Franklin, Indiana  for the This Old House 2013 Best Old House Neighborhoods « »

Franklin, Indiana

Population: 24,040
House styles: Greek Revival, Colonial Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, American Foursquare, and Craftsman bungalow
Expect to pay: $55,000 for a fixer-upper; $285,000 for a fully restored home

This quaint bedroom community an hour and a half north of Louisville, Kentucky, was founded in 1823 as a log-cabin settlement and took off in the 1840s when railroad travel linked it to Indianapolis some 20 miles away. Franklin College emerged a decade later, eventually becoming the first coeducational college in the state. Just 10 years ago, though, the town center was littered with empty storefronts and vacant period homes. So several nonprofits and local merchants banded together to lure residents and businesses back to downtown. Their efforts have paid off: Renovations by committed homeowners are underway throughout the historic residential areas, and the revived downtown area, primarily along Main Street and Jefferson Street, boasts new restaurants and shops. In true Americana form, Franklin holds a strawberry festival in May, a barbecue competition in June, and a beer-and-bluegrass festival each August, offering foodies a bevy of events to feast on. And at the 90-plus-year-old Historic Artcraft Theatre, which began its life as a silent-movie theater and vaudeville house, you can watch classic films while having snacks—including popcorn made from local corn—delivered seatside.

Among the best for: The Midwest, Bargains, College Towns, Small Towns, Family-Friendly
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