Director of Preservation Hired – Meet Annabeth Hayes


Annabeth Hayes joins the non-profit’s team to aid efforts in county-wide preservation and advocacy

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – The Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County has hired Annabeth Hayes as director of preservation. Hayes will assist the Heritage Foundation in efforts of preservation throughout Williamson County, along with education and advocacy for the non-profit organization.
“I am thrilled to have Annabeth join our team later this month,” said Bari Beasley, CEO of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County. “Her education, professional experiences at Colonial Williamsburg and the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation, along with her desire to be part of our Williamson County community make her a great fit for the Heritage Foundation. I look forward to all that she will accomplish as she focuses on education, advocacy and preservation throughout Williamson County.”
Hayes joins the Heritage Foundation after working on an architectural preservation project with the Grainger Department of Architectural Preservation at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Prior to her work with Colonial Williamsburg, she served as a graduate research assistant at the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation, working alongside historian Dr. Carroll Van West on local history exhibits and historic preservation projects from Memphis to Chattanooga, African American neighborhood projects in Alabama and North Carolina and a history and heritage plan for Rockdale Plantation located on the Trail of Tears in Georgia.
David Garrett, chairman of the Heritage Foundation board of directors added, “This is an important position to the Heritage Foundation as we continue preservation projects throughout Williamson County. We look forward to Annabeth’s leadership and guidance in this position and are confident that she will make a wonderful addition to our team.”
Prior to her professional experience, Hayes earned her B.A. in history from Rhodes College and completed the 2017 Summer Institute in Southern History and Culture at the Museum of Early American Decorative Arts in Salem, North Carolina. She is completing her M.A. degree in public history with a concentration in historic preservation at Middle Tennessee State University under the direction of Dr. Carroll Van West.
About The Heritage Foundation
Since 1967, the nonprofit group has been dedicated to protecting and preserving Williamson County’s architectural, geographic, and cultural heritage of Franklin and Williamson County and to promote the ongoing revitalization of downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation. For more information on the Heritage Foundation, visit

Heritage Foundation and Studio Tenn join forces


For the first time, the Heritage Foundation and Studio Tenn are joining forces for a special evening. Studio Tenn is bringing back Battle of Franklin: A House Divided which, is a peak into the Carter household during the days of the Civil War. If you’ve lived here very long you’ve surely toured the Carter House. You have seen the bullet holes that riddle the back porch and heard the stories of how the family and slaves took cover in the basement as one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War raged overhead. Now it’s time to meet those individuals.
Though a fictional account, Battle of Franklin: A House Divided is a peak into what might have been in the hearts and minds of Todd Carter, his family and their slaves.
On September 8th, preceding the play, you’ll have a chance to taste some Tennessee Whiskeys, compliments of Moon Wine and Spirits. After the play, join Rick Warwick, Williamson County Historian and Playwright, A.S. Peterson, for questions and answers.
As a Heritage Foundation member, you receive a 10% discount. To enjoy this unique evening on September 8th, go to and use promo code “Heritage”.


New CEO Named!

Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County Selects First-Ever CEO

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – The Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County, the non-profit organization behind much of the historic preservation effort that made Franklin the community it is today, has announced its first-ever CEO. The Foundation’s Board of Directors selected Bari Watson Beasley, a Williamson County resident, to succeed longtime Executive Director Mary Pearce as head of the organization.


Heritage Foundation Board President Julian Bibb said Pearce has spearheaded a nationally recognized campaign to preserve and enhance the Franklin community for 30 years, and that Beasley is the right leader to carry the organization forward.


 “Ms. Beasley is highly qualified to lead the Foundation, from non-profit management to public relations and everything in between,” Bibb said. “She possesses an array of outstanding professional skills that are necessary to maintain the organization’s ongoing success and carry it into the future.”


David Garrett, incoming president of the Heritage Foundation’s Board of Directors, served as chair of the Transition Committee, whose members worked tirelessly for 12 months to prepare the Foundation for its next 50 years. The Committee developed a new organizational structure and job descriptions for the Foundation’s current staff, as well as a comprehensive job description for the organization’s first CEO. The Committee was composed of Angela Calhoun, Pam Chandler, Josh Denton, Dr. Allen Sills, Cyril Stewart and Garrett. The call for applications for the CEO position generated an overwhelming response from scores of applicants from across the country, and the committee evaluated applicants in a three-tiered selection process. The end result was the Board’s enthusiastic selection of Beasley last week.


“Bari Beasley has exceptional credentials, with deep experience in non-profit leadership, marketing and development – all of which make her uniquely qualified for the new CEO role,” Garrett said. “Most importantly, Bari has a passion and love for Williamson County, as well as the proven drive to build on the Foundation’s past success in order to continue the important work and build upon the legacy of this organization.”


 Beasley brings more than 15 years of experience in marketing and non-profits, most recently serving as the chief officer of marketing and external relations for the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA), a global agency of The United Methodist Church.  At GCFA, Beasley oversaw three divisions, including marketing and communications, travel and meeting planning and external relations. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s in advertising and public relations, both from the University of Alabama. She lives with her family in Thompson’s Station.


 “I am honored that the Heritage Foundation’s Board of Directors has chosen me to follow in the footsteps of a truly remarkable leader – Mary Pearce,” Beasley said. “I look forward to working with the staff, the board and community leaders in continuing the Foundation’s mission of ‘saving the places that matter in Franklin and Williamson County.'”


Pearce said she is excited to have someone as talented as Beasley succeed her, given the longstanding and important role the Foundation has played in creating a wonderful community. She is looking forward to the Foundation’s continued growth under Beasley’s leadership.


“As I seek to scale back my work duties, I am pleased that the Heritage Foundation will have this caliber of leadership to guide this great team and organization into the future,” Pearce said.


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.

Preservation Alert! We need your help!!


This could be your new neighbor...

There is a bill before the Tennessee Generally Assembly right now that would drastically affect the way Franklin and Williamson County neighborhoods are built and would look. HB0476 is a zoning bill which removes our local government’s ability to adopt local residential building design standards.

This bill allows developers to set aside existing city building design standards. For instance, rules such as garages must be oriented behind front porch lines and entryways would be null and void. Builders could use lesser quality materials or fewer architectural elements than other homes in the same neighborhood that are already built. This means if there is an empty lot next to you, there may be no exterior design controls.

*There is an exception to allow Historic Overlay Zoning, however, this only covers a small part of Franklin and there are “gaps” even within the Historic District.

The City of Franklin’s leaders are working to stop this legislation which has already passed Senate Committee. To quote Mayor Ken Moore, “This could be a disaster in neighborhoods and in infill areas.” Our local and state officials are working to fight this legislation.

Our town and county values design standards.

If you agree, that the ability to manage how the neighborhoods look should be kept a local level, please contact Representatives, Senators and the Governor’s Office to ask them to vigorously oppose this bill.


Thank you,

Mary Pearce, Executive Director
Julian Bibb, Chairman of the Board
The Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County



Historic Preservation Exhibit on Display at the Old, Old Jail in Franklin, TN


This new exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966 will open at 112 Bridge Street on Tuesday, February 7th from 3-6pm and will be open to the public again on Tuesday, February 21st from 3-6pm. The exhibition is the work of the Albert Gore Research Center in cooperation with the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) public history program graduate students and faculty to curate a travelling exhibit celebrating the passing of the 1966 National Historic Preservation Act.

The passage of this act launched a national interest in saving America’s historic places for future generations.   It also raised interest in historic preservation nationwide and state and local groups with a mission to save historic places were formed. Here in Franklin, local citizens responded by forming the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County in 1967.

This exhibit features the preservation of Carnton Plantation, the founding of the Heritage Foundation and the preservation of the Old, Old Jail and is free to the public.

For the past year, the Albert Gore Research Center has been working with MTSU’s public history program graduate students and faculty to curate a travelling exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966. The exhibit The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966: Commemorating 50 years of Preserving Tennessee’s Cultural Heritage consists of five panels that focus on the national, state, regional, and local impact of the NHPA and preservation efforts since the passing of the act.

Mary Pearce, Heritage Foundation Executive Director, states “We’re proud that the Old, Old Jail has been selected as a location to feature this exhibit which was just at the Brownsville Heritage Center. The timing is perfect to celebrate the passing of the NHPA as we begin the 50th year of the Heritage Foundation’s efforts to preserve our historic places and culture.”


Support for this exhibit was made possible by the Albert Gore Research Center, Humanities Tennessee, Center for Historic Preservation and MTSU Public History. For more information or to schedule a special group tour, contact Linda Childs at 615-591-8500, ext. 116.


2017 Annual Preservation Awards

The Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County is now accepting nominations for its 49th Annual Preservation Awards, which serve to celebrate outstanding historic preservation projects in Franklin and Williamson County.

The award categories recognize the vision of those who help the Foundation protect and preserve historic structures.  They include both residential and commercial rehabilitation’s, as well as new construction projects that complement the historic character of the community.

Winners are announced each May at the non-profit’s yearly member meeting, which falls during National Historic Preservation Month. The 2016 award was suspended in order to celebrate the completion and opening of the Old, Old Jail which was restored by the Heritage Foundation for its headquarters. President Julian Bibb, said “last year the board was excited to celebrate this exciting adaptive reuse which is a forever home for the Heritage Foundation”.

The 2015 honorees included infill projects, historic residential, historic commercial, and community enhancement with the overall winner being the 5 Points Post Office rehabilitated by Firstbank.

Properties may be nominated by outside parties, or submitted by owners.  To receive an application, contact Linda Childs at the Heritage Foundation:

615-591-8500 ext. 116 or

The application can be downloaded here: 2017 Preservation Awards Application.

The deadline to apply is April 7, 2017.

2015 preservation winner
2015 Winner- FirstBank inside the 5 Points Post Office


The Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County is a non-profit 501©3 organization whose mission is 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. For more information, visit

2016 Annual Fund Campaign

“Home for the Holidays”


The holidays kindle memories of family and our thoughts turn toward home. This year, The Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County celebrates our first Christmas in our forever home. In January, the 1942 doors to the Old, Old Jail were re-opened as The Big House for Historic Preservation. The dilapidated, unloved ruin is revitalized into a vibrant work and community space. It’s not just our home; it’s home for everyone who loves preservation and conservation in Williamson County. Call for a tour. Our home is your home.




Downtown Franklin to Be Transformed for 31st Annual Dickens of a Christmas Celebration

dickens4    dickens5   dickens kiss

Step back in time with the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County when Dickens of a Christmas returns to Franklin’s Main Street December 12-13, 2015.

Sponsored this year by Nissan, the 31st annual free street festival will recreate the time of Charles Dickens using historic downtown Franklin’s Victorian architecture as the backdrop.  Some 200 musicians, dancers and characters will fill the streets, including several from Charles Dickens’s stories.  Expect to see and interact with the nefarious Fagin from Oliver Twist; Jacob Marley, Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim Cratchit with his parents from A Christmas Carol; and of course, a Victorian Father and Mother Christmas with treats for children.

“Dickens of a Christmas is the perfect event for our historic Main Street,” said Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County.  “Downtown Franklin always exudes its own special magic, and yet this event adds an extra bit of sparkle.  It dovetails perfectly with our preserved Victorian architecture and our commitment to saving and showcasing our historical treasures. As more attention is turned toward downtown Franklin in both the local and national press, we encourage festival goers to dress in Victorian costume and to add to the ambiance as they stroll the streets.  Adding even a hat and scarf to modern attire helps set the scene and get everyone in the holiday mood.”

This year’s event will reprise a crowd favorite from last year: it WILL snow at Dickens of a Christmas!  Come decked out in holiday style to capture that perfect family picture.

New this year will be the Lucky Scruff Wintery Whisker Revue, a competition among hirsute gentlemen for the finest facial hair.  Those taking advantage of No Shave November will want to hang on to their whiskers until the Sunday afternoon competition on the stage at the Public Square. Winners will take home fabulous prizes courtesy of Lucky Scruff, a new store at The Factory specializing in accessories for the bearded gentleman, and all entrants will receive gift cards. The judging will take place at 3pm. To enter this contest, visit the Dickens event page at

Favorite Victorian-era activities will return, including sugar plums and roasted chestnuts being sold on the street. Other food vendors will offer heartier old English fare.  A variety of musical and dance performances will take place both on the street and on the stage at City Hall.  Horse-drawn carriage rides, a petting zoo for children, live artisan demonstrations, and more than 70 vendors offering holiday arts and crafts will line Main Street from Second to Fifth Avenues.  Each day will conclude with a town sing of classic Christmas carols.  Saturday’s town sing will take place in front of the stage on the Public Square; Sunday’s town sing will be conducted inside the Historic Presbyterian Church at Five Points.

Dickens of a Christmas will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 12, and from 1 1 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, December 13.  The event is free and open to the public; some attractions will involve a small fee.  More information and a schedule of events will be available at

Producing Dickens of a Christmas is just one of the many activities of The Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County.  Since 1967 the non-profit group has been dedicated to protecting and preserving Williamson County’s historic, architectural and geographic resources; in short, saving the places that matter.

Pumpkinfest 2015: Don’t Miss The Costume Contests!

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The highlight of Franklin’s fall season is just around the corner and it’s time for both people and pets to dust off their Halloween best.

One of Pumpkinfest’s favorite traditions, the costume contests for both humans and pets, will be held on the Heritage Stage on the Public Square beginning at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, October 24. Contests will be held in the following categories: Ages 0-2, 3-5, 6-11, and 12+. There is also a category for groups. Pumpkinfest sponsor HomeTown Pet will be sponsoring the pet costume contest.

Signups for humans will be next to the Heritage Stage on the Public Square from 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., with a $2 entry fee. Signups for the HomeTown Pet Costume Contest will be at the HomeTown Pet booth, #26, on the Public Square, with no entry fee. All entrants must be signed up by 1:30 p.m.

Prizes for people will be provided by Vintage Baby, For Every Child, and Sweet CeCe’s. HomeTown Pet will be providing prizes for the pet costume contest.

For more information on the costume contests and Pumpkinfest, go here.

Pumpkinfest (2015) Offers More Entertainment Options

face paint

Each October, the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County organizes an event that draws tens of thousands of people to Historic Downtown Franklin’s core for a full day of fun that ranges for a variety of ages.

The 32nd Annual Pumpkinfest, a fall tradition to many Middle Tennesseans, is returning Saturday, Oct. 24 and promises more entertainment options than ever.

Presented by Hyundai of Cool Springs, the activities will stretch along Main Street and its connecting avenues, making sure that festival-goers have a constant source of entertainment at each turn — like the circus performance group Beyond Wings, who will showcase Halloween-themed aerial arts on the corner of Second Avenue and Main.

In addition to the one at The Public Square, Pumpkinfest has added an extra stage to host a fuller lineup of music and dance performances that ranges from Anthony Adams and the Night Owls to Rocky Top Revue and the Franklin School of Performing Arts.

Coordinators say the highlight of the day will be The ConSoulers, who will take the Guitar Center stage on the corner of First Avenue and Main at 4 p.m. The band will close out Pumpkinfest with a two-hour street dance that organizers are particularly excited about.

Families entertaining children should head to the Church of the City Kids’ Zone at Third Avenue South, where a full block will be transformed to host free activities including bouncy houses, pony rides, face painting and more. There’s even a dedicate preschool area for the little ones.

For more information about the 32nd Annual Pumpkinfest event details and attractions, go to or see the stage schedule below:

Heritage Stage at Public Square Stage
10:00-10:30 a.m | Columbia State
10:45-11:15 a.m | Franklin School of Performing Arts .
11:25-11:55 a.m. | Williamson County Parks & Rec
12:05-12:35 p.m. | Ann Carroll School of Dance
12:45- 1:30 p.m. | Music City All Stars
1:45-3:15 p.m. | Costume Contests
3:25-4:10 p.m. | Tommy Jackson’s Rocky Top Revue
4:20- 5:00 p.m. | Grasstime
5:15-6:00 p.m. | James Hatem

Guitar Center Stage at 1st and Main
10:05-10:35 a.m. | Church of The City Band
10:50-11:20 a.m. | Kristin Larkin
11:35 a.m.-12:15 p.m. | Oxford Fall
12:30- 1:05 p.m. | Anthony Michael
1:15-1:45 p.m. | Bito Mann
2:00-2:40 p.m. | Daphne and the Mystery Machines
3:00-3:45 p.m. | Anthony Adams and the Night Owls
4:00-6:00 p.m. | The ConSoulers

In addition to Pumpkinfest, the Heritage Foundation–in conjunction with the Downtown Franklin Association–produces seven event series and festivals each year to attract visitors to downtown Franklin, and to promote the benefits of historic preservation.