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History of Franklin, Indiana

Franklin history dates back to the early 1800’s, when the city was founded due south of Indianapolis.

Historic buildings in Franklin, Indiana were built around this time period. Some of the more famous include Franklin College, founded by the Baptists in 1834; the August Zeppenfeld House, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places; the Masonic Temple, from 1924, now the site of the Johnson County Museum of History; and the Johnson County Courthouse on the square in downtown Franklin, a breathtaking example of the red brick buildings with white trim from the 1880’s.

Video profile of two volunteers at the Johnson County Museum of History in Franklin, Indiana

This latter structure is the fifth county courthouse, constructed between 1879 and 1882 and renovated in 1984. It has a place in the National Register of Historic Places. The Johnson County Museum of History is the place to visit for a fulfilling and accurate portrayal of the history of Franklin and the history of the settlers of Central Indiana. Along with their many walk-through exhibits and window artifacts displays, the Johnson County Historical Society maintains perhaps the best genealogy libraries in the state.

Franklin’s Heritage, Inc. is a group dedicated to the preservation of the city’s intrinsic and distinctive heritage, especially active in downtown Franklin. The community holds firm to their respect for the past, while being committed to improvement in the future.

No discussion of the history of this city would be complete without mentioning the historic Greenway Trail, created by the ubiquitous Franklin Parks and Recreation Department. This is a walking trail that follows Young’s Creek and then branches off into the countryside before it meets up with Hurricane Creek. From the covered bridges along the trail to the sweeping wooded paths, to the historic structures along the way, those who travel this historic trail experience a true connection with historic Franklin, Indiana.