Dr. Franklin Loomis Crane, 1808-1884
One of the capital city’s founding fathers, Franklin L. Crane, was born on January 10, 1808, at East Windsor, Connecticut. Upon completing secondary school, he received a teaching certificate and taught school for a short time at Vernon. Soon he moved to Hartford where he commenced the study of medicine and dental surgery. At Easton, Pennsylvania, he opened a dental office and began practicing his profession. He remained there for twenty-two years, until Kansas Territory opened for settlement.
In October 1854 Crane came to Kansas and soon helped found the city of Topeka, where he settled with his family. He was an active participant in the establishment of the Free State Party and firmly opposed the expansion of slavery into Kansas Territory, while seeking to make Topeka a thriving and productive community.
Dr. Crane’s business pursuits proved to be diverse and extensive. As a member of the Topeka Town Company, he sold town lots to new settlers coming to the city. In 1857 he became treasurer of the St. Joseph and Topeka Railroad Company, an endeavor designed to unite Topeka economically with the markets of the East. He also sponsored during this same year the establishment of the Topeka Bridge Company. The company was needed to supply a reliable and sturdy bridge between the two halves of the city divided by the Kansas River. Later he organized and managed the Topeka Cemetery, the first permanent place of burial in the city.
In the political arena, Crane also worked tirelessly to promote the interests of Topeka. In 1859 he served as president of the Topeka city council, and when the elected mayor died, he was elevated to that position. Upon assuming that office, he lobbied for Topeka’s designation as the permanent seat of the state government, and soon after statehood was achieve in 1861, that goal was achieved—Topeka was selected as the state capitol.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, he entered the union army as a medical officer. While in military service he helped to establish and manage several field hospitals, the health and welfare of Union troops being upper most in his mind.
Crane was chosen to be president of the board of education following the war, and he was responsible for building several large new schools in Topeka. On January 10, 1884, he died in Carthage, New Mexico, while visiting a son Jesse. His body was shipped back to Topeka for burial in cemetery that he helped establish.___________
Franklin L. Crane Personal Papers, Library and Archives Division, Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas.
“Kansas Biographical Scrapbooks,” Volume 29. Library and Archives Division, Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas.
Treadway, William E. “The Gilded Age in Kansas.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 40 (Spring 1974): 20.