- Whitetail Resort
- Franklin County
- Pennsylvania - United States
Franklin County is a county located in south-central Pennsylvania, United States. It was established on September 9, 1784, and is named after Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. The county seat is Chambersburg.
Colonial Era: Before European settlement, the region was inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Susquehannock and Shawnee. In the early 18th century, European settlers began to arrive and establish farms and communities.
French and Indian War: The area that would become Franklin County was part of the frontier during the French and Indian War (1754-1763), a conflict between British and French forces and their Native American allies. Fort Loudoun, located in what is now Chambersburg, was a British fort during this time.
American Revolution: Franklin County played a significant role in the American Revolution (1775-1783). It was a center of patriotic sentiment, and local militias were involved in various campaigns, including the defense of the frontier against Native American raids and British incursions.
County Formation: Franklin County was carved out of Cumberland County in 1784. The county seat, Chambersburg, was laid out in 1764 and named in honor of Colonel Benjamin Chambers, a prominent local figure.
Civil War: During the American Civil War (1861-1865), Franklin County, like much of Pennsylvania, was deeply affected. Chambersburg, in particular, suffered a devastating event known as the Burning of Chambersburg in 1864. Confederate forces under General John McCausland burned the town in retaliation for perceived support of the Union cause. This event left a lasting mark on the community.
Post-Civil War Era: After the Civil War, Franklin County experienced a period of rebuilding and growth. The county's agricultural economy expanded, and industries such as manufacturing and railroads began to play a more significant role.
20th Century and Beyond: In the 20th century, Franklin County continued to develop economically and demographically. It became known for its farming, as well as its manufacturing and transportation industries. The county also saw suburban growth from nearby metropolitan areas like Hagerstown, Maryland, and the Harrisburg metropolitan area.
Today, Franklin County remains an important part of Pennsylvania's agricultural landscape. It is also known for its historical sites, including those related to the Civil War. Chambersburg, the county seat, has a rich history and is home to several museums and cultural attractions that showcase the area's heritage.
Top Tourist Attractions
The County offers a range of attractions for visitors interested in history, nature, and culture. Here are some of the top tourist attractions in the county:
- Gettysburg National Military Park: While technically located in Adams County, Gettysburg is very close to Franklin County and is one of the most significant historical sites in the United States. It's the site of the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War and features a museum, battlefield tours, and the famous Soldiers' National Cemetery.
- Caledonia State Park: Located near Fayetteville, this state park offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, picnicking, and swimming. It's also home to the historic Thaddeus Stevens Blacksmith Shop.
- Wilson College: Located in Chambersburg, Wilson College is a private liberal arts college with a beautiful campus. The Fulton Center for Sustainable Living and the Hankey Center for the History of Women's Education are popular points of interest.
- Chambersburg Heritage Center: This center provides a comprehensive overview of the history and heritage of Chambersburg and Franklin County. It includes exhibits on the Burning of Chambersburg during the Civil War.
- Conococheague Institute for the Study of Cultural Heritage: This institute, located near Mercersburg, is dedicated to preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of the region. It features historic buildings, educational programs, and events.
- Totem Pole Playhouse: Located in Fayetteville, this professional summer theater offers a range of live performances, including musicals, comedies, and dramas.
- Michaux State Forest: This large state forest encompasses over 85,000 acres of woodlands in Franklin and Adams Counties. It provides opportunities for hiking, camping, hunting, and wildlife viewing.
- Norlo Park: Situated near Fayetteville, Norlo Park offers a variety of recreational activities, including sports fields, walking trails, a playground, and a splash pad.
- Cumberland Valley Rail Trail: This 11-mile trail runs through the scenic Cumberland Valley, passing through Shippensburg and Newville. It's popular for biking, walking, and jogging.
- King Street Church: Located in Chambersburg, this historic church dates back to the 18th century and features a beautiful sanctuary and a cemetery with graves of notable figures from the area's history.
The County experiences a humid continental climate, characterized by distinct seasonal variations in temperature and precipitation. Here are some key features of the climate in Franklin County:
- Summer (June - August): Average High Temperatures: 80-85°F (27-29°C). Average Low Temperatures: 60-65°F (16-18°C). Summers in Franklin County tend to be warm and relatively humid. Thunderstorms are not uncommon during this season, and occasional heatwaves with temperatures exceeding 90°F (32°C) can occur.
- Fall (September - November): Average High Temperatures: 60-70°F (16-21°C). Average Low Temperatures: 40-50°F (4-10°C). Fall is characterized by gradually decreasing temperatures and changing foliage colors. It's a popular time for outdoor activities like hiking and leaf-peeping.
- Winter (December - February): Average High Temperatures: 35-40°F (2-4°C). Average Low Temperatures: 20-25°F (-6 to -4°C). Winters in Franklin County are cold and can bring snowfall, particularly in January and February. Average snowfall totals range from 20-30 inches (51-76 cm) annually.
- Spring (March - May): Average High Temperatures: 50-60°F (10-16°C). Average Low Temperatures: 30-40°F (-1 to 4°C). Spring sees a gradual warming of temperatures and the emergence of new plant life. Rainfall is relatively evenly distributed throughout the season.
- Precipitation: Franklin County receives an average of around 38 inches (97 cm) of precipitation per year. This includes rain and the water content of snow.
- Snowfall: As mentioned earlier, the county experiences an average of 20-30 inches (51-76 cm) of snowfall annually. Snow is most likely to accumulate in January and February.
- Severe Weather: While not as prone to extreme weather as some other regions, Franklin County can occasionally experience severe thunderstorms with lightning, strong winds, and hail. Tornadoes are relatively rare but not impossible.
- Frost Dates: The average date of the last spring frost is around late April to early May, while the average date of the first fall frost is in early to mid-October.
The County is located in the south-central part of the state and is characterized by a diverse geography that includes a mix of mountains, valleys, and fertile agricultural lands. Here are some key geographic features of Franklin County:
- Appalachian Mountains: The county is part of the Appalachian Mountain region. The South Mountain range, a sub-range of the Appalachians, runs along the eastern edge of the county. This range includes various peaks and ridges, offering opportunities for hiking and outdoor recreation.
- Cumberland Valley: To the west of the South Mountain range lies the Cumberland Valley, a broad and fertile valley that stretches across the county. The valley is well-known for its agricultural productivity, with farms producing a variety of crops, including corn, wheat, soybeans, and vegetables.
- Conococheague Creek: This major waterway flows through Franklin County, meandering through the Cumberland Valley. The creek and its tributaries provide water for irrigation and contribute to the region's rich agricultural landscape.
- Blue Ridge Mountains: The northern part of the county is home to the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are another sub-range of the Appalachian Mountains. These mountains offer scenic views, hiking trails, and outdoor recreational opportunities.
- Lakes and Reservoirs: There are several small lakes and reservoirs in the county, including Cowans Gap Lake in Cowans Gap State Park. These bodies of water are popular for boating, fishing, and picnicking.
- Rural Landscape: Franklin County is predominantly rural, with picturesque landscapes of rolling hills, farms, and woodlands. It's a region known for its agricultural heritage, and you'll find farms, orchards, and vineyards throughout the area.
- State Parks and Natural Areas: The county is home to several state parks and natural areas, such as Caledonia State Park, Michaux State Forest, and Buchanan's Birthplace State Park. These areas offer opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife observation.
- Transportation Corridors: Franklin County has well-established transportation routes, including major highways like Interstate 81 and the historic Lincoln Highway (U.S. Route 30), which provide connections to neighboring regions and states.
- Historic Sites: The county has several historic sites, including battlefields and markers related to the American Civil War, which are integral to its geography and cultural heritage.
The diverse geography of Franklin County offers a range of recreational opportunities, from outdoor activities in the mountains to exploring the agricultural landscapes and historical sites. It's a region that showcases the natural beauty and historical significance of south-central Pennsylvania.