DescriptionFranklin is believed to be the only city in Pennsylvania to have had four different forts within its boundaries. The town's history dates back to the French Fort Machault, built in 1753 near the confluence of French Creek and the Allegheny River. In 1760 the British built Fort Venango, which fell to the Native Americans during Pontiac's Conspiracy. American soldiers built Fort Franklin in 1787; it served as a defense against Native Americans. The fourth fort within the city, the Old Garrison, stationed federal troops 1796-99 and later served as the first jail of Venango County until 1819.
The county of Venango was established in 1800 with Franklin as the county seat. The town retained its rural atmosphere until the start of the oil boom in 1859. Drilling began in Franklin shortly after Edwin Drake's successful well came in near Titusville. Refineries were started, and Franklin's population more than tripled in the 1860s; three railroads came into the community, new businesses flourished, hotels were built and Franklin became a city in 1868.
Displays about local history can be seen at the Venango County Historical Society at 307 S. Park St. in the Egbert-Mullins-Koos House, a circa 1860 building; phone (814) 432-8260. Thirty Tiffany stained-glass windows adorn St. John's Episcopal Church on Buffalo Street; phone (814) 432-5161. The Barrow-Civic Theatre, a restored 1913 vaudeville house, features performing arts; phone (814) 437-3440 or (800) 537-7769.
Walking and bicycling can be enjoyed on the Allegheny River Trail and the Samuel Justis Trail.
Applefest, held Friday through Sunday the first full weekend in October, is an arts and crafts festival with live entertainment, a 5K race, an apple pie baking contest and an antique and classic car show. Apple orchards can be found in the surrounding area, but the main connection Franklin has with the fruit has to do with folk hero Johnny Appleseed's ties to the area. The festival draws nearly 100,000 to the Victorian downtown.
Visitor InfoFranklin Area Chamber of Commerce 1255 Liberty St. FRANKLIN, PA 16323. Phone:(814)432-5823
Self-guiding toursBooklets outlining a walking tour can be obtained at the chamber of commerce for $1.
ShoppingA farmers market is held on 12th Street on Wednesdays and Saturdays 8-1, May-Oct.
Things to SeeDeBence Antique Music World