THE FRANKLIN TOWN HALL
By Teresa R Eshelman
The earliest mention of Town Houses (Town Halls) in the Town of Franklin appears to be recorded in the Town Board meeting minutes of February 10, 1892, whereby two Town Houses were to be built, not to exceed $610.00 for both. The resolution comes up again in the meeting of April 30, 1892, calling for two Town Houses, which were to be built, one near Hunters Home and the other at Vermontville within the year of 1892. The buildings were to be built 26 feet wide and 52 feet long, with 14-foot studding and two floors, known as a story and a half. The buildings were to be to be well lighted and sheathed with good lumber, paper and clapboard. Pine or cedar shingles were to be used for roofing and a stone foundation laid in mortar. During the earlier times, Town Board meetings, for the most part, were held in the Supervisor's home. It appears that the town houses were not as yet built and on March 4, 1896, further discussion was held at a meeting, to buy the Hunters Home School to be used as a Town House. On April 29, 1902, the Board met again for the purpose of building a Town House in Election District No. 2 (Vermontville).
However, information gleaned from newspaper clippings and residents, a former schoolhouse, known as the Red School House situated on 1/4 acre of land, was purchased by the Town of Franklin for $500.00 to be used as a town hall in 1922, when a new school house was constructed. (Documentation can be found in Franklin County Deeds Office, Liber 431 Page 738, dated November 16, 1922). Thoughts of this former schoolhouse bring back nostalgic memories of the building with white posts in front.
Mention is made of constructing an addition to the Vermontville Town Hall, in the minutes of October 5, 1950. to include a room for Town records. Many improvements were made, with the addition of a kitchen, running water and toilet facilities. Many organizations met there weekly. It is now 1965 and Route 3, a New York State Highway, is being realigned and many buildings along the route are falling under the eminent domain law, the Town Hall included. The State of New York offered to buy the building or the Town could move it salvaging what was possible, which the towns people favored doing. The town officials are now renting space for meetings in the Old Nazarene Church in 1967.
The Franklin Town Hall 1999
It is now October 24, 1968 and the Franklin Town Board is meeting in the Vermontville School House and still looking for a home. Since the centralization of rural schools, the Vermontville School House is no longer needed for classes. It was purchased by the Town of Franklin in 1970 to be used as the Franklin Town Hall where municipal business would be conducted. Documentation can be found in the Franklin County Deeds Office, Liber 447 Page 1134, dated January 13, 1970. It stands on one acre of land. The main hall was being renovated in March 8, 1971 to accommodate its new owners. The governing body of the Town of Franklin is located in the former schoolhouse with office space for the various town officials. Many various functions including celebrations and even a jury trial take place here.
This former schoolhouse was built in 1912 and records as to the builder are unknown. The building remains on its original site and the exterior covering is clapboard and shingles. It sits diagonally on a lot facing a corner of the intersection, and is very prominent. A very interesting feature is the little cupola with flared eaves. It is considered a town landmark.
Town of Franklin
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