Franklinton, North Carolina

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Franklinton is a town in Franklin County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 1,745 at the 2000 census. It is home to a plant operated by Novozymes. Novozymes North America Inc. employs approximately 400 people and is the largest multi-purpose enzyme manufacturing plant in the United States.



Franklinton was established as Franklin Depot in 1839 on land owned by Shemuel Kearney. His home, built in 1759, was originally located south of town and is currently the oldest residence in Franklin County. The house was recently purchased and is being moved to nearby Louisburg for restoration. Franklin Depot changed its name to Franklinton in 1842 when the town was incorporated.

According to many locals, Trinity College, originally located near Greensboro, was initially planned and approved to be moved to Franklinton in 1889. Generous offers though by local businessmen Washington Duke and Julian S. Carr brought the college to the city of Durham instead in 1892. This well known school is now called Duke University. A source from the University Archives states that nearby Raleigh was actually the initial approved bidder. This does not mean Franklinton wasn't included as a possible site even though no other bidding communities are mentioned. The citizens of Raleigh offered land now occupied by North Carolina State University and pledged $35,000.00 for a new building which was quickly approved by the Methodist Conference for Trinity College. It eventually lost to a higher bid of $85,000.00 plus donations in 1890.

Franklinton was once home to Albion Academy, a co-educational African-American school started by clergyman Moses A. Hopkins in 1879. Once a State Normal & Industrial School (trade school), it eventually became a graded school and later merged with the B.F. Person School in 1957 to become B.F. Person-Albion High School. When schools were fully integrated, the upper grades consolidated with Franklinton High School in 1969. The B.F. Person-Albion High School was renamed Franklinton Elementary School.

Also located in Franklinton is the historic Sterling Cotton Mill, founded by Samuel C. Vann and first opened in 1895. Remaining in the Vann family for many years, the mill was purchased in 1972 by Union Underwear Company...manufacturers of Fruit of the Loom fabric products. Sterling Cotton Mill eventually closed in 1991. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

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