Franklin Town Common
Built - 1917
The town of Franklin was initially settled in 1660 and had its designated name as Exeter. After incorporation in 1778, the name was changed to Franklin to honor Benjamin Franklin of Boston and Philadelphia due to his vast contributions in the field of education and the arts, inventions and his long government service. When this honor was bestowed upon him, he was requested to donate a bell but Franklin responded with an offer of books for the town's residents stating that "sense was preferable to sound." This original Franklin collection of books is still housed in the town's library which is also one of America's first lending institutions.
Franklin's well-built bandstand has been sitting on the Franklin Common since 1917. The structure was inspired by the designs of the Far East and is of the Craftsman style. It is an octagonal-shaped pavilion approximately measuring thirty feet wide by twenty feet tall and rests on a granite and brick base. Piers of thin smooth tile which alternate with rough brick rise to support the hip roof which is covered with red tiles. The unpainted underside of the roof rests on carved wooden corbels and large wooden brackets. A circular motif was designed and built into the deck and reads "Presented to the Town of Franklin by Harry Taft Hayward and Edith Wires Hayword - MCMXVII." The bandstand was re-bricked with roof repairs in 1983 by students from the Tri-County School and funded by the town. In 1995 another renovation was made by Clark, Cutler and McDermott Company which funded the renovation of the structure.
Each summer several Wednesday evening band concerts are held that are free to the public with a wide variety of musical groups proceeded by a puppet or clown show for the kids. The bandstand is also the venue for 4th of July celebrations with concerts and amusements, carnival shows and rides along with civil wedding ceremonies during the summer months. Annual Memorial Day observances have been held on the structure with speeches by dignitaries and state and federal political candidates. A local charter school uses the bandstand for special events also and annual Christmas tree lighting ceremonies take place every year.
INFORMATION SUPPLIED BY:
Del Arnold, Chairperson Pro Tem
Franklin Historical Society