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Monday, February 08, 2016

The Franklin County Times
14131 Highway 43
Russellville, AL 35653

(256) 332-1881
(256) 332-1883 (fax)

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The largest industries in Franklin County are poultry and durable goods manufacturing.

Franklin County: 31,223

Franklin County experiences a mild climate with hot Southern summers and a relatively mild winters.

Geogrpahic location
Franklin County is located in the northwestern corner of Alabama. The Franklin County Times' office is in Russellville, one of several cities in Franklin County. Situated in the scenic Tennessee Valley, Russellville is conveniently located to every point of interest in Northwest Alabama. Russellville is also a short, 45-minute drive to the "'Volunteer State," and less than half an hour by car to Mississippi. Two major roadways converge in Russellville, U.S. 43 and Highway 24, giving citizens of the city easy access when traveling to other parts of the state, and making Russellville an ideal location for business and industry. Russellville is a one-hour and 40 minute drive to Birmingham, a little more than an hour's drive from Huntsville, and just 15 miles south of the Quad Cities.

Education has been a priority for Franklin County since its establishment. La Grange College, Alabama's first college, opened in Franklin County in 1830. Today the county boasts two school systems, Franklin County Schools, and Russellville City Schools. They offer all students the opportunity to obtain an excellent education. A broad range of programs prepares the students for continued academic advancement, vocational attainment and responsible citizenship.

Franklin County, named after Benjamin Franklin, was established Feb. 4, 1814, by the Alabama Territorial Legislature. The county originally extended north to the Tennessee River, but a parcel was later divided off and became Colbert County.

It is a land that once was called home by several tribes of Indians, most notable the Chickasaws, Creeks and Cherokees. Following the war of 1812, Congress appropriated funds for the construction of a military road from Florence, on the Tennessee River, to New Orleans, to be constructed by the army under the command of General Andrew Jackson. Major William Russell, an officer and scout in General Jackson's army, helped in the construction of the road and, after its completion, returned as one of the area's first settlers. He built a pioneer cabin two and one half miles east of the present city that bears his name, and later added a trading post. Within a few years, most of the pioneers in the small village around his trading post resettled near the intersection of Gaines Trace Road and Jackson Military road, site of the present city of Russellville.

Russellville was incorporated Nov. 27, 1819, and when Alabama attained statehood almost a month later, Russellville became the county seat of Franklin county. Alabama's iron industry had its beginnings on the banks of Cedar Creek, a few miles south of Russellville. Joseph Heslip, who had worked in the iron industry in Pennsylvania, purchased 16 and one half sections of land (10,560 acres) rich in iron ore and established the Cedar Creek Furnace in 1818.

A foundry at the plant produced iron post, skillets and other objects. The furnace was shut down in 1837 and never reopened. When war broke out in 1861, Franklin County citizens had different convictions. Some believed their rights were being threatened by the federal government while many sympathized with the North, and enlisted in Union Military Units. After the war ended in 1865, Franklin County began to rally.

The county's rich limestone deposits that were used in both the steel and building industries were being mined extensively and Russellville received its first railroad in 1886. Farming, mining, timber and stone comprised Franklin County's chief industries. Cotton was its chief staple crop. With diversification of trade, industry and agriculture Russellville began to grow to its position of leadership in Franklin County. Today Russellville is the county's largest city.

Franklin County has a number of social clubs and activities in which to participate. Each August the area celebrates with its annual Watermelon Festival. At the two-day festival, there are many exciting events that draw between 15,000 to 20,000 people to the city on a yearly basis. Food, arts and crafts, a 5K run, and a car and truck show are just a few of the things associated with the Watermelon Festival that keep bringing people back to the popular event year after year.

Franklin County is rich in recreation with a wealth of activities. Russellville has a strong Parks and Recreation Department with baseball fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, and soccer fields. Tourists attractions range from the Bear Creek Lakes to Overton Farm, Dismals Canyon and Rock Bridge Canyon. Franklin County is also home to Twin Pines Country Club. The club offers golf, swimming and tennis.

Area information
Franklin County Chamber of Commerce
(256) 332-1760

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