We often drive through Franklin while driving to visit friends in Palestine or to the casinos in Shreveport. So we easily spotted the restoration work begun a few years ago. The courthouse, as originally designed and built, was Second Empire and designed by one of the Ruffini Brothers. Then, in the 1920’s, the roofline was greatly altered – leaving an odd “mission” parapet around the top of the buildind. Then, in the 70’s, lifeless additions were made to add needed space.
The outside of the building is actually restored and the roofline now reflects the original design. Inside, it gets a little trickier. Much of the first and second floor hallways were. restored. But when it came to the courtroom, there was no attempt to restore to the original. Evidently it was large, taking up much of both the second and third floors. Restoring the courtroom would have resulted in too much lost office space. So thet wound up leaving it on the third floor. You can kind of see this in the courtroom photos. You only see the top half of the windows.
Because of the courtroom situation, the restoration project did not qualify for state funding from Texas Historical Commision. So the entire cost was born by the county. In addition – the county tore down the additions from the 70’s. Then a new addition eas added to the rear which better flected the stle and building materials of thr original. The county did a very respectful job of restoring this Ruffini gem. It should give reason to visit or revisit this 1880’s courthouse.