Franktown is an unincorporated community with several outlying neighborhoods, each with their own charm. Located directly east from Castle Rock on Hwy. 86 is the charismatic tiny town with an eclectic mix of residents. Oil executives, entrepreneurs, cowboys and ranchers. With a small population and custom homes hidden among the tree-lined ravines and open meadows with expansive views, lies some of Colorado's deepest and richest history dating back centuries. People choose Franktown for the country feel and extreme privacy offered by larger plots of lands, many voluntarily managed HOA's policed by the honor system, and some of America's most expensive real estate and well worth it. Franktown chooses to stay unique, protected from the hustle and bustle of city life and that's just how the residents like it and those who live here call it pure bliss.
FRANKTOWN REAL ESTATE: Franktown is located in eastern Douglas County at the intersection of highways 83 and 86 in the center of town. SH 83 leads north 9 miles (14 km) to Parker and south 45 miles (72 km) to Colorado Springs, while SH 86 leads east 9 miles (14 km) to Elizabeth and west 7 miles (11 km) to Castle Rock.
You can access Denver by a variety of ways. Through the Castle Rock exchange, Parker Road north to 470 and town, Jordan Road and Lincoln Ave. The average commute, from individual statistics, show the Parker/Denver trip is approximately 30 to 90 minutes each day, though this is significantly higher than the national average. Franktown, does not have a public transit system as of yet!
Franktown is a great place to develop social ties within a tight-knit community offering many family-oriented services. The town has a good public school district and is considered one of the more educated cities in America with a large population (twice the national average) having a college or advanced degree providing an environment conducive to academic values. Franktown has a high rate of owner-occupied single family homes, which tends to reflect stability in the local population with the overall crime rate ranking among the lowest in the country.
The people who call Franktown home claim to belong to a variety of racial and ethnic groups. Important ancestries of people in Franktown include many Europeans, German, French Canadian, Italian, Yugoslavian, and West Indian and others. While the most common language spoken here is English, it's not unusual to hear French and Italian at the local hot spots.
HISTORY OF FRANKTOWN: The history of Franktown goes back to about 6400 B.C. so I will attempt to be brief but suggest anyone interested in the building of America, investigate this incredible town's story.
The Franktown Cave is located approximately 2 1/2 miles southwest of town on private land on the north edge of the Palmer Divide. It is the largest rock shelter documented on the Palmer Divide, which contains artifacts from many prehistoric cultures. These prehistoric hunter-gatherers occupied Franktown Cave intermittently for 8000 years beginning about 6400 B.C. The site held remarkable artifacts and near the rock shelter, spring-fed streams traverse a land of scrub oak, plains grassland and open ponderosa pine forest. There is evidence of the site being a campsite or dwelling as recent as AD 1725.
In 1820, Stephen H. Long led an expedition that traveled through present-day Douglas County. While in Palmer Lake, this expedition made the first recording of what would become Colorado's state flower, the Rocky Mountain Columbine.
Franktown takes its name from James Frank Gardner, a gold miner who built a squatter's cabin in 1859. A popular rest stop on the busy Jimmy Camp Trail (which followed Cherry Creek into Denver), "Frank's Town" and was the county seat in 1861. The railroads made the trail obsolete after 1870, and the county offices moved to Castle Rock in 1874, with Franktown remaining mostly a ranching and farming community.
Conrad Moschel came to the U.S. in 1854 and arrived in the Colorado Territory by 1860. He ranched in the Lake Gulch area in Douglas County and in 1864 took his family to Franktown when the Indians became hostile. While rounding up some cattle during the hostilities, George Engl (Engle), Conrad Moschel and Harold Welte became separated. Moschel was killed and scalped by Native Americans on August 4, 1864 and his body was buried where it was found. A memorial was engraved in the rock above the gravesite and a monument marks the grave. Cheyenne, Arapahoe and Ute tribes were prevalent in the area.
Franktown's strong agricultural roots made it a natural fit for the grange, a cooperative farmers' movement that swept rural America in the mid-1870s. Several dozen chapters formed in Colorado, including the Fonder Grange (founded in 1875) and its successor, Pikes Peak Grange No. 163 (established in Franktown in 1908). Both belonged to the statewide grange organization, which set up credit unions, insurance programs, and other services, but it was the local chapters that really affected farmers' lives. They held dances, holiday picnics, town meetings, and helped the sparsely populated communities forge a sense of identity. Still active today, Pikes Peak Grange No. 163 occupies its original hall, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Pioneers traveling through often found refuge upon reaching the timbered ridge just south of Franktown. It would have been the first woodland they encountered after hundreds of miles on the great plains and prairies of the mid-west. Early frontier settlers used the available forest as a source of building material too. Known as "the Pinery," it provided the ever-growing population of Denver and other towns with the majority of their lumber during the 1860's. The suppliers transported the timber by ox, mule or horse teams and to date, Franktown remains an equestrian lover's community. In the early 1870's, the Pinery supplied railroad ties to the Kansas Pacific and Denver & Rio Grande railroad companies. Those routes eventually led to the exploitation of larger forests and by 1880, the sawmills of Franktown went silent although leaving their mark as it was Pinery lumber which built much of early Colorado.
The rise and fall of Russellville was an exciting time. For a few months, Russellville felt like Colorado's gold-rush capital. The town rose five miles southeast of Franktown in late 1858, after William Green Russell discovered a few gleaming specks in his pan at Russellville Gulch. His find brought a horde of prospectors a pre-cursor to the Pikes Peak gold rush. With its clusters of tents, Russellville brimmed with promise; but its nuggets, although pure, were too scarce to make fortunes. In the spring of 1859 the real gold rush began in the Central Rockies, about seventy-five miles northwest of Franktown, and Russellville's boom abruptly busted. Nearly deserted, the settlement survived for a time as a passenger way station, but by 1880 this hopeful gateway to the gold fields had become a ghost town.
Franktown and Russellville both had small stockades in the early 1860s to protect this region from Confederate raiders and others, who hoped to tip the balance of the Civil War by gaining control of Colorado's gold fields. Manned by area residents (John Frank Gardner "commanded" the Franktown garrison), these local defenses supported Colorado's federal volunteer troops, who frequently patrolled the Jimmy Camp Trail. A group of volunteer cavalry camped near Russellville in 1863 while searching for Southern guerrillas, and six Texans (the infamous "Reynolds Gang") were executed there the following year where it's said the soldiers wanted no part of the executions ordered. Territorial troops fought their most significant battle at Glorieta Pass in northern New Mexico, where the First Colorado Regiment helped turn back a sizable Confederate force in March 1862. Though far removed from the Civil War's main theaters, Colorado still had a hand in winning it. Civil War-era firearms were located at the site of Russellville and the stage stop evidencing the rally point for Union Soldiers. Castlewood Dam was a catastrophe waiting to happen from the day it opened. Built in 1890, on Cherry Creek, the barrier stored enough water to irrigate 30,000 acres of farmland-or would have, if it hadn't leaked so badly. The seeping began the year the dam was completed and was serious enough that a hundred-foot section crumbled in 1897 and on August 3, 1933, the dam finally collapsed. A billion-gallon torrent was sent hurling toward Denver. Only two people drowned, but the flood devastated farms, homes, ranches and tore out six bridges in Denver, thirty miles downstream causing over $1 million in damages. The dam's remains can still be visited in nearby Castlewood Canyon State Park.
Commanding a view of the Rampart Range and the South Platte River valley, Devil's Head, a 9,748' mountain, served as the United States Forest Service's first permanent fire lookout, established in 1912.
Even as suburban sprawl surrounded it in the 1990's, Franktown resisted efforts to develop, maintaining a distinctly rural identity.
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