People have been coming to the very corner where The Franklin Hotel sits to look for a room since 1854. In that year, G.I. Termaine and his brother-in-law Alex Blake built a wood frame building on the corner lot where The Franklin Hotel is located today. Termaine sold his interest in the building to Blake in 1855 and Blake renamed it the Blake House. It changed hands again shortly thereafter and was renamed the Rawson House. In 1859, Black bought the hotel back from Rawson and operated it as the Blake House until 1902.
In 1902, the Franklin Hotel and Land Company commissioned a new brick structure to be built at the location. It was built for a cost of $26,000, not including the furnishings.
The present owners Doug and Kris Schmidt, invite you to enjoy a home-cooked meal from the hotel kitchen or spend the evening and enjoy a respite from your travels in the Victorian elegance of a truly unique century-old hotel.
The Franklin Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The decor and atmosphere remain true to that historical significance.
It’s not hard to imagine the people arriving at the front door in a horse and buggy, heated discussions around the pot-bellied stove about the changes at the turn of the last century or over a hundred years worth quiet conversations and relaxing evenings spent within the warmth and comfort of this old building.
With all those recollections of the past, it’s no wonder The Franklin Hotel can boast of its own “resident ghost”. Our ghost was supposedly a prostitute during the 1920s. Here’s the story….
One evening, a couple came into the hotel and immediatley “sensed a presence”. They both agree the “presence” seemed upset that the mirror that had once been one of her favorite fixtures in her room, had been moved.
Lots of people since then have heard noises in The Franklin that have no explanation or have had experiences that have even less of an explanation – including co-owner Doug Schmidt.
“I don’t believe in ghosts”, says Doug, “but, one day I saw a figure wearing a long lavender gown walking from the lobby to the dining room. I told her we were closed. But then, I couldn’t find her. She flat disappeared. It had been a long day, but I know I saw her. I was stone-cold sober.”
Another gentleman called the ghost “an old friend” and even went so far as to call her “Lillie”. He recounts, “…sometimes you can hear singing; sometimes you can hear moaning”. This gentleman lived in The Franklin Hotel for 42 years and ran the once-adjoining “Leo’s Laundrama”.
However folks here around Strawberry Point claim that Leo himself is the “real presence” in the Franklin. Leo was born with every poor eyesight and was diagnosed as legally blind nearly 50 years ago.
Leo moved into the hotel and ran the Laundrama for the first 30 years of his 42-year stay at The Franklin Hotel. He ate all his meals at the hotel and was the “presence” that held the hotel together through the three owners of his tenure.
The Franklin Hotel still has the same bell message system that was used while Leo lived here. The overnight clerk could ring a room and the guest could push a button and ring back in response. Although the system still works, telephones have long since replaced its functions.