Franklin: Then and Now


It was once known as St. Peter’s Lutheran Church when it stood on its original site located on S. 68 th St., north of Rawson Avenue. Built in 1869 by German Lutherans who had left St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Franklin, the church remained in operation until the early 1880’s. 

The church building was also used as a school with classes being taught by the Pastor of the church. Recently a photo showing the church on its original site was donated to the Franklin Historical Society by descendants of one of the original members. It shows the Pastor with his class in front of the church the Pastor’s wife looking out of anupper window of the church.

Then in 1983, almost 100 years from the church’s closing, the chapel was moved to the Franklin Historical Park by the Franklin Historical Society. What remains on the original site on S. 68th St. is the St. Peter’s Cemetery, where early church members and later descendants are buried. 

Today the chapel is registered as a Milwaukee County Historical Landmark and is the site of the annual non­denominational Christmas services sponsored by the Franklin Historical Society. Those services are held each year on the second Saturday in December and include both German and English carols.Throughout the year the chapel is also available for rent to couples who wish to have their wedding ceremony take place in a historical setting.

Civil War In Song

On Saturday April 11, 2015 the Franklin Historical Society as part of our annual membership meeting will present our renowned “Civil War In Song” program. The membership meeting will start at 12:30 PM in the Fadrow room of the Franklin Public Library, 9151 W. Loomis Rd. The Civil War In Song program will start at 2 PM. 

The program is free to the general public. Our guests are welcome to stay after the program for cookies, snacks, coffee and juice, to meet the performers, and to learn more about the Franklin Historical Society. 

Through the use of music of the period, the “Civil War In Song” program depicts the shifting attitude of the country from the early expectation of quick victory, through the long years of warfare, to the end of the war and the saving of the Union when Johnny came marching home.

This program was written and created by the FHS members and is presented in commemoration of the sesquicentennial, 1861-1865.


A Civil War in Song 2014

2015 Open House Schedule

On Saturday April 4 the Franklin Lions Club will hold its annual Easter Egg Hunt in Lions Legend Park starting at 10 A.M. Right after the egg hunt the FHS will open our buildings for touring.

The FHS will have four open house dates following the Free Summer Concert Series “Music in the Park” at the Lions Legend Park Bandshell. The four Sundays listed below all start at 1:30 PM. Please come to enjoy the great music, and tour our historic village from 2:30 PM to 4 PM. The FHS has added a new building the “Ludwig Outhouse” this year, and new displays have been added in the Town Hall.

June 21 - Highfield Drive - Alternative Modern County

July 19 -  Vern & The Originals - Sounds of Polka

Aug. 2 - Concord Chamber Orchestra - Classic & Broadway

Aug. 16 - Liverpool 64 - The Beatles & More

Saturday 4th of July - The City of Franklin’s 4th of July Celebration grounds is right across the street from our historic village. Every year we open our buildings for touring. They are open immediately following the city’s parade from approximately 1 PM to 5 PM.

It is time to give membership and our supporters an update on the barn project. It was both our hope and expectation that the project would have started in 2014. Circumstances dictated otherwise.

Let us start with some history of the barn project. Franklin was a farming community, and continues to do so. Our historic village includes a cabin, a school, a chapel, the Franklin town hall and a smokehouse. What is greatly missing is a barn that would represent the rural family farming culture of Franklin.

The original idea of the barn project was that of new construction. This proved to be too costly. Then Joanne Kaczmarek from the Wendt family donated to the FHS their late 19th century Franklin barn on Oakwood Rd. Click Here to read more


Ken Gawrisch drives the FHS float Franklin's 4th of July Parade

During the City of Franklin's 4th of July celebration the FHS had this beautiful float in the parade demonstrating our historic barn building project. After the parade we opened our buildings for touring with a record number of visitors.

Drop files to upload

Use the Arrows on the left or right of the image to rotate through. Enjoy. 


Chapel Weddings

Our chapel is available for weddings and other ceremonies. Couples interested in a quaint chapel wedding ceremony are welcome to rent the St. Peters Chapel for such a service. The chapel holds up to 50 guests and an organist is available if requested. For reservations, contact Marian Luckey at 414-421-6539 or luckeyjim@yahoo.com

Tours Available

We love to show our buildings to anyone interested in a tour. If your group or organization is interested in a tour please contact us to schedule.

Living Museums

Whelan School Living History Experience: Teachers are invited to sign up their elementary class for a day of learning in a rural one room school setting. Contact Barbara Pforr at Bap4@earthlink.net for more details.

Scout Outings

Tours of our grounds make great outings for Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.