FOR A MAP OF THE FRANKLIN HISTORIC DISTRICT
Franklin Historic District contains nearly 420
noteworthy structures and was listed in the National
Register of Historic Places on December 29, 1982.
This area is comprised of the original mid-nineteenth
century town which grew in a linear fashion along the
left bank of Bayou Teche and the more densely built
railroad town, which developed during the late nineteenth
and early twentieth centuries. Because much of the
original town was rebuilt when the railroad
came, many of the surviving mid-nineteenth century
structures are grand monuments scattered in an essentially
turn-of-the-century townscape. Several areas,
particularly those near the railroad, have an almost
pure turn-of-the-century character.
Franklin's major commercial corridor runs along Main
Street between Willow and Adams Streets. Although this commercial district includes a number of
modern buildings that affect the area's overall
character, these buildings are easily overpowered by many
turn-of-the-century masonry structures, most of which
are two stories high with parapet caps reaching almost
stories. These buildings include such decorative
treatments as stepped gables, brick panels, arched
windows, ornamental keystones, pilasters, crenellations
and corbelled brickwork.
Main Street, which is Franklin's major thoroughfare,
runs parallel to Bayou Teche and consists of two roads
separated by a neutral ground that was part of the model
roadway's original White Way. Ornamental
lighting still stands along East Main Street's boulevard
and serves as an ever-present reminder of the charm and
grace that characterized life in Franklin during the
early decades of the twentieth century.
Although Main Street was the site of the town's
earliest development, it retains only two conspicuous
reminders of the pre-Civil War era. One is
Shadowlawn, a two story frame mansion with six fluted colossal
Corinthian columns forming the double entrance gallery.
The other is the south end of Main Street between Gates
Drive and Upperline Street. This scene is dominated
by six large Greek Revival Houses, four of which incorporate
colossal pedimented porticos.
Despite the fact that this stretch contains
some smaller more recent houses, the older
structures dominate because of their size and
sweeping lawns. The area offers a quality
of spaciousness characteristic of the town's
pre-Civil War era. The pretentious
grand village effect is enhanced by the two rows
of live oaks that flank Main Street.
Because the town developed to some degree
west of Main Street prior to the introduction of
the railroad, there are several isolated
mid-nineteenth century relics along First and
Second Streets. Presumably raised during
the turn-of-the-century building boom, it is
suspected that more of these raised cottages
incorporating such Greek Revival elements as
Corinthian-columned galleries existed in the
area at one time.
With the late nineteenth century's boom in
the saw mill industry and the coming of the
railroad, these older houses became immersed in
a proliferation of building activity
characterized buy small frame houses with narrow
setbacks, small lots and Queen Anne and Eastlake
details. These houses fall into three main
categories: shotgun, raised cottages with
late nineteenth century details and L-shaped
houses with side gables and semi-octagonal bays.
The finer examples of this last group are
heavily worked with several kinds of imbricate
shingles, turned posts, brackets, barge boards
and gallery turrets.
Larger two-story, turn-of-the-century houses
occur with less frequency in the railroad
development area and are somewhat isolated among
smaller houses. Not forming any
consistency in their neighborhood's overall
streetscapes, these houses achieve their effect
through the application of detailing that is
much closer to the high style of the Queen Ann
period than their smaller counterparts.
Early twentieth century bungalows occur in
limited numbers in this area and merely fill in
existing areas already predominated by earlier