The Franklin/Calkins House was first obtained by the society in 1983 and moved to its current site during that summer from its original site on Highway B just west of I-39. The house was built in 1857 at, roughly, the same time as the Old Plover Methodist Church and a number of the construction techniques are the same. The house is a combination of Greek Revival and Federalist styles. The exterior has changed very little from its original look. The society has returned the interior to its original look. The man who built the house was George Washington Franklin, perhaps a relative of Benjamin Franklin. Mr. Franklin became a potato grower and would be the first, serious, potato broker in the county when he exported the produce to the Union forces during the Civil War. The Franklin family lived a quiet, low key life indulging in only friendly horse races with local friends down what is now Highway B. They were also deeply involved in the temperance movement of the times.
The house descended through the female line of the family. Mr. Franklin's daughter married a local farmer named Smart. Their daughter married into the Calkins family. Mrs. Calkins died in 1981 and the Society was able to obtain the house two years later. The house has been taken back to what it would have looked like in 1870 owned by a prosperous farm family. Although all of the household items had been sold at auction the society does have a list of all of Mr. Franklin’s possessions from his probate ruling after his death. The interior has been reconstructed to reflect, as nearly as possible, this list and what would have been current in 1870.
The first floor of the house was completed in 1996 and the second story was completed in mid-summer 2001.
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