Franktown was established by Orson Hyde, probate judge of Carson County, Utah Territory, in the Wassau Valley, (Washoe Valley) in 1855.
A sawmill was built and became an important enterprise in furnishing timber to the Comstock mines after 1859. The Dall Mill, a quartz mill of sixty stamps, employed hundreds of workmen.
Fertile farms surrounded the town.
With the completion of the railroad from Carson City to Virginia City in 1869, the milling business rapidly lost its importance and the once prosperous town declined.