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Founded in the 1870s, Franklin, Nebraska was named for Benjamin Franklin. Of course, the area was inhabited prior to this time, as thousands of years before the area of the town site of Franklin and the Republican River were frequented by a nomadic people who were probably the ancestors of the Pawnee Indians. The first European explorer in the area was likely Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, who visited the region in 1541. In 1806, the American explorer, Zebulon Pike, met with the Pawnee Indians near Red Cloud, and described the region as a hunter’s paradise. A settlement was made there in the winter of 1866 and 1867, but was abandoned after the local Indians applied pressure. It wasn’t until the 1870s, however, that the area was permanently settled by European Americans. Franklin City was founded in 1870 and, in 1871, Waterloo was founded just east of there. Later, the post office for Franklin City was moved to Waterloo, but retained the name of Franklin City, so Waterloo also became Franklin City. Franklin City was named the county seat in 1871. In 1874, the county seat was moved to Bloomington, but Franklin City got it back in 1920. The current city of Franklin is centered in an area between the original Franklin City and Waterloo, but includes both of these historic settlements.



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