For 200 years, the Gentry family has farmed the Williamson County soil and contributed to the geographical resources of the community. This Saturday and Sunday, the longtime local residents will continue their legacy of cultural preservation: the family is opening up two of their historic homes for the 38th Annual Town & Country Tour of Homes, benefiting the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County.
The ca. 1849 Pleasant View Farm—better known locally as Gentry Farm—in the countryside on Highway 96 West has been in the family since 1849. The property encompasses nearly 400 acres, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Cindy and Allen Gentry say they wanted to throw open their doors to the public to further the Heritage Foundation’s effort to educate the community on its rich history.
“I enjoy watching people appreciate history. By doing this, it is allowing people to appreciate and respect local history,” Cindy Gentry said. “I’ve never been one for dates and facts, but have always loved the stories and seeing how things were once done. This type of experience helps people feel like they are part of the past.”
The first building that participants will tour on the Gentry property is a ca. 1869 home, built by Allen Gentry’s great-great grandfather Samuel Fielding Glass. On the tour, guests will hear about the antique structure, how it was constructed, and the many generations who have lived in it over the years.
Cindy Gentry said that one of the artifacts on display will be a stone mason’s receipt to Glass, dating back to 1861. The paper states it will postpone laying the home’s foundation until the country’s internal conflict is resolved. The receipt date shows it was written 12 days after the Battle of Fort Sumter.
“The receipt said, in effect, ‘we will return and complete out work after the current political rest,’” Cindy said. “Well, the foundation sat for about seven years. Receipts we have show that building didn’t resume until the Civil War ended.”
In addition to the historical “Main House,” the early 1800s Gentry’s Farm Log Cabin will also be open. The structure was moved from an area near Goodlettsville, Tenn., 25 years ago, and in the process each log was numbered and reconstructed exactly as found.
The frame was originally built nearly 200 years ago and is a double-pen, one-and-half-story log home with a dogtrot typical to early Middle Tennessee log homes. Cindy says that guests will get a similar experience on this property as the “Main House”—an interior bursting with family heirlooms and antiques collected over the past century, in addition to personal, modern-day touches.
“I think people will enjoy seeing the Main House, and seeing the great variety of heirlooms our ancestors have collected over the years. Each has a very interesting story, and guests will get to hear some of those along with the story behind the home,” she said. “Our house [the log cabin] is a bit different. It’s very historic, but we’ve decorated to blend both my husband’s and my family’s pieces. It’s still fun, but a little less formal.”
In addition to the two homes, the tour circuit will show participants the Gentry Farm crop land, which Allen farms today. Cindy says the public will also be able to walk out to the family’s cemetery, where several generations are buried.
Downtown Franklin resident Marti Veto is the chair of the Tour of Homes, presented by Bob Parks Realty. Tickets are $30 each before the tour, and $35 on the days of the tour. Tickets may be purchased at any of the sites during the tour, online at www.historicfranklin.com or by calling Kristy Williams at (615) 591-8500 x18.
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.