The town of Franklin was originally a part of Norwich and was called West Farms. A separate Ecclesiastical Society was established in 1716 and the first meetinghouse, on Meetinghouse Hill, was completed two years later. As related in The Celebration of the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Primitive Organization of the Congregational Church and Society in Franklin, Connecticut, October 14th, 1868 (1869) [also printed in A Historical Address Delivered in Franklin, Connecticut, October 14th, 1868, on the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Settlement of the Town, and the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of its Ecclesiastical Organizations (1870)]:
It will thus appear that the same building materials which constituted an important part of the meeting house built by John Elderkin, at the Town Plot [what is today Norwichtown in Norwich] in 1673, entered somewhat largely into the first church built upon Meeting House Hill more than forty years subsequent to that date. This, in turn, was taken down and re-erected in 1746, in what was afterwards the eighth society in Norwich [the Portipaug Society, which existed from 1761 to c. 1861], and after battling with the elements for nearly forty years longer, it had to succumb a third time, and parts of it were finally converted into a dwelling house [built by Comfort Fillmore], where very possibly some remnants may be found at the present time.
After bitter debates over where to build a replacement for the original meetinghouse, the second was eventually constructed c. 1745-1747, again located on Meetinghouse Hill. This was replaced by another building about twenty years later. The current Franklin Congregational Church edifice was built in 1863 and was renovated in 1989.
The Dr. Ashbel Woodward House is located at 387 Route 32 in Franklin. It is a Greek Revival house, built in 1835 (or, by some accounts, 1824). It was once the home of Dr. Ashbel Woodward. Born in Willington in 1804 and educated at Bowdoin College, Dr. Woodward served the medical needs of Franklin residents from 1829 until his death in 1885. He also served as a surgeon with the 26th Connecticut Regiment in the Civil War. Dr. Woodward kept a farm and the property has a number of agricultural outbuildings. A local historian and genealogist, Dr. Woodward wrote a number of historical and biographical papers and delivered an address on the history of Franklin on October 14, 1868. His descendants gave the house and land to the state in 1947 and it was later used by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection as part of a wildlife study site. The state sold the house to the town of Franklin in 2000 and in 2004 it opened as a historical museum displaying artifacts from the town’s history.