The four historical self-guided tours to the four corners of Franklin County are offered with a guide map available at the Visitor Information Center at 2011 East Logan in Ottawa, KS. Sites are numbered and accompanied by a brief historical account. Tours cover 40-60 miles. Private property is designated and should be respected.
County road names are in alphabetical order beginning with Allen and Alabama in the southwest corner of the county. East-west road follow the names of Kansas counties: north-south roads follow the names of the states. Half-mile roads are designated as terraces and follow the same name order.
Several major roads still carry their original names – John Brown Highway, Rock Creek, Sand Creek (all east-west roads) and Eisenhower Road (north-south). Highways US-59 and K-68 bisect the county north-south intersecting in Ottawa. These tours follow generally well-maintained county roads – gravel and blacktop. Roads are marked with green and white road signs at intersections. Theft of these signs has been a problem in the past. Roads designated as minimum maintenance should be drive with care in wet weather. None are integral to the tours.
The Marais des Cygnes (Marsh of the Swans) River meanders through the center of Franklin County going west to east and through Ottawa at the Main Street bridge. Called the Osage east of Kansas, it drains into the Missouri River just east of Jefferson City, MO.
Although all four tours feature a number of early or historic structures, many have been lost and are designated only as sites.
The terrain of Franklin County varies between hills, timber and prairie, sometimes abruptly. Streams abound, most feeding into the Marais des Cygnes.
Among the food and rest stops available are Wellsville, Ottawa, Williamsburg, Pomona, Richmond, Lane, and Princeton.