History of The Township of Franklin
On January 27, 1820 a 72,000-acre collection of small villages, previously part of Woolwich and Greenwich Townships, were incorporated into a new municipality; the Township of Franklin. At that time, Glassboro, Clayton, Newfield, and Elk were part of this tract. By 1924 these communities had formed independent municipalities and the Township of Franklin currently is comprised of approximately 55 square miles in area.
Farms, orchards, glasshouses, gristmills and saw mills were an important part of the economy in the early days. In 1860, railroads first came from Camden to as far as Woodbury and passengers had to get a stagecoach or other form of transportation to travel to Glassboro so they could get to southern New Jersey. In 1861, Woodbury to Glassboro rail lines were connected making it possible to travel from Camden to Millville, and a short time later to Cape May. Railroad stations would be built in all the small towns of Pitman, Glassboro, Clayton, Franklinville, Iona, Malaga, Newfield, and continued down the line to the Jersey Shore. The trains would carry both passengers and freight. Some people that were high school students in the 1930’s and 1940’s recalled taking the train to the old Clayton High School, due to the fact that there was no high school in Franklin Township until Delsea Regional opened. Delsea Regional opened in the Autumn of 1960 to students in grades 7 – 12. As the years passed, Delsea Regional Middle School was built to address the township’s growing population and small, localized elementary schools were replaced with larger facilities. Today, elementary students in Franklin Township and Newfield attend Mary F. Janvier School, Main Road School, and Caroline Reutter School.
Today the Township of Franklin remains a rural area with a mix of housing, businesses, farming, and some remaining woodlands. The population has grown from 1,137 per the census of 1820 to 16,669 in 2010. The Township of Franklin has a beautiful Community Center, which houses a Library, History Center, Senior Citizens’ area, Conference Room and a large meeting room. A nutrition center also offers lunches at a reduced cost to Senior Citizens during the week. The Center is located at 1571 Coles Mill Road, Franklinville, NJ across from the scenic Franklinville Lake Today the Township of Franklin remains a rural area with a mix of housing, businesses, farming, and some remaining woodlands. The population has grown from 1,137 per the census of 1820 to 16,669 in 2010.The Township of Franklin has a beautiful Community Center, which houses a Library, History Center, Senior Citizens’ area, Conference Room and a large meeting room. A nutrition center also offers lunches at a reduced cost to Senior Citizens during the week. The Center is located at 1571 Coles Mill Road, Franklinville, NJ across from the scenic Franklinville Lake.
Other area attractions include the following recreational parks, lakes, and related activities:
- Franklinville Lake & Malaga Lake Park – playgrounds, fishing, & picnic areas
- Iona Lake – fishing, canoeing
- Piney Hollow Nature Area – nature trails, hiking & fishing in McCarthy Lake
- Forest Grove Recreation Area – walking trail, playground
- Ashley Drive Park – walking trail, playground
- Youth Sports – football, cheer leading, basketball, baseball, softball, wrestling,
soccer, and in-line roller hockey
- Broadway Bound Players – youth theater group
- Community Day – In the year 2017 the Township will celebrate the 25th anniversary of this event
Public Safety Service Include:
- Full – time Police Department
- 5 Volunteer Fire Companies:
- Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Company
- Franklinville Volunteer Fire Company
- Janvier Volunteer Fire Company
- Malaga Volunteer Fire Company
- Star Cross Volunteer Fire Company
- Ambulance service provided by the County of Gloucester as of the end of 2016
- Prior to the County Ambulance Service, local, trained volunteer EMTs provided service.
In the old days the firemen were called out to service by the striking of a large medal ring, later days by a loud siren and telephone chain calls to volunteers. Today they are alerted electronically by pagers and alerts sent to their cell phones.
Municipal Building, 1571 Delsea Drive, Franklinville, NJ 08322
Public Works, Broad Street, Malaga, NJ 08322
Due to the size of the Township of Franklin, mail service is provided by 7 post offices located within 3 counties: Gloucester County Post Offices: Clayton, Franklinville, Malaga, Newfield & Williamstown; Salem County – Monroeville Post Office, and Cumberland County – Vineland Post Office. This fact often leads to confusion as to where some residents actually live. At one time there was an Iona Post Office located on Delsea Drive, a short distance south of Fries Mill Road. The Iona Post Office closed in the 1950’s.
200th Birthday Celebration
The year 2020 will be the Township of Franklin’s 200th anniversary; look for exciting things to happen!
Township of Franklin History Center
Location: Community Center, 1584 Coles Mill Road, Franklinville, NJ 08322
Telephone # 856-694-1653 ext. 16
Hours: Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
For information or to schedule a group visit by appointment, please contact Mrs. Carol Coulbourn at 856-694-0654
The History Center houses a collection of information and items related to local Franklin Township History. The most popular item is a complete collection of Delsea Regional High School yearbooks. Another popular item is a collection of Indian arrowheads discovered in the Township during the construction of Rt. 55. You will find old photos from the past, information on schools, churches, fire companies, ambulance corps, businesses, and other items of interest.
Historical Advisory Committee Members
Joseph Darminio, Colin McLain, Frank Pfrommer, Carolyn Gant, Joseph Bilinski, Diane Stockinger, Carl Napoli, Henry Kobik, Monica Zuba, Ethel Deitz & Carol Coulbourn. The Township Committee Representative is Mary Petsch-Wilson.