Franklin is rich in history - Its location, at the confluence of French Creek and the Allegheny River, was a key spot during the French and Indian War. The French claimed this territory and, in 1753, sent an advance party here to erect a fort. In early December, a young officer in the British forces named George Washington came from Virginia to warn the French that they were trespassing on land claimed by Great Britain. The French defied the warning and built Fort Machault. Here they amassed large forces of French, Indians and boats and planned to mount an attack on Fort Pitt, in what is now Pittsburgh, to reclaim Fort Duquesne for France.
Before an expedition could leave, however, word was received that the British were launching attacks on other French forts along the lakes. The French had to scurry north to protect Fort Niagara, after they had burned their fort and supplies here.
The British built their own fort, which was destroyed by Indians during Pontiac's uprising in 1763. The fort was burned and the soldiers massacred in a surprise attack.
After the American fort, Fort Franklin, was built in 1787, a large tract of land was reserved here by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Andrew Ellicott, who had surveyed for the site of Washington, D.C., had charge of the crew that laid out the city of Franklin.
Franklin became a center for world-wide oil production following Colonel Edwin Drake's discovery of oil in nearby Titusville. Unique to this valley, "Franklin Heavy Crude" was sold at a premium price.
The wealth from the oil boom has left a permanent architectural mark on the Franklin. Every major architectural style used in western Pennsylvania from 1830 to 1930 can be found here. From Federal Hill to the stately homes in Miller Park, the Historic District, registered in the National Registry of Historic Places, Franklin provides delight and surprises with each new turn along tree-lined streets.