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Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology - Boston, MA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member NorStar
N 42° 20.748 W 071° 04.233
19T E 329450 N 4690247
Quick Description: The Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology is an institution that was established from money left by Benjamin Franklin in his will, and now is a two year college providing degrees in technical oriented subjects.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 11/27/2011 2:46:40 PM
Waymark Code: WMD6Q5
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
Views: 2

Long Description:
In Boston's South End section, on Berkeley Street, is the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology. This two-year college bears more than his name, it was founded partly through the funds of his will to the city of Boston.

The web site for the college has a page on the history of its establishment. Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, and apprenticed with his brother, James, in printing. At the age of 17, he had a serious arguement with his brother and left Boston. However, when Franklin died, he left a sum of 1000 Pounds “the Inhabitants of the Towne of Boston.” For a time, this money was used as a revolving loan to young tradesmen establishing their business. The fund managers were the Selectmen of the Town of Boston and the ministers of the oldest Episcopalian, Congregational, and Presbyterian churches in the town. The apprenticeship system waned over the years as factory manufacturing expanded. Through prudent investments, the fund grew to $391,000 by 1891. A series of court battles over the authority to spend the money resulted in a decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Court that (from the institute's web site) "Franklin’s legacy to Boston was a public charity, assigned itself the right to appoints its managers, and specified that twelve would serve on the Franklin Foundation board: the Mayor, the ministers of the three oldest Protestant churches in Boston, and eight “virtuous and benevolent citizens willing to bestow a part of their Time in doing good.” The court gave the board control of all the combined assets of the Franklin Fund of Boston and gave it spending authority."

The fund managers decided that the funds, now at about $400,000, would be best used to establish a new institution. Since $400,000 wasn't enough, they looked for more sponsors, and a sponsor was found through Andrew Carnegie, who admired Ben Franklin greatly, and who matched the funds - with other agreements that the city provide the land. "In June 1906, architect R. Clipston Sturgis was commissioned to design the building. A year later the building contract was awarded to the lowest bidder, the Woodbury and Leighton Company, at $319,771...On Friday, September 25, 1908, with 750 people attending, the Franklin Union building was dedicated. Classes at the fledgling Franklin Union began the following Monday with an enrollment of 533 students. The first term’s offerings were Mechanical Drawing, Machine Details, Mechanism, Drawing for Carpenters and Builders, Industrial Chemistry, Steam Engines and Boilers, Industrial Electricity, and Mechanics."

"In addition to its one bachelor’s course and several certificate courses, Franklin’s nearly six hundred students can select from nine associate’s degree programs in the engineering and industrial technologies, preparing for immediate employment or to pursue a bachelor’s degree with fully transferable credits at colleges with which Franklin has articulation agreements."

The main building, refered by the site as the Franklin Union building, is a four-story brick and stone/concrete structure with several windows. Adorning the building are several details and texts.

On the third floor is a feature with leaf and crown details that bore the years 1790-1908, the year that Ben Franklin died and the year that the institution was founded. On the right side is the text, " Benjamin Franklin born in Boston Jan. 17, 1706 Died in Philadelphia Apr. 17,1790". There is another plaque stating, "This building erected under his will 1907 - 1908."

People were entering and exiting the doors on Berkeley Street. There is another entrance on Tremont Street to a modern addition.
Location Type: Institution

Reference Web Site: [Web Link]

Established Date: 1/1/1908

Property Type: Private

Fee required: no

Location Notes:
Located at the intersection of Berkeley and Gray Street.


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