Franklin Cotton Factory and Foundry
Dyer Pearl, Thomas Parkes and Joseph L. Campbell established a manufacturing operation for production of cotton and woolen goods on this 3.5 acres site in 1825. The first steam powered loom in the state was housed in the three-story building measuring 50 ft long and 40 ft wide and contained a 50 horsepower steam engine. By 1850, James Plunkett became a partner in the business, which employed 30 men and 17 women with a capital investment of $35,672. The adjacent iron foundry had the capacity to make castings for ploughs, stoves and irons, gin and mill machinery. It is believed the fluted columns at the courthouse were molded here in 1857. In December 1862, the factory and foundry were destroyed by U.S. troops under Brigadier Gen. David Stanley.
Joshua B. Lille established the Franklin Flouring Mill on this site in 1869. C.H. Corn and W.F. Eakin purchased the mill in 1909. In 1924, grain valued at $400,000 was used to produce over 70,000 barrels of "Franklin Lady Flour" and other products, which were distributed primarily in southern market. By 1926, several improvements were made including the construction of large concrete grain elevators at a cost of $60,000 with a storage capacity of over 250, 000 bushels of grain making it the second largest such facility in the state. Dudley Casey purchased the mill in 1945 from Ernest and Wilbur Corn. The five-story mill built ca. 1887 and valued at $700,000 burned on January 8, 1958. The grain elevators survived the fire and continued to operate for three decades.