The Franklin Academy occupied this site from 1881 until 1922. It was one of six Congregational Church-affiliated academies in Nebraska. Others were located at Crete, York, Neligh, Weeping Water, and Chadron.
Over 2,500 students in college preparatory studies attended the Franklin Academy. Distinguished alumni include author Adah Patterson, Federal Judge Robert Van Pelt, and Dr. Frank Cyr of Columbia University, under whose leadership the standard yellow school bus was developed.
There were originally four buildings on the campus, now the Franklin city park: the main academy building; Stewart Hall, a boys' dormitory; Harrison Hall, a girls' dormitory named in honor of academy founder Reverend C. S. Harrison; and Dupee Music Hall, constructed in 1901. Dupee Music Hall still stands at its original site, immediately west of here, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Financial problems and declining enrollment due to the increasing number of public high schools caused the academy's closing.