just a bit of history
The Franklin Village settlement began in 1824, and upon the completion of the Erie Canal, more settlers from New England arrived.
Many of the early settlers had trades including: blacksmith, carpenter, mason, bricklayer, and a shoemaker. For the next decade, Franklin continued to grow and had many businesses including: flour and feed mills, a lumber mill, a brick and tile yard, a wagon and sleigh shop, a cooperage, distillery and many small shops.
Life in the Village did not change until the advent of the automobile and the construction of highways, and a local developer laid out a plan calling for large single-family lots in the 1920’s.
Franklin was incorporated as a Home Rule Village on November 8, 1953 and continues the tradition of family homes and businesses as the Village had originally begun.
Village Center properties and their uses over the years
The Temperance House
This property, known today as the Van Every Building, was built a few years after the completion of the Van Every Grist Mill in 1837. For a period of time, it was run as the "Temperance Hotel," by Amy Van Every, Peter Van Every's wife. It has had a varied history as a home, hotel, and now a commercial property. Present tenants include Linda Gee Beauty and Village Pilates.
The Congleton Carriage Shop
Built around 1840, this 2-story frame building housed the Congleton Carriage Shop. The second story was used for painting buggies. It originally had a ramp outside the was used for raising and lowering the buggies via a pulley system. The forge was on the first floor towards the front of the builiding. The Congleton shop produced nails, chains, axles, hoes, and other miscellaneous items in addition to the wagons and buggies.
The original buidling burned down in the 1970's but was rebuilt to replecate the original. It is currently home to the Franklin Grill & Tavern, Franklin's only full-service restaurant.
The Congleton House
This two-story frame home was constructed around 1840 in the Early Greek Revival style and has three distinctive eye-brow windows. The basement has log beams with the bark still attached and fieldstone walls. It is located just to the south of the Congleton Carriage Shop and was the residence of George Congleton and his family. The nineteenth-century practice of building homes next to the workplace (on the same piece of property) was typical of villages like Franklin since few families could afford to buy seperate pieces properties for their homes and businesses.
As late as the early-1970's this home was still used as a residence. It was later converted to a commercial property - as so many homes in historic businesses districts are - and is a great example of adaptive reuse within a historic business district. Today it is home to Deja Vu Designer Resale.
The Thomas Midgely House
This home was built by Peter Van Every around 1835. Thomas Midgely, the property owner, was a welldigger who had six daughters and a son. His son John, was a Justice of the Peace, as well as a teacher at the Wing Lake School.
It is a two-story frame construction home with rough-hewn timbers and a field stone basement. The large front window and porch were added to the original structure somewhere along the way.
Along the way it was converted to a commercial use. Prior to 1964 it was home to a local dress shop, and then in 1964 it became the home of Dr. Mullen, a local dentist. Today it is home to the Wright & Zelazny dental practice. It is another example of a residence that was adaptively reused as a commercial property in a charming and appropriate way.
The Franklin Hotel
One of Franklin's early doctors, Ebeneezer Raynale, built this building as a general store and home for his new wife, Eliza. Dr. Raynale arranged for a merchant from Pontiac to operate his general store. The general store would evenually also become home to the after hours men's club. Around 1840, the doctor and his family moved to Birmingham. George Green, another Franklin resident, repaired the building, added to it, and opened it as the Franklin Hotel. It remained a hotel for quite a while, but eventually became a private residence. In the 1970's it was converted back to commercial use and has since been home to a variety of businesses.
Today it is home to Bead Works, Glamour Puss, Party Girls, and So Zen Designs. It is an fascinating example of how a building has been adaptively resused multiple times - from home/business to hotel to home and back to business. This type of change is very representative of historic business disticts across the United States.
The J.A. Buel House
Julian Buel, the son of Franklin resident Dr. H.S. Buel, built this house in the early Greek Revival style around 1860 after graduating with a medical degree from the State University at Ann Arbor. He married Malintha Durkee, the daughter of one of the earliest settlers in the state, Stephen Durkee.
In the 1940s and 50s, Samuel Buel Slade, grandson of Dr. Julian Buel, invented the dry roasted peanut in the building located behind the house.
Through the years it has been home to a number of retail businesses as well as a barbershop. Now known as the Slade House, it is currently home to a number of law offices, the largest being Faintuck, Schwedel, and Wolfram.
This is the oldest building in Franklin and was built by Elijah Bullock, the second land owner in Franklin, around 1830.
Built originally as a tavern, an upper floor was added in 1831 that housed a store run by a Mr. Darrow and Mr. Thompon. There are log beams in the basement that still boast original carvings of early villagers.
Mr. Bullock also made a significant gift to the community when he donated an acre of land for use as the Franklin Cemetery.
Over the years, this building has been home to a jewelry shop, hardware store, bookstore, and barbershop. In fact, Alan Trammel, shortstop for the Detroit Tigers from 1977 to 1996, used to get his haircut here!
Today, this historic building is home to Gorback Studio of Photography.
Site of Odd Fellows Hall
Burned in 1872, the building was rebuilt by George Bingham in 1900 to house the Macabees Hall. Around 1902, George moved the old A.A. Rust store and its contents to this newer building. Before the store and its contents were moved into this building, it was used for lodge meetings. Objections regarding "wild parties" forced the Macabees to leave. This action resulted in the building of the Franklin Public Hall, of which 160 shares were sold to residents for $5 each.
Today this is the location of the Market Basket of Franklin and Fitness Driven a personal training studio.
Dr. H.S. Buell House
In the summer of 1829, Dillucene Stoughton built a brick house that was not only the first of that consturction in Southfield, but is said to have been the first of its kinds in Oakland County. The original house was lost, but in 1900 Georg Bingham built the brick home that now stands on that same location.
A.A. Rust House
This 3-story brick structure was built around 1865 and was the home of A.A. Rust, Franklin's 5th postmaster. It was built at the cost of $5,000 , and was known as one of the "handsomest in the county."
In 1861, he bought John Biglow's general store, whose stock was invoiced at $50. He continued the sale of general merchandise, drugs, etc. for years after.
The Broughton House
Now home to the Village Offices, this home was built in 1835 and is a fine example of a 2-story frame Greek Revival architecture.
Built around 1860, this was Franklin's first church. Erected at the cost of about $2,000 it was dedicated in June of 1863. It is now a residential home.
Site of the Reid Blacksmith Shop
At one time this vacant parcel was home to the Reid Blacksmith Shop and the Reid Home. Across 14 mile was a cheese shop, and kitty corner still stands the Van Every Grist Mill, now known as the Franklin Cider Mill.
In 1900s, the Village Center was a bustling area of commerce and was home to the following merchants and businesses:
- Bethune Bigelow - Brick and tile
- A.J. Bowden - Barber
- Jesse Bowden - Blacksmith
- Herb Broughton - Grocer
- Dr. J.A. Buel - Physician
- Dr. H.S. Cox - Physician
- R.C. Cummings - Wagon Maker
- Adna Dunbar - Fruit Tree Agent
- G.H. German - Horsedealer
- S.E. Green - Livery
- William Hall - Shoemaker
- Samuel McCrumb - Feed and Cider
- Daniel McIntyre - Blacksmith
- Laura Midgley - Dressmaker, Milliner
- Noble Roberts - Tinsmith
- Rust and Bingham - General Store
- Francix Xavier Steele - Lumber and Ladder Manufacturer
- Peter Van Every - Flour Mill
- Mrs. Jane Van Every - Hotel
- Fred Warner - Cheesemaker
- William West - Blacksmith