Monday, June 20, 2022

Ladybug Cultural and Historical Trail Map

In 1974, a second-grade class from John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Franklin, MA, decided Massachusetts needed an official state insect. The students, and their teacher, Ms. Palma Johnson, selected the ladybug as their choice for the state insect.

The students learned how their proposal for a state insect could become a law. On March 20, 1974, dressed in their finest ladybug attire, the students went to the State House to support their Ladybug Bill. A month later, on April 17, 1974, Governor Francis W. Sargent signed the bill that made the ladybug the state insect of Massachusetts.

On the 40th anniversary of this achievement, the Franklin Cultural Council and The Rotary Club advanced a public art project in honor of the Kennedy Elementary second grade class, their teacher, and the Ladybug. The art project involved the participation of artists and businesses in the creation of 25, two-feet tall, fiberglass Ladybugs. Over time, the Ladybug sculptures were installed at public buildings, businesses and private residences.

In 2019, the Franklin Downtown Partnership (FDP) considered gathering the Ladybugs in downtown Franklin, the heart of Franklin’s Cultural District. They envisioned a trail that would feature 17 of the original Ladybug sculptures, several murals, and three bronze statues. Named the Ladybug Cultural and Historical Trail, visitors and residents would connect with Franklin’s culture and history while shopping, dining, and visiting downtown. In 2021, the FDP formed a committee to develop the project. The FDP unveiled the Ladybug Trail as its Strawberry Stroll on June 10, 2022.

The 2021 Ladybug Trail Committee is chaired by FDP Executive Director Lisa Piana and includes Pandora Carlucci (FDP Board & Franklin Cultural District Committee), Jane Curran (FDP Founding Member), Melanie Hamblen (FDP & Town Council member), Eileen Mason (FDP & Beautification Committee Chair), Mary Olson (FDP & Historical Commission Chair), Roberta Trahan (FDP Executive Board & Franklin Cultural District Committee), Beth Simon (FDP & 2014 Ladybug Manager), and Claire Griffin (Cultural Council 2014 Ladybug Manager).