This morning “Your Town Friday” is headed to Franklin! You’ll find the Johnson County community 24 miles south of downtown Indy. The city of Franklin is home to Franklin College, so the area attracts many visitors for big sporting events and it also attracts visitors for their art events.
Franklin dates back to the 1820’s and was named after Benjamin Franklin. Today the city is home to nearly 25,000 people.
Downtown Franklin has a number of historic homes and buildings, one is the Artcraft Theatre which today is preserved by Franklin Heritage, a historic preservation group.
“The theatre was built back in 1922, it was a silent movie theater and Vaudeville house and then in 2004 Franklin Heritage purchased it and began the restoration process on it. All we’ve had to do is just peel away the layers to find the existing historical character here and what’s great is you walk into all of this neon and it’s been here for that many years,” said Director Rob Shilts.
Today the art deco style theatre is a center for film, music and art.
“We do classic movies basically every other weekend and in between we have live acts and concerts and children’s theatre which brings foot traffic downtown to help all the other mom and pop shops,” said Rob.
Tickets are just $5 and $3 for kids and they try to make it more than just a movie by including some fun and some sort of prize giveaway.
“We warm the crowd up, we like them to have some fun before it and for people to realize this isn’t a corporate venture, this is for families to have fun. We try to give back to the community. We’ve not raised our prices in over a decade and our concession prices are lower than any of the other theatres,” said Rob.
Also downtown and housed in a brick home from 1960 is The Willard where you’ll see antique fixtures, a marble fireplace mantle and quite a bit of historical charm.
“They built up the bar which they wanted to specialize in, we’re an eatery and a pub, it’s been that way ever since, it’s a friendly environment,” said manager Leticia Pickett.
Their motto: Where Friends Meet
“It’s a great place to meet up and have conversation and drink beer. We have a lot of beer, 9 on tap and over 30 selections in bottles. I recommend our breaded tenderloin. It’s hand cut and breaded here at the Willard. I also recommend the wings, pizza, beer and sandwiches like the steak sandwich and Reuben sandwich,” said Leticia.
The next block over from the Willard you'll find the Johnson County Museum of History which dates back to 1931.
“It was first people brining in anything they had they thought would be historical like farming tools and people bringing in letters, diaries and dresses. The museum goes in chronological order so we start with Pioneer days in that room, we move forward into Civil War room, the Victorian room, World War II and 1950’s. I’m a little biased but I think this is one of the best county museums in the state. We do a good job of covering the history of the county. It’s a fun museum and we’re always free. It’s a great place for people to take their families,” said Director David Pfieffer.