The first successful airplane flight west of the Mississippi River took place in Kansas in 1910, when Clyde Cessna flew his plane for the first time in Wichita.
Franklin County, located in northeastern Kansas, has a rich history dating back thousands of years. The area was originally home to various Native American tribes, with the Osage being the most prevalent. European settlers began to arrive in the early 1800s, primarily attracted by the region's fertile soil and abundant natural resources.

The county was officially established on June 3, 1855, with Ottawa as its county seat. The town of Ottawa, named after the Ottawa Tribe, quickly grew into an influential trading and transportation hub, thanks to its strategic location along the Marais des Cygnes River. In 1859, Ottawa University, one of the oldest educational institutions in Kansas, was founded in the town.

Franklin County became deeply involved in the abolitionist movement during the mid-1800s. Many settlers were strong opponents of slavery and actively participated in the Underground Railroad, helping fugitive slaves escape to freedom. John Brown, a prominent figure in the fight against slavery, resided in the county for a time and used it as a base for his anti-slavery activities.

During the Civil War, Franklin County experienced several conflicts, including the Battle of Fort Titus in 1864. After the war, the county continued to prosper agriculturally, with crops such as corn, wheat, and livestock becoming vital to the local economy. In the late 19th century, the arrival of the Kansas City, Lawrence & Southern Railroad further stimulated growth and trade in the county.

Today, Franklin County remains a vibrant community, proud of its rich history and commitment to progress. From its Native American roots to its abolitionist legacy, the county's past continues to shape its identity. Visitors can explore historical landmarks, museums, and trails that highlight Franklin County's unique heritage while enjoying the natural beauty and charm that the area has to offer.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Franklin County, Kansas.

  • 1855 - Franklin County is officially established as a county in the state of Kansas.
  • 1857 - Ottawa is designated as the county seat of Franklin County.
  • 1858 - The first newspaper in Franklin County, The Kansas Tribune, is published in Ottawa.
  • 1864 - The Kansas Pacific Railway reaches Franklin County, boosting economic development.
  • 1867 - The first Franklin County Fair is held in Ottawa.
  • 1875 - Ottawa University is founded in Ottawa, becoming the first university in Kansas.
  • 1898 - The Franklin County Courthouse, an iconic building in Ottawa, is constructed.
  • 1913 - Pomona State Park is established, becoming a popular recreational area in Franklin County.
  • 1935 - The historic Old Depot Museum is opened in Ottawa, showcasing local history.
  • 1983 - The Franklin County Historical Society is founded to preserve and promote the county's history.
  • 2007 - Celebration Park, a large recreational area, is opened in Franklin County.