Early 1900s House on Carter’s Hill Park Saved: But Why?

Blue House -2The Heritage Foundation is going the extra mile to preserve another historic home–and we mean this quite literally.

You may have seen it in the news: the Foundation has partnered with like-minded organizations in the community to save the “Blue House,” often called the “Cotton Gin House” as part of a major battlefield reclamation project. This historic home, which was moved to the Cleburne Street site in the 1920s, is being slowly transported in two sections more than 40 miles from downtown Franklin to Giles County, where new homeowners Sharon and John McNeely will renovate it. The land for the seven-acre Carter’s Hill Park will be completely cleared by November 30, the 150th anniversary of the battle.

The simple post-Civil War house, which sits on the site of the Carter Cotton Gin that played such a pivotal role in the Battle of Franklin, includes all of the original trim, fireplaces, beaded board paneling and an incredible central staircase, along with several original windows and doors–but that’s just one reason why it should be preserved.

To help you better understand its historical significance, and why we have put so much effort into preserving the structure, we put together a little timeline (which we gleaned from Historian Rick Warwick) here:

  • The Blue House is a veteran of moves and movers.It’s ownership dates back to a Mrs. Sykes, who owned the home during the Civil War when it stood on the corner of Columbia Avenue and Fowlkes Street.
  • After the war, it was sold to Samuel Mosley, who added on to the front of the house, nearly doubling its size.
  • The city of Franklin bought the house and the property from Mr. Mosley to build Franklin High School in its place, which later burned down in 1956. Mrs. Robbie Hunter bought the house from the city and had it moved to 109 Cleburne Street before the city had a chance to tear it down.
  • The lot at 109 Cleburne Street also has a unique history.Long before the Blue House stood there, the lot housed the Carter Cotton Gin. During the Civil War’s Battle of Franklin, soldiers wrote about seeing the cotton gin in the midst of the fighting, noting it was a sort of epicenter for the battle.
  • The city later built the original Battle Ground Academy High School on the lot where the cotton gin once stood. The school burned down in 1902, and the lot sat empty until the arrival of the Blue House in either 1925 or 1926.
  • Now the Blue House is in the midst of another move, this time to Giles County. With the front part of the Blue House gone, Mr. Mosley’s addition is noticeable by the presence of Civil War era, handmade nails holding the walls together. The front of the house contains newer nails.
  • The third move was prompted by plans to build a park on the site where the Battle of Franklin broke out on November 30, 1864. The park will be called Carter’s Hill Park after the Carter family who owned the property at the time.

Follow along with the Heritage Foundation on its Facebook page to see updates of the park’s development, and of the “Blue House.”

McNeelys Named Chairs for Tours of Home

A downtown Franklin couple who has been involved in the preservation of a number of National Register homes has been named chairs of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County’s 39th Annual Town & Country Tour of Homes, to be held June 7th and 8th.

“We share time between the mountains of North Carolina and our home on West Main Street in Franklin, and we’ve always enjoyed the romance of an old house that bends and twists,” Sharon McNeely said. “We’ve developed incredible relationships as a result of our living here and working with the Heritage Foundation and wanted to support the Tour of Homes as a spotlight on the importance of historic preservation.”

The McNeelys, who have owned three properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, live in a ca. 1888 Victorian home in Franklin’s Hincheyville Historic District that has been featured on the tour in the past. As one of the Heritage Foundation’s earliest preservation success stories, that house was moved to the current site in the late 1970s. The McNeelys are currently working with the Foundation to relocate the “Cotton Gin” house from the site of the new Carter’s Hill Battlefield Park on Columbia Avenue.

In 2005, they bought their home in downtown Franklin and became seasonal residents. They’re often seen walking around Hincheyville with their rescued greyhound, Keith, and both are avid equestrians.

“Franklin has been a special place to me for a long time, as I grew up coming here because of the horses,” Sharon said. “When I introduced John to downtown Franklin, we both decided it was time to put down roots here. We’ve been welcomed with open arms and always look forward to coming back home.”

Now in its 39th year, the Town & Country Tour of Homes invites the public inside historic homes, buildings and notable examples of sensitive infill within historic districts. This year’s event features 11 properties with a focus on antebellum structures, recognizing the Sesquicentennial of the Battle of Franklin.

Pre-1864 locations include the Harris-McEwen House (ca. 1832); The Eaton House (ca. 1816); The Old Williamson County Courthouse (ca. 1858); Landmark Booksellers (ca. 1808); The Saunders-Marshall-Wright Gardens (ca. 1805); The Masonic Lodge (ca. 1823-1826); The Harrison House (ca. 1810-1826); Laurel Hill (ca. 1854) and Rest Haven Cemetery (est. 1855). Other locations include The Roberts-Moore House (ca. 1898) and The Belle House, built in 2014 in Hincheyville by Thrive Homes. Living history presentations will enhance the experience at a number of sites.

Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door, and are good for the weekend of June 7th and 8th. Bob Parks Realty, LLC is the presenting sponsor. To learn more about the Town & Country Tour of Homes or to purchase tickets, please call the Heritage Foundation at (615) 591-8500, x18 or go here.

Since 1967, the not-for-profit Heritage Foundation’s mission has been to protect and preserve the architectural, geographic and cultural heritage of Franklin and Williamson County, and to promote the ongoing economic revitalization of downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation.


Main Street Festival Returns, April 26-27

The Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County’s 31st Annual Main Street Festival, presented by First Tennessee, will return April 26-27, 2014 to Historic Downtown Franklin, Tenn.  The event will feature more than 200 artisans and crafters, three stages for all-day entertainment, two blocks of children’s activities and two food courts.

The free two-day weekend event will run Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the Fourth Avenue street dance continuing until 10 p.m. on Saturday night.  All activities will re-open Sunday, April 27, from noon to 6 p.m.

More than 130,000 visitors are expected to attend the weekend that’s packed with family-oriented activities, non-stop musical entertainment and international flavors provided by the 20-plus food vendors.

Artisans and crafters will be selling handmade work, including original oil and watercolor paintings, pottery, jewelry, furniture, woodworking, ornamental iron, stained glass, photography, home and garden accents, birdhouses, leatherwork and much more.

In addition to a juried arts and crafts show projected to host more than 200 entries, the festival will offer two special areas of children’s activities on Third Avenue South and Third Avenue North.

Patrons will also enjoy live entertainment throughout the two-day event at any of the three stages: the First Tennessee Stage on the Public Square; the Heritage Stage on Fourth Avenue North; and the Beer/Wine Garden Stage on Fourth Avenue South.

Three designated food areas will offer a tasty variety of everything from roasted corn on the cob and stuffed baked potatoes to Polish sausage, Greek gyros and Asian and Mexican cuisines. And don’t forget the Southern fare: barbeque, burgers and hotdogs, smoked turkey legs, funnel cakes, kettle corn and more will be offered.

A shuttle service provided by the Franklin Transit Authority will be available to transport people from the free parking lots at Harlinsdale Park on Franklin Road and at The People’s Church on Murfreesboro Road. Shuttle rides to the event are $1 for adults and 50 cents for children and seniors. Both sites will operate on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Only the Harlinsdale site will operate on Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

Main Street Festival is presented by First Tennessee with major sponsors Hidden Valley, The Kroger Co., Williamson Medical Center, The Grove, Patterson Company, AT&T U-Verse, Wyndham Resorts, LeafFilter and The City of Franklin. Supporting sponsors include Fox 17, Clear Channel Radio, The Tennessean/Williamson A.M., Franklin Home Page, Schroeder Chiropractic, K-9 Off-leash, Durante Home Exteriors, Summerwinds Resorts and FranklinIs.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County and its division, the Downtown Franklin Association, and their missions, respectively: to protect and preserve the architectural, geographic and cultural heritage of Franklin and Williamson County, and to promote the ongoing economic revitalization of Downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation.

The Main Street Festival is located in Historic Downtown Franklin, Tenn., exit No. 65 from I-65, three miles west to the Public Square.

For more information, call 615-591-8500.

Home Fest Celebration Reception (April 12) Honors Descendant of Mariah Reddick

Thelma, Franklin 150 posterThe community is invited to the “Home Fest Celebration Reception” at the Williamson County Library on Columbia Avenue Saturday, April 12 at 2 p.m.

The event–spearheaded by prominent African-American historian Thelma Battle–will host honored guest Damani Keene of the Republic of Panama, the great-grandson of ex-slave Mariah Reddick (1832-1922) and grandson of John Watt Reddick, former railroad mail clerk.

Mariah Reddick was Carrie Winder McGavoc’s slave at Carnton Plantation, and worked in the Confederate hospital under Franklin surgeon Dr. W.M. Gentry.

The “Home Fest” will commence with greetings from Thelma at 2 p.m. and words from Heritage Foundation Historian Rick Warwick, followed by a reception and African-American trolley tour beginning at 3 p.m. The event will begin and end at the library.

The event is sponsored by the African-American Heritage Society, the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County, Franklin’s Charge, Battle of Franklin Trust, Stites and Harbison, and the Downtown Franklin Association.

To learn more about Mariah Reddick, read Rick Warwick’s RAZOR story here.

Lehews Donate $1 Million to Old, Old Jail Initiative

Calvin Lehew speaks to Youth Leadership Franklin at the Franklin Theatre about his preservation work
Calvin Lehew speaks to Youth Leadership Franklin at the Franklin Theatre about his preservation work, prior to announcing his donation

The effort to restore the Old, Old Jail as the Big House for Historic Preservation in Franklin, Tenn., took a big step forward today when local businessman and entrepreneur Calvin Lehew and his wife, Marilyn, announced a $1 million donation to the project.

The donation is the lead gift in the effort to convert the abandoned c. 1941 former Williamson County jail building into a hub for all things preservation and the headquarters for the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson Co.  The total restoration budget is $2.59 million.

The announcement was made at the Franklin Theatre as part of Heritage Day for Youth Leadership Franklin.  The twenty high school sophomores and juniors participating in the leadership development program received a close-up look at the inner workings of historic preservation. Each was also given a copy of Lehew’s inspirational book on overcoming adversity, flying high.

“We at the Heritage Foundation are ‘blown away’ by the Lehew’s generosity and commitment to this project,” said Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson Co.  “The Lehews have proven themselves to be visionaries and pioneers in both historic preservation and tourism, and much of what we love about historic downtown Franklin is due to their efforts.  It is an honor to have them as members of the Heritage Foundation, and we are grateful beyond words for this extraordinary gift.”

Calvin and Marilyn Lehew began their tourism development efforts more than four decades ago with their Carter’s Court development on Columbia Pike in 1973.  The shopping and restaurant complex across the street from the Carter House put Franklin on the tourism map and went on to become the seventh most-visited attraction in Tennessee.  Next they purchased seven buildings on Main Street in historic Franklin with a goal of revitalizing the downtown district.  Lehew played a leading role in garnering political support and funding for the Streetscape project along Main Street in Franklin in the late 1980s and early 1990s, which resulted in Franklin earning a Great American Main Street award in 1995.

Lehew’s most recent project was the rehabilitation of the 1929 buildings that once housed Dortch Stove Works, Magic Chef and later the Jamison Bedding Company into The Factory at Franklin.  Over a period of years he transformed it into a vibrant shopping, entertainment, artistic, and event complex, selling it in 2012.

“The Old, Old Jail project is one that Marilyn and I support because it both preserves a historic building that deserves a second chance and provides the Heritage Foundation with a great headquarters space,” said Lehew.  “It is located in the corner of town that I would be interested in developing if I were still in the business.  This is the next place in Franklin for redevelopment and the restoration of that building will be a welcome addition to that part of downtown.”

Also announced today was a pledge from the Heritage Foundation’s under-40 membership group, Next Gen, for $100,000 over five years to fund the glass-enclosed addition on the second floor overlooking the green space and eventual bicentennial park behind the building.

“As the next generation of the Heritage Foundation we’re honored to have the opportunity to leave a legacy and support a project that will benefit future generations of residents of Williamson County,” said Sean Carroll, president of the Next Gen. “Our last project, funding the marquee at the restored Franklin Theatre, was a five year project that we were able to pay off in four years.   Given the passion and dedication of our volunteers and members we’re confident that we’ll be able to pay off this pledge in less than five years, too.  It’s a privilege to be able to play such an important role in preserving the history of this amazing community.”

“The Lehews’ generous leadership gift reflects their ability to see into a very bright future and means that their vision has touched all the quadrants of downtown Franklin,” said Cyril Stewart, president of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County.  “This gift, plus the commitment of the Next Generation of the Heritage Foundation, enables us to move from planning to construction to realize this transformational project.”

The Old, Old Jail, located at 112 Bridge Street in downtown Franklin, served as Williamson County’s second jail, from 1941 to 1973.  Abandoned in 2003, the building was purchased from the City of Franklin in 2013, when plans began to restore the building into a center for historic preservation in Williamson County.  Rock City Construction is the general contractor for the project, and Street Dixon Rick Architecture, PLC, is the architect.


The Perkins: Offering a Piece of History, Community and Their Heart


Dan and Gwen Perkins are selling Chapman’s Pie Wagon II, a mobile food venue modeled after Franklin’s original Chapman’s Pie Wagon that served hot lunches and slices of homemade pie on the Public Square until it closed in the mid-1940s.

Below is the Perkins’ story. If you are interested in starting a conversation about purchasing not only the business, but also a piece of history, please contact Dan or Gwen here or by calling 615-587-5354. They are active Heritage Foundation members.

Dan and Gwen Perkins know something about running a successful business. Back in Oregon, Gwen worked as a caterer for private business parties, ranging from five people to nearly 1,000. Dan owned and operated a small lumber company in Oregon for 40 years.

In 2010, the pair returned to Gwen’s Tennessee roots to seek another entrepreneurial venture: this time in the form of Chapman’s Pie Wagon II—a downtown Franklin mobile food venue first inspired by a West Coast all-natural concession stand, but modeled after Franklin’s original Chapman’s Pie Wagon.

It took Dan and Gwen nearly a year and a half to open Chapman’s II after thorough research, and adhering to city requirements—not to mention the meticulous detail they put into designing the trolley—but since 2011 the duo has served their made-from-scratch lunches and desserts in the parking lot by Landmark Booksellers on E. Main Street.

For more than 20 years, the Chapman’s mobile concession in downtown Franklin was such a popular spot that there’s still some who remember the original pie wagon.

At Chapman’s II, people order through the window… just like the original, owned by Jim and Effie Chapman. Its trolley-like appearance and candy-cane striped finish of the mobile restaurant also hits close to home for many who know of the old food truck.

“We’ve tried to make Chapman’s as much like the original as we can,” Gwen says. “The history is so compelling to us—and to many of our customers who have eaten with us, and also at the original Chapman’s. You can feel the pride in their voices when they remember the former trolley, the good times had, and the sense of community it created.”

Before opening, Gwen and Dan embraced a book compiled by Heritage Foundation Historian Rick Warwick’s book “Meet Me at Chapman’s Pie Wagon,” which detailed the special sense of community that Jim and Effie Chapman helped create through their business. Gwen says she believes the Chapmans accomplished this through giving their customers a happy, relaxed place to eat and communicate among friends, neighbors and coworkers.

Gwen often talks about the people who now stop by Chapman’s II just to chat, to ask questions about our city, get directions or just enjoy a beautiful day with a homemade lunch.

“We’re in the wagon and can hear people visiting, laughing, reconnecting, doing business. They even help each other taking food to their car,” Gwen says. “Several times someone will note that our garbage is full. But they don’t just tell us, they ask for a bag and they change it out. How’s that for kindness?”

And all of that, Gwen says, goes to show that Chapman’s, once again, has risen to its original place—one of bringing a city together and knitting hearts for a common goal of neighborliness to one another.

“That’s what Chapman’s was for, and is what it is for today.”

The Perkins hoped to create another generation saying “Meet me at Chapman’s!” Allow them continue that receiving the baton for the next heart of Franklin’s community:

WHO: Gwen and Dan Perkins; Heritage Foundation members

WHAT: Chapman’s Pie Wagon II; modeled after Chapman’s Pie Wagon (1922-1946)

WHY THEY ARE SELLING: Gwen and Dan began Chapman’s II as senior citizens, and Dan has a heart condition that is requiring more rest.

“We knew we had a ‘season.’ We love Chapman’s and it is hard to let go but we must. We just so want someone to grasp the wonderful opportunity and business that we have been so fortunate to be a part.”

WHAT CHAPMAN’S HAS MEANT TO THEM: “It’s really hard to pass this on, because it has been our baby. But we know this season is over for us. It’s been fabulous, and the people in Franklin have been so supportive. We’ve made friends for life through Chapman’s.”

WHAT GWEN SEES IN CHAPMAN’S FUTURE: “Chapman’s is poised to grow and we know someone younger will have the energy and heart to make that happen.”

WHAT YOU ARE BUYING: The Chapman’s name, the business, the trolley, supplies, cooking utensils and Gwen’s standard recipes, if so desired.

Gwen is also willing to help the new owners transition and would help up to three months, if desired.



Chairs Named For 41st Annual Heritage Ball in September 2014

Hincheyville Neighbors Represent Past, Present & Future of Black Tie Event

Breathards, web
Brian and Lisa Beathard

Generations of Williamson County residents have made a tradition of supporting the Heritage Ball, the community’s longest-running black tie event. Now, Brian and Lisa Beathard of the Hincheyville neighborhood in downtown Franklin have been named Chairs of the Heritage Ball, and their neighbor Marty Ligon, who launched the initiative 41 years ago, will serve as Honorary Chair.

“Historic preservation is about honoring the past as part of our present and our future,” said Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County. “This is a long-standing tradition and a principal fundraiser, so it’s exciting to see a young professional couple as Chairs who want to continue the Heritage Ball legacy that the ones who came before them brought to life.”

Brian Beathard currently serves as a County Commissioner in the 11th district. A sales executive in the transportation industry, he is a native Texan and a graduate of Baylor University. Since moving to Franklin with Lisa and their two children, Payce (9) and Ava (11), the Beathards have jumped headfirst into community service. Brian currently sits on the boards of the Heritage Foundation, Franklin Tomorrow, the Williamson County Education Foundation, the Downtown Neighborhood Association and Carnton Plantation. In addition, he serves on the County Budget Committee and the Parks and Recreation Committee, and is also a member of the Franklin Noon Rotary.

Born and raised in Nashville, Lisa Beathard is an alumnus of Brentwood Academy and Belmont University. A scholarship athlete at Belmont, she has been a Registered Nurse at St. Thomas Hospital for 18 years. She volunteers on a regular basis with Poplar Grove School, where the children attend, and has worked in support of various events for the Heritage Foundation, including the Town & Country Tour of Homes, the Main Street Brew Fest, Pumpkinfest and the Main Street Festival.

“Lisa and I fell in love with Franklin when we first met, and we knew we wanted to raise our family here and be involved with shaping the future of the community,” Brian said. “Now, almost 10 years later, we’re honored to be able to head a talented committee that orchestrates one of the most significant events of the year.”

Marty Ligon
Marty Ligon

Marty Ligon, who also lives in the Hincheyville Historic District, was the leader of a core group of people who conceived and executed the inaugural Heritage Ball 41 years ago. Back then, Carnton Plantation was home to tenant farmers, and had fallen into disrepair. During the frantic renovation in advance of the first Ball, bare wiring and other hazards were discovered, potentially heading off disaster for what has become one of the region’s most popular Civil War tourism destinations.

“Not only were we able to highlight the importance of Carnton and convince the families to allow us to borrow artifacts to decorate the house as it would have been before the Battle of Franklin, but things like Carrie McGavock’s portrait and the dining room table and many other key pieces remain in the home today,” Ligon said. “The Ball was the spark that set in motion a series of events that brings us to where we are now, which no one could have imagined back then.”

Ligon says it required a Herculean effort to pull off the inaugural event. People who were involved back then are some of the familiar faces you still see at the Heritage Ball today – people like Sandy Zeigler, Ann Herbert Floyd, Rod Heller, Danny and Teresa Anderson, and Joe and Betty Willoughby, who were named King and Queen of the Ball last year, and so many more.

“We were inspired by a cause that was important to us, and it’s a thrill to see how far everything has come today,” she said. “Sometimes people have trouble visualizing what something can be, and it’s always been a source of pride that we were able to accomplish our mission. I couldn’t be more delighted to serve as the Honorary Chair, and to share that recognition with everyone else who played a role.”

Since 1967, the not-for-profit Heritage Foundation’s mission has been to protect and preserve the architectural, geographic and cultural heritage of Franklin and Williamson County, and to promote the ongoing economic revitalization of downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation. To learn more, visit www.historicfranklin.com or contact Torrey Barnhill at tbarnhill@historicfranklin.com.

Three Blind Vines Offers Exception Silent Auction Items

3BVThose who enjoy glitz and glamour will be particularly taken with this year’s Three Blind Vines fundraiser at The Factory in Franklin on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014: the Next Generation Heritage Foundation has promised that the “Classic Hollywood” theme will offer a movie premiere-like ambiance with wine tastings, food pairings, live entertainment –and an extensive list of swanky silent auction items.

Next Gen President Sean Carroll says that topping the string of sought-after pieces and packages are two that go along with the preservation organization’s mission: a vintage corbel hand-selected by HISTORY’s American Pickers stars Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz; and a paranormal investigation of the Old, Old Jail with a 20-person tour lead by Syfy’s Killer Contact host Austin Cook.

Other notable takeaways from the 80-plus items on display include a private backstage tour, meal and movie screening at the Franklin Theatre; a weekend getaway to Knoxville with two nights in the historic Oliver Hotel in Market Square; a custom wine bar, created by local design firm Austin Bryant Moore; a soaring hot air balloon ride over Tennessee’s rolling hills, capped off by a romantic dinner at Sopapillas and hand-picked chocolates from Schakolad; and much more!

The event, presented by GRAY’S on Main, benefits the Franklin Theatre. If all goes accordingly this year’s fundraiser will pay off the non-profit’s financial commitment for the Franklin Theatre’s famous marquee, donated by Next Gen during the historic venue’s grand re-opening in 2011.

To see a complete list of the 2014 silent auction items and descriptions, go here.

A $35 ticket may be purchased in advance on the Three Blind Vines’ website for $35, or at the door for $45. To learn more about the event, go to www.threeblindvines.com.

The Next Generation Heritage Foundation consists of members aged 21-40, and is part of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County. 

Mike Wolfe Advocates For Old, Old Jail in HISTORY Channel Piece

HISTORY viewers across the country may have gotten an earful about a project making waves in the Williamson County community: a public service announcement-like clip launched on the channel earlier this month features “American Pickers” star Mike Wolfe extolling the praises of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County, and its initiative to restore one of the county’s historic properties.

Known as the “Old, Old Jail,” the non-profit organization purchased the ca. 1941 downtown Franklin building last year with hopes to restore the structure to serve as their permanent headquarters, and as a public resource for those interested in historic preservation.

The HISTORY television advertisement appears during the commercials breaks of the “American Pickers” seventh season, which airs each Wednesday evening at 8 p.m. CST.

“I was excited to have the opportunity to be part of the HISTORY channel video because I am a resident of Franklin and I know how important history is to our community,” Wolfe said. “It’s important for all community citizens, including young people, to become involved in saving community treasures. I am blessed to have an audience to take this message to.

“It is important to not just live in your community—each of us needs to be a part of it, too.”

This year, the Heritage Foundation plans to launch a fundraising campaign to raise the approximately $2 million it will take to rehabilitate the future “Big House for Historic Preservation.” Executive Director Mary Pearce says she hopes that these national HISTORY segments about the project will act as a catalyst for donors.

“We see the ‘Big House for Historic Preservation’ as a community resource, and a inspiration for all interested in saving the places that matter in Williamson County,” Pearce said. “We’d like to begin the restoration project as soon as funds are raised, and hope that this HISTORY piece will jumpstart that movement.”

Pearce says Wolfe, a Leiper’s Fork resident, approached her to participate in the HISTORY advertisement for the Old, Old Jail, which was donated by Liberty Mutual. The television star is a longtime supporter of the Foundation, and is an advocate for historic preservation.

The channel traveled to Historic Downtown Franklin in Fall 2013 to film the piece. Hundreds of local volunteers turned out to serve as extras for filming at Harlinsdale Farm, the Franklin Theatre and at the Old, Old Jail.

“We are grateful to Mike Wolfe for making a difference in this community, and using his voice and influence to help preserve our history,” Pearce said. “This kind of exposure is immeasurable.”

The two-minute PSA can be viewed on the Foundation’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/HistoricFranklinTN.

Though it’s an opportunity for the non-profit to restore yet another neglected iconic building in Franklin—this is the same organization that saved the Franklin Theatre and has moved the wrecking ball from countless historic homes—the “Big House for Historic Preservation” will also feature vast archives.

Historian Rick Warwick has collected thousands of old photographs and documents, and helped hundreds of people learn more about their family and property histories over the years. These same resources help home and building owners with everything from National Register of Historic Places nominations to Franklin’s Main Street program.

A meeting room will be available for non-profit and community use on the upper floor. Other resources for those involved in history, preservation and planning will be available to the public.

Since 1968, the not-for-profit Heritage Foundation’s mission has been to protect and preserve the architectural, geographic and cultural heritage of Franklin and Williamson County, and to promote the ongoing economic revitalization of downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation.

CNN Hero of the Year Chad Pregracke Appearing at the Franklin Theatre March 7

ChadCNN Hero of the Year Chad Pregracke, elected by CNN viewers for cleaning 7 million tons of trash out of the Mississippi River, is kicking off Keep Tennessee Beautiful month with a public event at the Franklin Theatre March 7. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will be among those participating in the morning event on Franklin’s Main Street.

The public is invited to the breakfast event from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Franklin Theatre for $10 per person.  Tickets are on sale now at www.franklintheatre.com for the March 7 event. His appearance is sponsored by Keep Tennessee Beautiful and the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County and supported by several additional community groups interested in making the Harpeth River more of a community asset.

“Chad is proof that one person can make a difference. His passion and dedication have motivated countless others, including myself, to get involved. TDOT was proud to join him for the massive clean-up effort on the Mississippi River,” said John Schroer, honorary chairman of the event, former Mayor of Franklin and Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Transportation. “He is truly a hero, and we thank him for helping us bring positive change to communities across Tennessee.”

Keep Tennessee Beautiful is the primary sponsor of Pregracke’s appearance. March is “Keep Tennessee Beautiful” month and this event will help kick it off, according to KTNB Executive Director Missy Marshall.

“Keep Tennessee Beautiful is looking forward to bringing this international hero to the Franklin Theatre,” Marshall said. “His success can be applied to every other waterway in Tennessee, and we invite anyone interested to come to this presentation and be motivated to join the cause.”

Pregracke received the CNN honor for generating more than 700 clean-up days along the Mississippi River through his nonprofit organization known as Living Lands and Waters. He’s organized more than 70,000 volunteers to pick up 7 million tons of trash, 90% of which has been recycled.

In December 2013, he was nominated and awarded Hero of the Year by CNN viewers over a five-week voting process, but immediately took some of his $250,000 in winnings and dispersed $10,000 each to the other nine finalists for the award. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper said that had never happened in the history of the Hero of the Year Award.

Tickets to the event include a light breakfast with doors opening at 7 a.m., and the program is expected to last from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Waste Management is underwriting the complementary breakfast served in the theater lobby and several local organizations, including Franklin Tomorrow, Keep Williamson Beautiful and the Harpeth River Watershed Association, will be in the lobby with information about their efforts and opportunities to get involved.

To purchase tickets to the event, go to www.franklintheatre.com.