The rich history of Franklin dates back more than two centuries to its founding in 1799. From the days when early settlers carved farms out of the wilderness, the city and county boasted many firsts–including the first Masonic Lodge in Tennessee, which is the first three-story building in the state. St.Paul’s Church was the first Protestant Episcopal Church in Tennessee, while Liberty Methodist Church was the scene of the first Methodist Conference west of the Alleghenies.
Many of the fine historic homes in Franklin and the surrounding countryside were built in the days of agricultural prosperity in the decades preceding the Civil War. The War itself saw skirmishes, spies, and the burning and raiding of homes. Then November 30, 1864, came the bloody and tragic Battle of Franklin, where Confederate forces charged entrenched Union soldiers near the Carter House and died by the thousands. The five hours of desperate fighting resulted in Confederate losses of more than 6,000 and Union losses of more than 2,000.
Visitors to Historic Downtown Franklin experience an award-winning Great American Main Street town and 200 years of history. The Victorian commercial district, with its commemorative brick sidewalks and beautifully renovated historic buildings housing elegant shops, is the heart of Franklin and Williamson County. Downtown Franklin offers an eclectic mix of antique shops, gift and book stores, art galleries, clothiers, and an array of personal and professional services.
Downtown Franklin is a favorite place for those seeking true Southern hospitality and the best shopping and dining in Middle Tennessee. And two of our major annual festivals are among the top 20 events in the entire Southeast, according to the Southeast Tourism Society!
Come take a stroll down Main Street and our surrounding historic neighborhoods of restored antebellum homes. As we like to say, we’re only 15 miles and 100 years down the road from Nashville!
Tours of interest:
- Take a walking tour of Downtown Franklin, visit www.franklinonfoot.com
- There are three wonderful house museums, conveniently located near our historic district. All tell the story of the Battle of Franklin from the perspectives of the families who lived there.