History of Franklin Borough
Sussex County, New Jersey

Hamlets of Franklin Borough:

Franklin Furnace
Mine Hill
South Franklin
The Junction     
Old Main
High Street
Plains Settlement
Better Homes

10,000 years ago  --  cliff dwellers lived in the Wildcat Rock Shelter (now New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection land). 

Franklin is known as "the flourescent mineral capital of the world."  It is well-known in geological circles. 

as early as 1750  -- outcrops of zinc on Mine Hill were deeded from the proprietors to the heirs of Anthony Sharpe of Sharpesboro, or Hamburg.  The proprietors had found that it was too difficult to smelt the zinc.  Later, the land went to Samuel Fowler, the town's most prominent citizen.  Fowler found a way to produce marketable zinc.  He was able to produce white paint with zinc. The Fowler Quarry was located along Cork Hill Road just south of Franklin Pond at the edge of the iron mines.  

as early as 1765  --  it is thought that William Potts built the furnace at Franklin Pond, northwest of where the Franklin Falls are now.  A large area of Franklin Pond became filled in with tailings from the mining operation.

1700s  -- the Munson family lived in Munsonhurst.  Today Samuel Munson is one of Franklin's outstanding citizens.

c. 1770  --  a furnace was built along the Wallkill River. There was another furnace on the Wallkill River at White Bridge, near Fountain farm. Bog ore was used to feed the forges.  The Ames family from Massachusetts owned many homes and mining interests in Franklin.  Oakes Ames owned a general store near Franklin Furnace.   

The town was first known as Franklin Furnace, named after William Franklin, the colonial governor at the time.  

1823  -- the Baptist Church (later a Presbyterian church and now a Jewish synagogue). 

1844  -- death of Samuel Fowler. 

mid-1800s  -- influx of the Irish.  Cork Hill was named for county Cork in Ireland. 

Civil War (1861-1865)  --  Col. Samuel Fowler (1818-1865) commanded troops including Company D from Lafayette, Company I from Newton, and Company K from Hardyston. 

early 1870s until c. 1900 --  a blast furnace.

shortly after 1870  --  A number of railroads served the town: the New York Susquehanna & Western, Lehigh & Hudson River, Sussex, Mine Hill and Lackawanna and Western Railroads.  Art Holly provided transportation back and forth to Franklin's Union Station via a horse and wagon.   

mid-1870s  --  the Boston Franklinite Iron Company works in Franklin were reputed to be among the largest in the nation. 

1890s to 1910  --  arrival of eastern European immigrants, especially Hungarian.   The area where many of these immigrants lived became known as Siberia.

1898  --  the Great Consolidation of 1898 of the zinc companies into the New Jersey Zinc Company.  It produced over 22 million tons of zinc ore.  (The Palmer Shaft and Mill complex was the main facility.)  The zinc operations made Franklin a world-class mining town.  They called in mining expert R. M. Catlin from South Africa and he was largely responsible for the great success of the zinc operations.  He became known as "The Man that Saved Franklin."

late 1800s  --  George W. Greer owned the oldest hotel in town, the Franklin House.  (It was later owned by Watson Littell of Rockaway.)  Just up the hill from the Franklin House, on Church Street, was the Crane General Store. 

beginning of the 20th century  --  iron ore mining in Franklin was over.

1900-1910  --  the Sussex Limestone Company was served by a railroad spur of the New York, Susquehanna & Western line from Corkhill Road. 

before 1900  --  the Pollard hotel built in the hamlet of Greenspot.  Later the New Jersey Zinc Company bought the hotel as the company hotel and named it the Sterling Hotel. Joseph Patrick Quinn Sr. served as mayor of Franklin and was also the manager for the Sterling Hotel. 

1905-1915  -- arrival of Cornish tin miners.

1905  -- the register book at the Washington Hotel just below the train station served as a boardinghouse for single immigrant miner with David W. McCarthy as the proprietor.  

c. 1908  -- at Buckwheat Hill (Mine Hill) was the Franklin Quarry for limestone (now a pistol range) and the Taylor Mine.  (The Sussex Limestone Company was another limestone quarry, this one in South Franklin, behind today's plaza across from the Franklin Diner.)

c. 1908  --  Cob Row, probably built by the Boston Iron Company near Franklin Falls as housing for immigrant families, either burned down or was taken down. The New Jersey Zinc Company provided swimming facilities at Franklin Pond.  In the winters ice was harvested on Franklin Pond. 

1908  --  Franklin Hospital erected when R. M. Catlin learned that injured miners had to go all the way to Paterson to be treated. 

1910  --  the Sterling Hotel was torn down to make way for the new Palmer Mine and Mill complex.  Joseph Patrick Quinn Sr. built Quinn's Hotel Bar across the street from the Sterling Hotel.

1913  -- breaking away from Hardyston Township, Franklin becomes Franklin Borough.

1914  --  it is said that the town had a theatre, the Franklin Theater, that was the best between New York City and Pittsburgh.

1915 - 1920  -- arrival of Mexicans and Chileans.  The mining companies looked to the south because of the shortage of American workers during World War I.

1915  -- police chief Herbert C. Irons came to Franklin from the Canal Zone just after Franklin's incorporation when it was a pretty tough town.

1915  --  a vocational technical school opens in Franklin.

1919  --  nurse Phyllis Treloar died helping the sick during the Spanish flue epidemic. 

1924  --  the Phyllis Club, named for nurse Phyllis Treloar, staged the musical comedy Bimbo in the Franklin theater. (The Phyllis Club is now known as the Wallkill Valley Woman's Club.)

1927  -- death of Dr. Charles Dunning, the physician for the New Jersey Zinc Company, in a fall from his hayloft.  The new company doctor was a young Canadian, Frederick John "Jack" Scott, who married Margaret Dunning, the eldest daughter of Dr. Dunning, in 1933. 

1927  --  the company housing for the English mine workers was known as the Better Home section of Franklin, named after the company from which the housing plans came.

1929  --  building of Route 23 in the area. 

1929  --  Quinn's Hotel Bar torn down because it was sinking due to the mine right under it. 

1944  -- the old Dr. Samuel grist mill burned down on Christmas Eve. 

1950s  --  death of Aaron Holly of Hamburg.  His son, Jim, ran the auto taxi service.

1954  --  last skip of ore brought up the Palmer Shaft (Palmer Mine and Mill complex). 


William R. Truran.  2004.  Images of America: Franklin, Hamburg, Ogdensburg, and Hardyston. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Press.