History of the
Franklin Revolver & Rifle Association
In the early years of the 20th century, State Highway 23 was a two-lane road that ran through the Borough of Franklin. Around 1911, a group known as the "Boro Boys" constructed a shooting range between Route 23 and Franklin Pond, behind what is now a strip mall. A picture, dated July 1911, at our clubhouse identifies the Boro Boys as Bill Deck Shauger, Asa Smith, John Rousset, John Williams, George Doyle and Lester Doyle. The range was nothing elaborate but sufficient for practice and an occasional match.
By 1929, the "Boro Boys" had an opportunity to move to a new location in a quarry located at the intersection of Buckwheat Rd. and what is now Franklin Ave. The quarry had been used previously to supply limestone to an iron smelting operation nearby. When that facility closed the New Jersey Zinc Co. used the quarry as a dump for the ash from their coal fires.
The first range at this location had little more than posts in the ground to locate the shooting positions.
Around 1937, the original clubhouse was constructed and the group reorganized as the "Franklin Revolver & Rifle Association".
Regular shooting positions were constructed and target matches were held. Local Sheriff’s Officers and Peace Officers used the range for training purposes. Local groups also held many clambakes at the range.
With the outbreak of World War II, activities ceased.
By 1955 the club was revived and in 1959 through the efforts of Franklin Police Chief Herbert Irons the club purchased the property from the New Jersey Zinc Co. Improvements have been made over the years and today the Association has 24 covered firing positions and a comfortable clubhouse.
Nowadays activities at the range vary. The club runs several target shooting leagues (handgun, .22 rifle, and air gun). Archery is also made available for members. Pistol matches that attract a large number of shooters are held during the year.
We are dedicated to educating the public about firearm safety.
The Friends of The NRA supplies the necessary materials so we can offer free programs to the public like our “Girls, Guys & Guns Events" which are held periodically for those who are interested in learning basic handgun safety. This program is also offered to bank employees, school teachers and students from a local high school forensic class. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and local youth partake in our Junior Rifle Program.
FR&R still has close ties with officers of the Franklin Police Department who use the range for training purposes. County Search and Rescue Teams have used the cliffs around the range to practice climbing and rappelling to evacuate simulated victims.
An interesting sidelight is that the range is one of only two places in the world where purple fluoride is found.
It's been a long time since the era of the "Boro Boys" and a lot has changed, but we're sure they would be happy with the way the club has grown.