The Spirit of Franklin
History Project -
is funded in part by the Kansas Humanities Council, a nonprofit
cultural organization promoting undrestanding of the history,
traditions, and ideas that shape our livs and build community.
The Spirit of Franklin project is
sponsored by the Heritage Committee of Franklin Community Council, Inc.
mission of the Heritage Committee is as follows: The FCCI
Heritage Committee’s purpose is to preserve, protect and promote the
cultural, natural and historical heritage of the community of
Franklin. The group works to conserve the area's natural,
cultural and historic resources. Realizing that our inheritance
of architecture, cultural landscapes, and material culture is an
irreplaceable asset and resource the committee is dedicated to
documenting the history of the community. The group encourages
citizens to serve the community by helping to preserve it’s rich
Our goal on this project is to gather and preserve information
regarding the early history of the community. With the aging
population we feel it is imperative that we begin with oral histories
of local residents and former residents. There are approximately
162 families remaining in the community.
will be aimed at collecting basic historical information, taking
oral histories of the community and organizing those
Visually there remains little historical
information regarding the community of Franklin. Our goal
for this project is to gather and compile oral histories from the
residents. These oral records will give us guidance for future stages
of our project on further research through newspapers on microfiche,
government records and other sources. It is important that we lay
groundwork of how the community was formed, what ethnic groups settled
here and why they came, how they worked together, etc. We will
focus on the strength on this community during the early years and how
the variety of immigrants worked together much the same as the varied
ethnic groups are working together today. We will be looking at
contrasts and similarities of the residents virtually 100 years
later. We know the community began as a mining camp so that
will be a central theme in this early study and many of our questions
will relate to that.
We will seek to
interview each senior resident within the community as well as former
residents who were raised in the community or have ties to the
community. Residents will be notified in advance through our monthly
newsletter which is sent to every resident in the community or they
will be contacted by phone. Our goal is to reach between
25% of the residents in this first stage. If anyone is
interested in participating in this please contact Phyllis at 347-8387.
interview the current volunteers who have been working on the
rebuilding process. We want to compare both generations to see
what motivates them to live in Franklin, work in the area, help with
building and rebuilding the community, etc. Why did the early
pioneers settle here? What kept them here? How do these
“new” pioneers answer those same questions?
This project is
important due to the large loss of historically significant photos,
artifacts, etc. from the tornado. The community began in the
early 1900s with a huge influx from the Little Balkan countries who
settled in this community to work in the mining industry.
Our goal is to document the development of this community by the varied
immigrants who settled here.
was formed as a mining camp in the early 1900s. The mix of
cultures made for a very diverse experience. This project
will be a valuable record of what influence these different cultures
had in forming the values, beliefs and way of life of the
Without memories and documentation of those memories, we would have no
history. Every human being is a piece of history with their own unique
story to tell.
A quote by Alex Haley, author of Roots speaks volumes for the
importance of these oral histories: "Every time an old person
dies, it is as if a library had burned down."
histories will be placed at Special Collections & University
Archives, Leonard H. Axe Library, Pittsburg State University,
Pittsburg, KS 66762, Archivist: Randy Roberts.
Copies of the results of our project will be placed in a heritage room
which is being built within our new community center. An
area is also being planned in a large entry way to display any
artifacts, stories, etc. We have obtained some
artifacts from an historic church that was
demolished. These items will be placed in a memorial
marker at the new community park.This research will have a lasting
value on this community and the entire region. As
time progresses we have other plans to move forward with other
historical projects but feel time is important as we have seen how
quickly life can change. In an instant the community was lost (or
so it appeared). The spirit of the people of this community
remains and they have received national recognition through the media
for their efforts and their tenacity in seeing the community
rebuilt. We want to preserve documentation of the spirit
that initially made this a thriving community as well as the spirit
that remains within the residents and drives them forward to rebuild
These oral histories will preserve the historic record of our community
for present and future generations.
If you would like to be a part of this undertaking please let me
know. We would also welcome former residents to take part in this by
mail or e-mail. I would be happy to send a questionnaire which
can be filled out and returned to us. We want to include everyone
who played a part in the history of Franklin in any way. I can
be reached at the e-mail below or you can call 620-347-8387 or
We welcome new members to the Heritage Committee who have
an interest in preserving our heritage.