are Jewish, 2.2% are Presbyterian, 1.7% are Episcopalian, while members of Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Buddhist, Pentecostal, Mormon, Hindu, Mennonite, and Muslim faiths make up less than 1.0% of the population each.[25]


The town is represented in the Massachusetts General Court by Representative Jeffrey Roy and Senators Becca Rausch and Karen Spilka.[26][needs update] It is part of the Massachusetts Senate's Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex district.


The Franklin Public Schools have six elementary schools, three middle schools, and one high school. Franklin is also home to Tri-County 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.[27]

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.[citation needed]

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 interest[edit]

As noted, the Franklin Public Library is the first public library in America,[28] the original books of which were 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 public schools in the United States, but is not still functioning, 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 Street. Commuter rail service from Boston's South Station is provided by the MBTA with the Forge Park/495 and Franklin/Dean College stops on its Franklin Line.

Franklin is part of the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority (GATRA) service region, which operates the Franklin Area Bus. Its route includes stops to the Municipal Building, Senior Center, Franklin Public Library, and the Franklin Village Shopping center.

Notable people[edit]

  • 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[29]
  • Edward Reed Blake, born in Franklin - Wisconsin state legislator and businessman[30]
  • Oliver Dean, MD, born in Franklin, 1783 - physician and educator, benefactor and founder of Dean Academy[31]
  • George Warren Fuller, born in Franklin, 1868 – responsible for important innovations in water and wastewater treatment
  • Adam Giardino, born in Franklin, FHS Class of 2007, television and radio sports broadcaster[32]
  • Richard Grieco, Class of 1983, actor and former fashion model
  • Eddie Grant (baseball), born in 1883 and grew up in Franklin - baseball player, killed in WWI
  • Murray Hill (performer) aka Betsey Gallagher - comedian, drag king
  • Peter Laviolette, born in 1964 and grew up in Franklin[33] - 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 also coached the Nashville Predators, and won the Western Conference finals in the 2016–2017 season.
  • Horace Mann, born in Franklin, 1796 – educator
  • Theron Metcalf, born in Franklin, 1784 - Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
  • Robbie O'Connell, Irish folk singer, former resident of Franklin
  • Jen O'Malley Dillon, campaign manager[34]
  • 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


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  2. ^ "Franklin Massachusetts". Retrieved Sep 1, 2020.
  3. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  4. ^ Although it is called the "Town of Franklin," it is a statutory city of Massachusetts. See Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Town Profile". Town of Franklin. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  8. ^ "History of the Franklin Public Library". Town of Franklin. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  9. ^ The Red Brick School Archived 2008-09-11 at the Wayback Machine, Franklin, Massachusetts site. Retrieved 11 September 2008.
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  11. ^ "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
  12. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  13. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  14. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  15. ^ "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  16. ^ "1920 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  17. ^ "1890 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  18. ^ "1870 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  19. ^ "1860 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  20. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  21. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  22. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  23. ^ "Franklin, Massachusetts - QuickFacts - United States Census Bureau". Archived from the original on 2013-03-08. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  24. ^ "Franklin city, Massachusetts - Fact Sheet - American FactFinder". Archived from the original on 2020-02-11. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  25. ^ "Franklin Town (zip 02038), Massachusetts Religion". Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  26. ^ "The 187th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts" (official website.) Retrieved December 23, 2012. < Archived 2013-01-05 at the Wayback Machine>
  27. ^ "The New FHS: Timeline". The New Franklin High School. Archived from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2008.
  28. ^ The Public Library: A Photographic Essay. Chronicle Books. 2014-05-27. ISBN 978-1-61689-327-9.
  29. ^ Aldrich, Lewis Cass (1891). History of Franklin and Grand Isle Counties, Vermont. Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co. p. 223.
  30. ^ 'Wisconsin Blue Book 1885,' Biographical Sketch of Edward Reed Blake, pg. 425
  31. ^ 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.
  32. ^ Correspondent, Tim Whelan Jr /Daily News. "The Beat: Franklin's Adam Giardino one step from majors in the broadcast booth". MetroWest Daily News, Framingham, MA. Retrieved Sep 1, 2020.
  33. ^ "Franklin's favorite son Peter Laviolette on wrong side of rink". The Milford Daily News. Retrieved April 21, 2014.
  34. ^ Kelly, Joyce (December 18, 2008). "On the Obama trail". The Milford Daily News. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  • McCarthy Earls, Eamon. "Franklin: From Puritan Precinct to 21st Century Edge City." Franklin: Via Appia Press (, 2012. ISBN 978-0-9825485-4-7

External links[edit]