FRANKLIN SCHOOL (2015)
A First and Last
Franklin has held valuable minerals for over 1 billion years. Mining of iron began in the 1760s and the first school was a log structure near the Baptist Church, replaced by a brick school in 1871 when iron production increased and railroads arrived. Mining for zinc intensified around 1912 with world-class size operations and the need for skilled labor calling for the first vocational-technical school in the county to be built to educate workers. Construction began in 1914 beside an old oak tree on this hilltop site, which had been home to athletic fields for the rugged Franklin Miners baseball and football players. Increased population required expansion in 1922, in 1926 with a high school, and again in 1960, including for a time high school students from Hardyston, Hamburg, Ogdensburg, Vernon, and Jefferson. Several generations of students - parent and child - have gone from kindergarten through 12th grade in this same building; this was the last K-12 school as such in New Jersey, changing when Wallkill Valley Regional High School opened in 1982 for grades 9-12. Franklin School still serves the Borough, educating the children of Franklin on the hilltop beside the oak tree.
DONATED BY FRANKLIN ALUMNI AND STUDENTS, AND THE FRANKLIN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, IN FRANKLIN BOROUGH AT THE SCHOOL'S 100TH CELEBRATION, SEPTEMBER 19, 2015
Coordinates on Google Maps: 41.117270, -74.583359
Photo: Thor Carlson