Franklin began as a mining community in the early 1900s. It is located just off Highway 69 Bypass which is a major corridor between Kansas City and Pittsburg, Ks. /Joplin, Mo. Franklin was a shipping point on the Joplin & Pittsburg electric railroad. The first post office in Franklin was established in 1908.
On May 4, 2003, a high-end F4 tornado ripped through Franklin, the path reached over 0.5 miles (0.80 km) wide at points. Franklin was all but destroyed; the U.S. Post Office, community center, and approximately 1/3 of family homes were destroyed. Four deaths and approximately 20 injuries were reported. Miner’s Hall Museum opened on May 1, 2012, and was established to preserve and present authentic materials and artifacts that document the history of coal mining and its impact on Southeast Kansas, as well as to be a vital partner in the educational and cultural life of Southeast Kansas through its collections and programs.
Franklin Sidewalk National and Kansas Historic Site & Guinness World Record Holder Listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior March 16, 2007 and on the Kansas Register of Historic Places November 18, 2006. Constructed in 1936 with federal funding assistance, the Franklin Sidewalk connects two rural mining communities in Crawford County - Arma and Franklin. The 3-foot wide sidewalk begins at the south edge of Arma and stretches south 1.7 miles to the south edge of Franklin. It has become well known as the "longest sidewalk connecting two communities". It runs adjacent to Business 69 Highway also known as "Jefferson Highway" and the "Frontier Military Scenic Byway".