Frankston is at the intersection of U.S. Highway 175 and State Highway 155, near Lake Palestine and within a twenty-five-mile radius of Tyler, Jacksonville, Palestine, and Athens in far northeastern Anderson County. The town was founded when the Texas and New Orleans Railroad was built through the area. Most of its first residents moved there from Kickapoo, two miles to the southeast on an old Indian battleground site. The community was founded in January 1902. The town and post office, originally called Ayers, were renamed after Miss Frankie Miller, who donated land for the downtown city park. Lumber was the first industry of Frankston, and some lumber businesses still operated in the 1980s. Cotton was the basis of the economy around 1925; other crops such as peaches and tomatoes were raised extensively well into the early 1950s. Most of the community's businesses were on the town square or a few blocks away. The railroad station, south of the square, was a center of town activity. At one time Frankston had three hotels, a variety of stores, several gas stations and cafes, a basket factory, a Masonic hall, a livery stable, and a movie house. After 1925 the town's population ranged from 818 to 1,500. It was reported as 1,459 in 1988, when the major local employer was the Class AA school system. By the 1980s the town was incorporated with the mayor-council form of city government. Businesses and resources in the 1980s included assorted stores and cafes, several gas stations, two automobile dealerships, the Fairway oilfield, the Frankston Box Factory, a bank, a savings and loan association, a rest home, a newspaper, and a funeral home. The town also had a doctor in a well-equipped medical clinic, a dentist, and several churches. Most of the economy centered around ranching and the fishing and other tourist attractions in the forested, rolling countryside. The old rail depot was converted into the Depot Library, which in the 1980s had more than 7,000 volumes, tape cassettes, and other materials. Ellis Mercantile, a tourist attraction, provided a "trip into the past." In the early 1990s the population of Frankston was reported as 1,149, with ninety-eight rated businesses. In 2000 the population was 1,209, with 175 businesses.
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