Monday, October 01, 2007

Downtown Franklin

Franklin, PA (population 7,200) is the county seat of Venango County. Venango is an Indian word for ‘Beautiful River Runs Through It’ and the Allegheny River which runs from Oil City to Franklin and then on down to Pittsburg, is certainly a beauty.

Franklin, also called the Victorian City, was an important French fort. A young British officer named George Washington was sent to the town in 1753 to warn the French that they were trespassing on land claimed by Great Britain.

Their downtown is one of the loveliest I’ve seen in my travels with all of its old two and three story brick buildings still intact and largely occupied on the main floor. Efforts are under way to redevelop the upper floors with apartments and condos, something that I view as critical to long term success in any downtown.

The community did a downtown study and blueprint on its future in 2004, revamping parking and beginning the redevelopment of upper floors. A 498 seat, early-1900s theater has been redone and the town puts on 7 festivals each year. The largest is the annual Applefest held the first weekend of October each year, with over 100,000 annual visitors to the town. Other festivals are Franklin on Ice (ice sculptures); May Garden Mart; 4th of July; Music Festival and Taste of Franklin; DeBence Antique Music World; Rock in River and Light-up Night. That first festival, Applefest, started 25 years ago as a pie baking contest and has grown ever since. The Rock in River Festival includes the PA Stone Skipping Competition. Last year’s winner, Russ Byers, set a Guinness Book of World’s Records last year with 51 skips!

The town also features noon concerts in the summer and a patio series of musical groups on Friday evenings.

Franklin is a wonderfully charming town with a bright future.


Peter A. Greene said...

The summer concerts include a concert in the park every Thursday evening. Half of those are presented by the Franklin Silver Cornet Band, which is one of America's oldest traditional town bands. Founded in 1856, the band is still composed of volunteers from throughout the community, from high school teenagers to octegenarian retirees. You can read more about us at

BoomtownUSA said...

Thanks for sharing the information on Franklin. I was very impressed with the community and the number of events that they had going on in their downtown.


Denise said...

Having lived on four of the five continents and originally a native Pennsylvanian I can honestly say that Franklin is one of the prettiest towns I have seen.
May the people there appreciate the loveliness of their town center and not let the big shopping mall (s) ruin it as it has done in so many other places.
Congratulations all ye of Franklin - be watchful over her!
Denise Kristiansson

Anonymous said...

The town of Franklin is most noted for the oil boom in the nearby Titusville, Pa,area and grew up from the oil money invested in the beautiful homes there. I was born and raised in Franklin but return on a regular basis to visit family and friends there. A lot of classmates and friends have returned in their retirement years to live and help rebuild the community, which like a lot of areas in this country, has fallen into hard times. Without their dedication and hard work,along with those who never left Franklin, it would not be the beautiful community it is today. Many Thanks to all for this.