(785) 242-1411 [email protected]

About Franklin County

There is so much you can take in and learn about Franklin County, Kan. A wonderful mixture of history and beauty await. The

area is blessed with historic architecture, great antique shopping, and fun-filled community events.

In this historic community you can learn about the tragedies in the battle over slavery and see how Kansas was the beginning of the Civil War. Franklin County is included in the Freedoms Frontier National Heritage Area which explores the pre-Civil War border wars between Missouri and Kansas, shaping of the frontier by early settlers and our enduring struggles for Freedom even to the present day.

You can see what an 1888 train depot was like at the Old Depot Museum or stroll down historic Main Street and learn about the buildings built in the late 1800s from an interactive kiosk system beginning at the Old Depot Museum and ending near the Carnegie Cultural Center. And don’t forget to stop by the beautiful Franklin County Courthouse, built in 1893 by famed Kansas architect George P. Washburn.

If outdoor activities are your game, hop on your bike for a ride or hike on the 51 mile-long trail called the Prairie Spirit Rail Trail State Park from Ottawa to Iola. If you like to ride horses the Flint Hills Trail crosses the Prairie Spirit Trail in Ottawa. This trail when completed will span over 117 miles from Osawatomie to Herington. In the fall, residents and visitors enthusiastically take part in annual day trips to Peckham’s Pumpkin Patch and Pome on the Range Orchards and Winery for fresh farm pickings from pumpkins to Christmas trees and more.

For a taste of small-town culture, plan to attend any of the festivals and events hosted by Ottawa, Lane, Richmond, Princeton, Rantoul, Wellsville, Williamsburg or Pomona. Each of these communities rolls out the red carpet and genuine hospitality to all who visit them.

Six hotels, an RV park, a bed and breakfast and more than 35 restaurants in Ottawa alone, not to mention great places to shop, so come for a few hours, an entire day or the weekend and enjoy discovering all that Franklin County Kansas has to offer.

Click on one of the tabs above to narrow your search for what you are looking for.

General information on the CVB:

The Franklin County CVB consists of 2 staff members and over 30+ volunteers. Responsibilities of the organization include promoting the county as a tourism destination and marketing various events and attractions inside and outside the county. In addition, the organization is responsible for managing the Visitor Information Center located on K-68 Highway near I-35.

Operating hours of the Visitor Information Center are M-F 9-5pm, Sat. 9-4pm, & Sun 12-4pm. The Visitor Information center is open 7 days a week, 361 days a year. While volunteers typically help fill these hours, there are some times when staff must fill in therefore you should be available to work some weekends and/or afterhours.

It is important that employees exhibit a professional attitude and enthusiasm in their work with visitors, officials, and community members or groups at all times.

We provide an excellent benefits package including sick, vacation, holidays and health insurance.

Please mail your resume and cover letter to: Franklin County CVB, 2011 E. Logan, PO Box 203, Ottawa, KS 66067. E-mail: [email protected] or FAX #: (785) 242-2238. Application deadline: Open until filled.


Welcome to the Franklin County Convention and Visitors Bureau’s

The FCCVB is happy to offer support services and resources for local, regional, national and international journalists writing about Franklin County, Kan. Locally, we’re proud to partner with KOFO Radio and The Ottawa Herald. We can provide you with factual and interesting stories for your reading or viewing audiences.

Access the photo gallery to take a tour. From attractions, events and shopping to dining, group tours and rural areas, we have many photos in our archive available for you to use. Please request use of our photos for your upcoming articles, if needed!

For news enterprise story ideas, we suggest sources like the U.S. Travel Association and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for on our website or need additional assistance, please contact us at:

Executive Director

E-mail: [email protected]

Phone: (785) 242-1411



Franklin County Directions



Location and Directions:

These directions and maps show how Franklin County is conveniently located 40 miles southwest of Kansas City, Mo., right off Interstate 35 exits 198-170! Franklin County is surrounded by the counties of Douglas (to the north), Johnson County (to the northeast), Miami (to the east), Osage (to the west), Coffey (to the southwest), Anderson (to the south) and Linn (to the southeast).

I-35 Exits:

  • 170 — Williamsburg and Pomona
  • 176 — Homewood
  • 182 — Old Highway 50 and Eisenhower Road in Ottawa
  • 183 — U.S. 59 (south to Garnett)
  • 185 — 15th Street in Ottawa
  • 187 — K-68 (Visitor Information Center exit)
  • 188 — U.S. 59 (north to Lawrence)
  • 193 — Tennessee Road (LeLoup)
  • 198 — K-33 Highway (Wellsville)


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Franklin County has a total area of 577 square miles, of which 572 square miles is land and 5.4 square miles is water.


Incorporated cities in Franklin County include Lane, Ottawa, Pomona, Princeton, Rantoul, Richmond, Wellsville and Williamsburg. Unincorporated areas include Centropolis, Homewood, Imes, LeLoup, Norwood, Peoria, Ransomville and Richter. The county is divided into 16 townships.


Just passing through? Track your miles from Ottawa to:

  • Chicago … 460
  • Dallas … 412
  • Denver … 589
  • Kansas City … 40
  • Minneapolis … 447
  • Oklahoma City … 298
  • St. Louis … 300
Map of Ottawa, KS
map of ottawa
Map of Williamsburg, KS
map of williamsburg
Map of Wellsville, KS
map of wellsville
Map of Princeton, KS
map of princeton
Map of Pomona, KS
map of pomona
Map of Richmond, KS
map of richmond

Area Facts

Franklin County was established in 1855 as District 5 in the State of Kansas for voting purposes and named in honor of the legendary Benjamin Franklin.

There is something for everyone in Ottawa and Franklin County. Conveniently located just 45 minutes southwest of Kansas City, 20 minutes south of Lawrence and less than an hour from Topeka and Emporia. Ottawa is a growing community of approximately 13,000 that has become a popular destination for day trips and for weary travelers looking for a convenient stop outside the metro area with less traffic and noise. Enjoy our county…below are some of the area facts.


Move Here

Would you like to move here? Franklin County is a great place to live, work, play and retire. CNN Money Magazine named Ottawa as one of the “Top 5 Best Places to Retire” for small towns in 2012.

What We Offer:

We have everything from wonderful antique shops and great furniture stores to a fabulous quilt shop with everything you ever will need. We offer superb dining options, including one of the best places for barbecue ribs in the Heartland! People who visit and live in Franklin County continually marvel at our friendly nature, rural charm, rich history and late 19th and early 20th century Victorian architecture. Throughout the year, our communities host a number of exciting events, including the SWAN Arts Festival, Power of the Past Antique Engine and Tractor Show and Ol’ Marais River Run Car Show, just to name a few.

The following links are provided as a service to both current and potential residents and tourists. The Franklin County CVB makes no claim to the accuracy of the websites below and their information.


Ottawa, KS

Ottawa, KS

KalmarThe city of Ottawa was founded by a town company in 1865, incorporated on Nov. 23, 1867 and still serves as the Franklin County seat. A walk downtown reveals a Victorian landscape designed by renowned architect George Washburn. We hope you enjoy your visit and take time to tour our local attractions, many of which are steeped in history. Art lovers can enjoy works by local artists, antique lovers can find an abundance of great antiques and if nature is what you are interested in, Ottawa and Franklin County have a lot to offer. You can find a little of everything in Ottawa and Franklin County! Visit The City of Ottawa website.
Wellsville, KS

Wellsville, KS

Wellsville(1)Wellsville Is the second largest town in the county, and is located in the northeast corner. Established in 1870, the town was known for twenty years as the “Bluegrass Capitol of the World.” Underneath that bluegrass laid oil, which was discovered in 1915 and is still produced today. The settlers brought many talents that are still seen in the residents of the town such as artist Elizabeth “Grandma” Layton, and country music singer Chely Wright. Visit the Wellsville Chamber website.
Lane, KS

Lane, KS

LaneLane is located in the southeast corner of Franklin County. Named in 1863 for Senator James Henry Lane, a bizarre and compelling character, Lane lies along Pottawatomie Creek, formerly known as Dutch Henry’s Crossing. It was near this crossing on May 24, 1856 that John Brown, along with seven of his men, brutally murdered and mutilated five pro-slavery men. This historical event, known as the Pottawatomie Massacre. The first and oldest Franklin County fair takes place Thursday through Saturday of the first full week in August, and offers something for all ages. Stone homes are a unique feature in Lane. These homes were built from “Coralline Marble”, a granular limestone quarried on a high riverbank at the Hanway Quarry. When famed children’s book author Laura Ingalls Wilder was passing through Kansas she and her husband Almanzo camped on the lawn of the large stone home shown in this picture located on the north edge of Lane.
Centropolis, KS

Centropolis, KS

CentropolisCentropolis was organized in 1854 and its first store was built in 1855. The dream of it founders was to make Centropolis the capitol of Kansas hence “Central Metropolis.” By 1857 there were over 30 businesses, but failure to capture even the county seat of Franklin County and the absence of a railroad frustrated the goals of the town founders. Centropolis is located in the northwest corner of Franklin County.
Williamsburg, KS

Williamsburg, KS

WilliamsburgWilliam H. Schofield, an agent for Baker University in Baldwin City, purchased 34,000 acres of the former Sac and Fox reserve, and in 1867 founded a town upon it, named for himself. Schofield also sold 3,600 acres of nearby land to Ernest Valeton de Boissiere, a French émigré who founded a socialist silk-producing colony upon it, known as Silkville. Coal fields surrounded the Williamsburg area, and mining became a major industry. Shafts 85 feet deep branched out in several directions. Coal was delivered to 39 cities and communities. Jayhawker Days is the town’s big event every year and held in the middle of June. The community just recently built a new library, and has a local historical museum in an old stone church.
Appanoose, KS

Appanoose, KS

AppanooseAppanoose took its name from a well-respected “peace chief” of the Sac & Fox tribe who lived in this area from 1840 to the late 1850s. The Appanoose School, established in 1919, and the Appanoose Baptist Church, founded in 1878, are the centers of this community. A museum features local history and artifacts. The native prairies have a variety of wild flowers and abundant trees growing along the Appanoose Creek that display a magnificent patchwork of color!
Rantoul, KS

Rantoul, KS

RantoulRantoul is one of the oldest Settlements in east-central Franklin County. The post office was given the name ”Rantoul” in the early 1870’s in honor of Robert Rantoul, a Massachusetts Senator and active abolitionist of the time. John Brown an abolitionist leader and one of the most controversial of the time arrived in Kansas’s territory with a commitment to ending slavery. He built a house for his brother-in-law, Orson Day in the winter of 1855-‘56. The land on which Day’s house was built is one mile south and a half-mile west from Rantoul. Just northeast of Rantoul, was the land claimed by William Clarke Quantrill, infamous raider of Lawrence. There were three distinct political groups occupying Kansas at the time: pro-slavers, free-stators and abolitionists. Violence broke out between these opposing factions in 1854 and continued until 1861 when Kansas entered the Union as a free state on January 29. This era became forever known as “Bleeding Kansas.”
Richmond, KS

Richmond, KS

RichmondJohn Richmond, an agent for the railroad, donated 40 acres for the building of a town site in 1870. Richmond is located 16 miles south of Ottawa on US 59 Highway. The Prairie Spirit Rail Trail goes through Richmond and offers hiking, bicycling and an opportunity to see some nature in Franklin County. The Richmond area abounds in natural beauty in the heart of a farming community and lists a population of 512.
Princeton, KS

Princeton, KS

PrincetonPrinceton is south of Ottawa, and was founded as a siding of the Lawrence, Leavenworth and Galveston Railroad. An early settler, E.M. Peck, asked the Lawrence, Leavenworth & Galveston railroad to deliver his immigrant car to a spot near his farm by Ohio City, a former county seat town, now defunct. The railroad asked him to name the site for billing records, and he chose the name of his hometown in Illinois: Princeton. In 1869, land was donated along the siding to create a town. A business district is now developingalong Highway 59.
Pamona, KS

Pamona, KS

PamonaJohn Whetstone purchased 12 to 15 thousand acres of land on what had been the Sac & Fox Indian reserve, founded the city of Pomona, located 9 miles west of Ottawa. The town was founded in 1869. Whetstone and ST Kelsey planted 40 acres of fruit trees and named the town after the Roman goddess of fruit. Fruit essences, perfumes, jelly, and dried fruit were produced there around the turn of the twentieth century. Both the Santa Fe and Missouri Pacific railroads passed through Pomona. The town’s population in 2006 was 952. Pomona is serviced by a variety of businesses including banks, restaurants, churches, and personal services. It is also a popular launching ground for summer trips to Lake Pomona, located just a few miles west of town. Visit The City of Pamona website for more information.