The center & museum was built shortly after the devastating tornado of 2003 which destroyed much of the community including the former Franklin Community Hall.
The park is built at the site of the former Franklin Community Center. A memorial garden surrounded by pavers encircles the gardens. Many historic artifacts are incorporated into the design of the park. The Franklin Community Park & Memorial Garden runs adjacent to the Franklin Sidewalk which is listed on the National and State Historic register.
The Byway was designated a state byway by the Kansas Legislature on June 15, 1990. It extends roughly 167 miles tying Fort Leavenworth to the north and then onward to the Oklahoma border. The route approximates the old military trail used by the Army to transport troops and supplies between the frontier forts.
A historic site listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior
March 16, 2007 and on the Kansas Register of Historic Places November 18, 2006. Constructed in 1936 with federal funding assistance, the Franklin Sidewalk connects two rural mining communities in Crawford County – Arma and Franklin. The 3-foot wide sidewalk begins at the south edge of Arma and stretches south 1.7 miles to the south edge of Franklin.
It has become well known as the “longest sidewalk connecting two communities.” It runs adjacent to Business 69 Highway also known as “Jefferson Highway” and the “Frontier Military Scenic Byway” It appeared in the Guinness Book of World Records perhaps in the 50s or 60s as the longest sidewalk between two towns.
The Jefferson Highway was the first transcontinental road to traverse the North American continent North to South and possibly the First Dedicated International Highway in the world. Conceived at a meeting in New Orleans in 1915 the highway was dedicated in 1919. Its Northern end was in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada then running through Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma,Arkansas, Texas and finally ending in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Jefferson Highway only existed as a named highway for a few years until it lost its title to the new standardized numbering system in the 1920s.
Visit FranklinKansas.com for more information.