TOWN & COUNTRY TOUR OF HOMES FEATURES NINE PROPERTIES
37th Annual Event Offers Look Inside Homes from Downtown Franklin to Leiper’s Fork
FRANKLIN, Tenn. – From a ca. 1840 Italianate villa in Downtown Franklin to a former moonshiner’s home in Leiper’s Fork, the 37th Annual Town & Country Tour of Homes is offering the public an opportunity to explore the insides of nine unique properties, and to learn the histories behind each of them. The Tour dates are Saturday, June 2 and Sunday, June 3. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at any of the locations.
“We always end up with the most unique, eclectic group of homes – some that people drive by each day, and some that they didn’t know existed,” said Kristy Williams, who coordinates the event for the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County. “We’ve got one of the oldest homes in town, newer properties that have been built from salvaged materials, and homes that have been carefully adapted to historic settings. There’s really something for everyone.”
The “Town” component of the Tour includes five properties in Downtown Franklin, including three in the city’s first subdivision, known as Hincheyville, which encompasses West Main and Fair streets between Fifth and Eleventh avenues.
Of the 92 homes built in the Hincheyville district from 1828 until the 1930s, 90 of them remain – and no two are alike. The neighborhood is a good place to study the history of American architecture, with homes representing the influences of Federal, Greek revival, Victorian, Italianate, Queen Anne, Four Square, Bungalow, Tudor Revival and others. The Hincheyville Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The five properties on the Town tour are:
- Featured in Southern Living, National Geographic, Antiques and Classic America magazines, the solid brick, two-story Magnolia Hall was built around 1840. The home on Boyd Mill Avenue sits on 12 acres, and guests will enjoy the imported antique statuary, three matching waterfall chandeliers, an entry hall that spans the full length of the home, and 12’ x 50’ twin stair cases. The original kitchen has been converted to a guest house, a garage has been built around the original smoke house, and the property also includes a small barn with tack room and a spring house. Magnolia Hall was home to Sylvester Stallone while he filmed the movie Rhinestone in and around Nashville.
- The ca. 1866 Thomas J. Carothers House on West Main Street was originally located east of I-65 on Curd Lane, and was moved to its current site. Capt. Thomas J. Carothers (1839-1905), a Civil War veteran, built the home in the Greek revival style in 1866. It is unusual for a country home to be moved into town, but the Carothers house fits its urban surroundings rather nicely, and the current owners have lovingly renovated it. The Container Store® has provided a total makeover for the master bedroom closet for this year’s tour.
- The Mayberry House was built in 1917 on West Main Street, a classic American Four Square that now stands as a wonderful example of how an older house can be renovated to include all the amenities of a modern home. For many years it, like many large homes in Franklin, was divided into apartments. A thoughtful renovation added a new master suite, kitchen, and bathroom, along with updated electrical, plumbing, HVAC and a new roof. Much of the original details remain.
- The Vaughan-Mayer House on Fair Street, ca. 1914, combines a Greek revival exterior with a four-square Craftsman bungalow. The interior features wallpaper and fixtures that are original to the home. Outdoor Classic Structures, LLC created a landscape rendering for the home tour, so you will see some of the landscape elements already being implemented. Guests will be interested in learning about the three music videos recorded here.
- Construction began in 2007 on The Brownstones at First & Church, just a half block from Franklin’s Historic Public Square. While The Brownstones are considered new construction, they reflect community history in a development that complements the character of Historic Downtown Franklin. The Brownstone on this tour was designed by architect Preston Quirk, and is one of only two homes in the development with a first floor kitchen and living areas. It’s also one of only two stand- alone Brownstones. Each of the 26 Brownstones is highly customized to its owners, and this one is no exception.
The “Country” portion of the tour includes four wonderful properties in the village of Leiper’s Fork – two private homes and two old houses that have been converted into vacation rentals. As a bonus, participants are encouraged to visit the ca. 1910 Hillsboro United Methodist Church. Tour destinations include:
- Moonshine Hill, built on Old Highway 96 in 1919 on a knob overlooking Dobbins Branch on the road between Hillsboro and Kingfield, was once in the center of a thriving area for the illicit trade. Owner Ann Johnson adapted the simple country home, first as her private residence and then a vacation rental for the public. At one time, every hollow in this area was the site of a moonshine still, and the proprietors were always working to stay one step ahead of the revenuers. One such former resident stopped by for a visit one day and mentioned that folks came all the way from the Kentucky state line to buy moonshine here… and Johnson likes to say they’re still “Bottling Memories One Weekend at a Time.”
- Also on Old Highway 96 is the personal showplace of local craftsman and homebuilder William Powell and his wife, Dale. A long drive crosses a creek and winds up to a hilltop overlookingthe Natchez Trace Parkway and the village of Leiper’s Fork, where the Powell’s Greek revival style home was built in 1998. Many will think they are visiting a restored vintage classic – William Powell has built a reputation of creating masterpieces in the 19th century tradition, often with salvaged materials. Guests will marvel at the period antiques and tasteful appointments found throughout the house and gardens.
- On Old Hillsboro Road in Leiper’s Fork, Brigadoon was built around 1885 in the vernacular architecture of that era. In 1923, original owner Joseph L. Sweeney sold the house to Mrs. Lula Locke, a widow with a large family, for $694.50 and with no interest. Today, Brigadoon carries on that legacy of hospitality as a vacation rental in the heart of the village. Some consider the property a slight Scottish invasion – imagine Ralph Lauren at a yard sale and you will feel right at home!
- The Historic Gooch-Johnson Home, ca. 1911, has for years welcomed travelers on the Old Hillsboro Road into Leiper’s Fork. The four-square, pyramidal roof–styled house was a familiar form seen throughout Williamson County. The railroad ran directly behind the house from 1909 to 1927, and you can still see the ridge where the trains came through. The house took on 22 ½ inches of water in the Great Flood of 2010, and the county required that the barn be torn down. However, you may see wood from the barn utilized in the produce department at Whole Foods in Cool Springs, along with a photograph of it in the dining section of the grocery store. The Gooch-Johnson home was raised three feet due to the flood, providing an opportunity to update and bring the house into the 21st Century.
- Guests may park cars and take a shuttle from the ca. 1910, Gothic Revival-style Hillsboro United Methodist Church on Old Highway 96 to the two properties on tour on Old Highway 96. The church’s sanctuary is open to the public on Saturday and Sunday, including for Sunday worship services. The stained-glass windows, freshly painted interior, and inviting bell-tower make this country church a true jewel to the village of Leiper’s Fork. The building includes a new parish hall and educational rooms, which were added without distracting from the historic structure.
Tour participants are also encouraged to take advantage of special historic walking tours with Franklin on Foot. Interested participants may call 615.400.3808 or visit www.FranklinOnFoot.com for additional information.
The Town & Country Tour of Homes is produced by the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County. Founded in 1967, the Heritage Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting and preserving historic resources in Franklin and Williamson County, Tennessee. For more information or to purchase tickets for the 37th Annual Tour of Homes, visit www.historicfranklin.com or call (615) 591-8500, Ext. 18.