20 OTTAWA AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE FRANKLIN COUNTY HISTORY Architecture Franklin County was the home of George Washburn (1847–1922), an architect who designed public buildings and private homes all over Kansas. Many examples of his work can be found in Franklin County, including the Courthouse, the Old Depot Museum, Ottawa University’s Administration Building, and several local houses. Ottawa’s Historic Main Street features blocks of Victorian-era structures that house busy shops at street level and apartments on the upper floors. Tour the county with a Franklin County Heritage Homes guide to discover the area’s distinguished historic structures. ROAD TRIP: The Anderson County Courthouse and the Miami County Courthouse were also designed by George Washburn. Utopia In 1869, Ernest Valeton de Boissiere established the utopian communal society of Silkville. The 2,400-acre ranch initially produced silk, but it eventually switched to dairy and other agricultural pursuits. Although the community is gone, several of the original structures still stand southwest of Williamsburg. Chautauqua Between 1883 and 1914, the Chautauqua Assembly brought distinguished speakers like Teddy Roosevelt and Susan B. Anthony to Ottawa’s Forest Park, where thousands came for new ideas, spiritual inspiration, and education.