Franklin Historical Society-- Franklin, New Hampshire

Current Newsletter

April 2019​​

Franklin Historical Society
The snow may now be over (we hope), and spring, with its inherent warmer temperatures, may soon be encouraging the trees and flowers to emerge from their winter dormancy. The grey of the past few months will once again be replaced with resplendent growth, color, and new life. Although subjected to a routine cycle of storms, fortunately the accumulation of snow never amounted to enough to warrant the Society to resort to clearing the building’s porch roofs, a chore fraught with some peril and demanding considerable physical effort. Now that saved energy can be directed to completing the removal of the west wall’s vinyl siding and the repair/replacement/restoration of the damaged clapboard, window trim and sill that fester underneath. Rescuing the Webster building from previous neglect will be project number one in a growing number of tasks on the Society’s “To Do” list. Over the winter it was determined, during regular “building checks”, that water was infiltrating a foundation wall in the basement, and streaming down the floor. This finally explains why, when the building was uninhabited and unheated after the Sisters left, that the concrete base of a floor support had cracked and was deteriorating. The water went directly to this structure, puddling around it and infiltrating what minor cracks may already have existed. Through freeze and thaw cycles, the damage became expansive. Enough concern was generated that a lally column (adjustable jack post) had been placed next to it as backup support. Some clean-up and treatment of the wall will be required to eliminate future seepage, and the concrete pad at the base of the effected support can be rebuilt. Otherwise, the building stood up very well, with sufficient heat to keep pipes from freezing even during the coldest days.
Spring also begins another year of enlightening programs offered to all, the first of which will occur on Thursday, April 4th, at 7 pm at the Society’s building at 21 Holy Cross Road (directions on the Society’s webpage, The presentation will focus on the amazing donations received since the last meeting in November of 2018, and will feature a donor of several of those acquisitions. John Benham as featured speaker will be explaining the uniqueness of a pump made by Clark and Haynes, a local company, around 100 years ago. John will also be there to relate the “backstory” of photos he has also been so generous to contribute. 
Which brings us to the most recent of gifts received by the Society, and a round of thanks to their donors: from Chief Michael Foss of the Franklin Fire Department, a hose and reel at least a century old that was used to hang by a water source on a swiveling bracket on an interior wall to fight fires in factories, and possibly this one came from either the Sulloway or Stevens mills; from Pat Duffy (via Judith Ackerson), a color aerial photo of the Franklin area from about 2006, which shall be most handy in comparing to vintage photos of times past to ascertain the inevitable changes that continue to occur; from Dave and Donna Bates in Andover, an interesting archive of Florence Short’s school reports, some from the Nesmith School, spanning the years 1906-1913 or the fourth grade into high school, including what appears to be a graduation photo from a Catholic School (St. Mary’s?); and from Wanda Hebert, Marcel J. Hebert’s ceremonial sword, scabbard, and sash from the Franklin Knights of Columbus, with a snapshot of Mr. Hebert (albeit, not in his uniform). As always, these additions to the Society’s collections are deeply appreciated. 
The April 4th program is open to all, with no admission charge, with light refreshments offered between the program and the regular monthly business meeting. Photos, like the one below, with a possible description, will be offered and open to discussion. If you have not been to the Society in a while, come see what changes there are in the exhibits, and learn just a bit more about the fascinating history of the great city of Franklin.
[This month’s image comes from a very recent donation by Carlton Ham, the bulk of which has not been sufficiently scanned as yet. This one item really stood out as most unusual: a photo of the Franklin Academy, printed on a napkin! Proclaiming the Academy’s existence from 1830-1876, one can only surmise that it was created as part of the country’s celebration of its centennial.]

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