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Franklin County

Franklin County is named for Benjamin Franklin, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and who lived from 1706 to 1790.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Douglas County

E – Miami County

S – Anderson County

W – Coffey County and Osage County


Created:  August 25, 1855                     Map of Kansas highlighting Franklin County

County Seat:

St. Bernard  1855 – 1858

Minneola      1858 – 1864

Ottawa         1864 – present


County Courthouse – Ottawa


Location:  315 South Main Street / East 4th Street

Built:  1892 – 1893

Style:  Romanesque

Architect:  George P Washburn & Sons of Ottawa

Contractor:  L W Divelbiss of Olathe


Description: The building faces west and is a three story red colored brick and limestone structure. The building is located on the landscaped grounds of the Courthouse Square in the center of Ottawa. The building has a raised basement. On the west front is a porch supported by four square brick pillars with balcony above. On each corner of the building are large square brick towers with peaked roofs. The second story windows are arched with stone trim. On the roof are two square cupolas. The west cupola contains a four-sided clock and the east cupola is an open four-sided bell tower. The base is constructed with rough-hewn limestone blocks. The roof is hipped. In the interior, entries beneath the porch lead to a long corridor on both the basement and first story. The large two story County District Court courtroom is located in the middle of the second story and extends into the third story. The north and south sides of the courtroom feature double-height arched windows. A generous balcony bisects the southern windows. The ceiling is decorated with wood banding reminiscent of coffering, and the walls feature wood wainscoting. The original furnishings included fixed seating for jurors, lawyers, and the public; railings that define the various seating areas; and a grand judge’s bench. The building was remodeled in1985. The architect was Ossmann & Associates of Topeka and the contractor was Markowitz Builders Inc. of Emporia. On the east side is the County Jail and on the north side is the County Court Building. 


Note:  The contract to construct the courthouse was awarded on December 30, 1891 for $45,940. Sub-contracts were let to S Reidy of Ottawa for stone work, J Jeffries and Company of Ottawa for the mill work, William Broderick of Ottawa for the painting and finishing work, A P Elder of Ottawa for the plumbing and heating and George Abbot of Olathe for the plastering.


Note: The architect, George P Washburn & Sons, designed courthouses in Anderson County, Atchison County, Butler CountyChautaugua County, Doniphan County, Harper County, Kingman County, Miami County, Pratt County and Woodson County, and Beaver County in Oklahoma.


See:  National Register of Historic Places – Franklin County Courthouse


County Court Building – Ottawa



Location:  301 South Main Street / East 3rd Street

Built:  1973 – 1974

Style:  Modern

Architect:  Unknown

Contractor:  Unknown


Description: The building faces north and is a one story red colored brick and concrete structure. The rectangular shaped building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Ottawa on the north side of the courthouse. The building has few windows. The entrance is located near the northeast corner and has a canopy supported by thin black pillars. The roof line is flat. In the interior, there are two County District Court courtrooms located with on the west and east sides of the center of the building. The building houses the County District Court of the 4th Judicial District. The architect was Wilbur F Kruse and the contractor was Sell Constructors, Inc. An addition was constructed on the west side in 1976. The architect was Wilbur F Kruse and the contractor was Sprigg Constructors, Inc.


See:  The 4th Judicial District includes Anderson County, Coffey County and Osage County.


History: The county was created in 1855 and St. Bernard was selected as the county seat. In 1858 the county seat name was changed to Minneola and the first courthouse was the old Capitol building built to be the future capital of Kansas. When Minneola was not chosen as the capital, the county seat was  moved to Ottawa in 1864.  The old Capitol building was taken down and moved to the northeast corner of Second Street and Main Street in Ottawa in 1864. Court was held in the second story of the building then named as Lathrop’s Hall. The second and present courthouse was constructed in 1892 to 1893 at a cost of $66,940. The County Court Building was constructed in i973 to 1974 and was enlarged in 1976.



County Courthouse – Ottawa























County District Court courtroom


























Statue – Buffalo Woman







County Court Building – Ottawa







County District Court courtroom











Photos taken 2009 and 2022