Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Franklin County

Franklin County marker in Chambersburg, PATown of Chambersburg, PA

Marker Text: Formed on September 9, 1784 from Cumberland County and named for Benjamin Franklin. Site of Falling Spring, noted limestone trout stream. Birthplace of James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States. Chambersburg, county seat, was laid out 1764.

Location: County Courthouse, Memorial Square (N. Main St.), corner of U.S. Route 11 & 30, Chambersburg, PA. Erected by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 1981.

Franklin County marker in front of the courthouse in Chambersburg, PA

The front of the Franklin Co. Courthouse can be seen to the left of the marker.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  While taking photos of historical markers, I have noticed that each state deals differently with how they place markers related to the historical background of individual counties. In Virginia and West Virginia, they place markers related to counties at the borders between counties, so there are as many county markers as there a roads entering a county. Where in Pennsylvania and Kentucky place county related markers in front of the county courthouse. I generally don't photograph multiple county markers, unless I notice the text is different between markers, like I noticed with two Warren County, VA markers I posted earlier.

Franklin County marker in front in Chambersburg, PA town square.

Marker is in the town square of Chambersburg in front of the courthouse, the Underground Railroad marker is located in the background.

  In Pennsylvania, today's marker was taken in Chambersburg, PA in Franklin County. From an historical point of view Franklin County and Chambersburg is full of history. John Brown stayed here for awhile prior to his raid on Harper's Ferry. Franklin County was at the center of Underground Railroad activities. Franklin County was the birthplace of Jame Buchanan the only U.S. President to date to come from Pennsylvania. Chambersburg was one of few northern towns invaded by the Confederates during the U.S. Civil War and almost completely destroyed by the Confederate army of Gen. James McCausland in 1864, the only northern town to experience this degree of destruction. Many of these events have individuals markers and some I will post later or have posted.

Franklin County Courthouse in Chambersburg, PA

Franklin Co. Courthouse with statue of Benjamin Franklin on top.

  Franklin County lies west of Adams County where Gettysburg is located and Chambersburg's history and the events leading to the Battle of Gettysburg intersect in the days before the battle. J.E.B. Stuart, Robert E. Lee, John McCausland, A.P. Hill and other Confederate officers passed through Chambersburg and Franklin County during the years of 1862-64.

  In the 1700s, Franklin County was at the heart of Pennsylvania’s frontier. Scots-Irish, German, and Welsh immigrants settled throughout Franklin County, establishing the town and villages, such as, Chambersburg, Greencastle, Mercersburg, Shippensburg, and Waynesboro. Franklin County southern border runs along the Mason Dixon Line. The Mason Dixon Line became commonly referred to as the line between the North and the South.

  Franklin County was created by action of the PA state legislature on September 9, 1784 out of Cumberland County and legislators decided on naming the county in honor of Philadelphia resident and famous American Benjamin Franklin. Franklin is the third most popular county name in the U.S.

Franklin County Courthouse with the Benjamin Franklin statue on the top.

Front of the courthouse with the Benjamin Franklin statue on top.

  In 1865, Frederick Mayer of Pittsburgh carved a statue of Benjamin Franklin from pine which was later leafed in gold. The 8-ft., 250-lb. gold-leafed Ben Franklin statue sat atop the Franklin County Courthouse from 1865-1991. It was taken down and restored in 1991 by four local craftsmen. A fiberglass replica resides atop the courthouse today. The original statue can be seen in the window of the Chambersburg Heritage Center.

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