Franklin Township celebrates 150th

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP – Franklin Township celebrated its sesquicentennial in style Saturday with a party at the Quincy-Franklin Fire Hall.

Supervisor Glenn Ekdahl said he began planning a party with board members Mary Sears and Judith Counts after finding the township’s original charter.

“It really worked out well, to have this on Oct. 19 – 150 years,” he said.

Several residents who won prizes shared their memories of living in the township.

Nancy Byers-Sprague said of the students she went to the Ripley School with, several, including her, are still living where they grew up.

“We Ripley kids don’t move very far from the area, because we love Ripley, and we love our township,’ she said.

Resident Jean Junkin said both her father and grandfather died in the Quincy Mine. She also has a happier association with the township – she and her husband bought the site of the former Boston ballfield for $2,000 and built a home there.

“We love it,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”

As with many parts of the area, business in the area was dominated by mining – in this case, the Quincy Mine.

But unlike a vast number of mining areas, the township didn’t wither away once the mine did, said Kirk Schott, aide for State Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba.

“People in the community had enough determination, foresight and wisdom to recognize the mining thing might not last forever,” he said.

The township now contains the Houghton County Memorial Airport, which opened in 1948, as well as numerous businesses at the airport’s industrial park.

State Rep. Scott Dianda, D-Calumet, said new businesses such as DA Glass are helping to ensure the township’s prosperity, as is a new $4 million substation from the Rural Electrification Association. “I’m glad to see things are moving forward, so we have another 150 years of strong economic development in the county,” he said.