The Old Gym Is Getting New Life In An Unexpected Way

A relic of the former Franklin High School–also known as The Old Gym–is getting new life in an unexpected way!

The Heritage Foundation is proud to reveal that another part of “Vintage Franklin” will be incorporated into Old, Old Jail renovations: later this month Rock City Construction Co. will be repurposing the windows from the Old Gym, and placing them at our soon-to-be headquarters.

Located off Columbia Avenue, the building has been standing in horrible disrepair since the fire that destroyed Franklin High School in January 1956. A local nonprofit is prepping to tear down the gym in the coming months, with plan to restore the property as part of the Carter Hill Battlefield Park — but we wanted to be sure to save a part of it, before that happens!

Removing and restoring these windows to use in the Old, Old Jail is not only a continuing of the Heritage Foundation’s commitments to all types of preservation, but it is also a long awaited task that both Mary Pearce and Fred Reynolds of Rock City are excited to accomplish. This feature will not only bring another charming element to the building, but will also encourage that hip, vintage feel that the Foundation is wanting in the future “Big House for Historic Preservation!”

For more information about the Old, Old Jail or the project, call Executive Director Mary Pearce at 615-591-8500.


Old, Old Jail
Photo by Franklin Home Page

Foundation Adds Abby Williams To Team

Abby WilliamsAs our festivals and events in downtown Franklin street continue to grow, so does the Heritage Foundation: last month, we added Abby Williams to the team — a new staff member who will work closely with the festival director on the annual events, as well as help manage our various social media channels and website.

A Franklin resident who’s lived in the community for nearly 10 years, Abby interned with the Heritage Foundation back in 2012. She graduated from MTSU in 2013 with a Bachelors of Science in Communication, with focuses in advertising and leadership management. Post college, Abby continued to work with the Foundation as an active volunteer.

Thanks to her unique experience with our organization, Abby has been able to jump straight into the fray — and is loving it.

“I’ve never felt more honored to work for such an amazing nonprofit organization,” Abby says. “The community of Franklin is truly a remarkable place and we are excited to take our street festivals to the next level of excitement in the upcoming year!”

To congratulation Abby on her new position, email Abby at or call her at 615.591.8500 ext. 17.

Cathi and Coleman Aycock Cast Vision for Heritage Ball, September 19th

Cathi and Coleman Aycock

Much about the Heritage Ball has changed over the last four decades, but the mission of the seasoned tradition remains the same. Members of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County are every bit as focused on the importance of historic preservation here as they were in 1972.

This year, Coleman and Cathi Aycock of Franklin have been chosen to cast their vision and lead planning for Williamson County’s longest-running black tie event, to be held Saturday, Sept. 19th, 2015.

“We are honored to continue the Ball legacy that the ones who came before us brought to life,” Cathi Aycock said. “Living in Franklin for the past 26 years has given our family a greater appreciation for what this event represents. Franklin is a place that values, protects and preserves our cultural resources — but if it weren’t for the Heritage Foundation’s work, our community would not be the same shining jewel it is today.”

Coleman Aycock has been a commercial real estate broker for 30 years, currently specializing in Williamson County property with Urban Grout Commercial Real Estate. He has served as past president of SIOR for Middle and East Tennessee. Coleman is a past board member of the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce, former chairman of the advisory council for The Salvation Army, served on the board of the Williamson County Transportation Association and was a past ambassador on the Diversity Council.

Born and raised in Middle Tennessee, Cathi Aycock was a stay-at-home mom for several years before returning to the workplace to create a popular lifestyle brand as part of her role as the style columnist at The Tennessean.

Now, she acts as the director of marketing and communications at Homestead Manor in Thompson’s Station — A. Marshall Family Foods Inc.’s latest multi-layer hospitality concept that includes Harvest, a rustic Tuscany-inspired restaurant and bar slated to open in June. In addition, the Homestead property will house an on-site organic farm and orchard, a rustic event barn, a farmer’s market and more.

In recent years, Cathi has worked with organizations such as Mercy Community Healthcare, Friends of Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, Second Harvest Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity, and has volunteered in support of various events for the Heritage Foundation.

Together, the Aycocks have two children, Cole (21) and Claire (19), both of whom attend the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

“When we moved to Williamson County on our first wedding anniversary, we planned on staying a year or so, then moving on back to Nashville,” Cathi said. “But we fell in love with the people and the sense of place here. Fast forward over two decades, and we now hope to celebrate every wedding anniversary, through our 50th and beyond, in this amazing community.”

Though she brings many years of experience in marketing and event production to the table, Cathi says she really hopes to draw on her own first experience at the Heritage Ball for inspiration on the event she’s now chairing, two decades later.

“Coleman and I attended as young newlyweds, me in a borrowed gown. I fell in love with the glamour of the event and the people who were so passionate about the Foundation’s vision,” she said. “I hope to recreate that magical feeling within guests at the 42nd Annual Heritage Ball, with newly conceived ideas and modern touches.”

The 42nd Annual Heritage Ball will be held September 19th at the Eastern Flank Battlefield Park. To pre-purchase tickets or learn more, email Lynne McAlister at

Heritage Foundation’s 2015 Annual Meeting: Winners & Economic Impact

This story was written by Emily West for the Franklin Home Page

Supporters of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County packed the lower section of the Franklin Theatre to recognize board members and landmarks that garnered historical preservation.

The Historic Five Points Post Office/First Bank became the overall winner of the foundation’s 48th annual award ceremony Tuesday evening. The structure will receive a bronze plaque on the outside of the building to credit its win.

“What they did was turn it into one of the first-class projects of Franklin,” said Dan Brown, a member of the Tennessee Historic Commission. “They did this all while keeping the use of the space.”

The bank invested $3 million into the renovation of the building, which returned the outside façade to its original look.

Julian Bibb, co-founder of Franklin’s Charge, helped announce the award ceremony along with foundation executive director Mary Pearce. The two put on the entire show, with a full presentation of how the foundation has affected the city.

Pearce explained the past year has been positive, with the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin and starting the restoration project for the Old, Old Jail on Bridge Street.

Jail reconstruction, which will become the new home for the Heritage Foundation, has also received a substantial amount of funding for its effort. So far, $1.6 million has been raised with only $500,000 remaining to reach the ultimate goal.

In addition to fixing the structure, Pearce explained the space will now have a large parking lot for a lawn chair theatre and food trucks. Organizers said the project will reach completion by the end of 2015.

“We hope this is a treasure,” Pearce said.

The economic impact for the foundation’s four events – Brewfest, Main Street, Pumpkin Fest and Dickens of a Christmas – totaled out at $2,839,875 in 2014.

A saved relic, the Franklin Theatre, sold 70,000 tickets with a $3.5 million impact for Franklin.

“We all get to enjoy it,” Bibb said. “It’s a remarkable facility. What probably goes less noticed is how much other communities notice us.”

The crowd stood in the theatre as the duo on stage talked about the efforts for the Carter House Cotton Gin, which was recently unearthed in an archeological dig last week.

Bibb and Pearce recognized Donnie Cameron, who previously owned the property, for his patience in waiting for preservationist groups to purchase the land.

“This was one of the lynch pins of that success and was one those waited a long time to see,” Bibb said.

Other awards

In addition to the overall award, the foundation also awarded other locations – commercial and residential – for their efforts throughout the year.

Infill Residential

Moses Residence
Submitted by Burt & Beth Moses (Award of Merit, Infill Residential) 
1007 West Main

Hard Bargain Carol Wall’s new home
Submitted by Carolyn Wall, Brant Bousquet, & David Crane of Crane Builders (Award of Merit, Infill Residential) 
361 9th Avenue North

Historic Residential

Wells Residence
Submitted by Jan & Mary Wells (Award of Merit, Historic Residential) 
221 Lewisburg Ave.

Friesisnger Residence
Submitted by Dr. Friesinger and Michael Lee Restoration (Award of Merit, Historic Residential)
215 Fifth Avenue South

Historic Commercial

Circa Restaurant
Submitted by Jason Ritzen & Robynne Napier (Award of Merit, Historic Commercial)
1549 Thompson Station Road West

Juice Bar
Submitted by Jason Collins (Award of Merit, Historic Commercial) 
232 Fifth Avenue South

O’More College of Design’s Farrar Fleming Hall
Submitted by the O’More School of Interior Design (Award of Merit, Historic Commercial)
232 South Margin Street

Historic Franklin Presbyterian Church
Submitted by Mike Ensch, Christi Ensch, Lillian & Bo Stuart, Hugh & Janet Tharpe (Award of Merit, Historic Commercial) 
Fifth and Main Street

Historic Five Points Post Office
Submitted by FirstBank (Overall Winner)
510 Columbia Avenue

Community Enhancements

Old Natchez Trace
Submitted by Superindent Eddie Hood  & Collier Engineering  (Award of Merit, Community Enhancement)
1801 Old Natchez Trace

Cannons the Square
Submitted by Dr. Sam Gant, Sam Huffman, Sam Whitson, Pam Lewis and Mike Skinner (Award of Merit, Community Enhancement)
Main Street and Third Avenue

Special Merit

Cotton Gin House

New board members

The Heritage Foundation also voted in its new members that will now serve of the board. Outgoing members were Connie Haley, Ann Johnson, William Powell, Bob Roethemeyer and Rudy Jordan.

• Danny Anderson, Realtor, managing broker at Parks on Main.
• David Garrett, partner at Cheatham and Palermo and Garrett.
• Kay Heller, long time preservationist, owner of Rare Prints Gallery.
• Pam Lewis, CEO of PLA Media.
• Nancy Smith, entrepreneur, community volunteer, committed to brownstone project.

FirstBank, Five Points Post Office gains overall 2015 award from foundation

by Jill Cowan, for the Tennessean // May 19, 2015

FirstBank - 1


Franklin preservationists applauded their neighbors Tuesday evening at an annual awards ceremony aimed at recognizing property owners who have helped keep the city’s historic feel intact.

This year, the $3 million restoration of downtown Franklin’s Five Points Post Office building took home the ceremony’s top honor.

The event at the Franklin Theatre also served as the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County’s 48th yearly membership meeting, where a slate of new board members were chosen.

Dan Brown, a local government coordinator with the Tennessee Historical Commission, judged the preservation awards contest.

He said the post office project managed to completely rehabilitate the nondescript structure while allowing the building’s original use to continue.

“It’s really rare to keep the historic function,” Brown said.

Foundation leaders also highlighted the economic benefit that they said stems from projects in the downtown area, which has been majorly revitalized over the last few decades.

Brown said that as someone who works around the state, he has seen Franklin become “one of the premier preservation communities in the United States.”

Mary Pearce, the foundation’s executive director, estimated that the slew of events and attractions the organization helps stage bring in half a million visitors each year.

According to a presentation by Pearce and foundation president Julian Bibb, more than 70,000 tickets were sold to events at the Franklin Theatre in 2014. The theatre’s high-profile historic renovation helped its annual economic impact reach about $3.5 million.

While Pearce said she expected the restoration of the city’s “old, old jail” — which the foundation will use as its new headquarters — to be complete by the end of the year, she and Bibb said they still hoped to raise $500,000 more for the project.

So far, donors have contributed $1.6 million.

Other projects that were recognized included:

The construction of an affordable home in Franklin’s Hard Bargain neighborhood. Brown said affordable housing that meets historic design guidelines is almost unheard of.

To read the rest of this article, go to The Tennessean here.

40th Annual Heritage Tour: Experience History Behind the Door (June 6-7)


Each summer, members and supporters of the Heritage Foundation open their homes and businesses as part of the Heritage Tour, showcasing the community’s dedication to protecting those resources as part of our legacy.

Now in its 40th year, the Tour will invite the public inside historic residences, commercial structures and notable examples of sensitive infill within historic districts on Saturday and Sunday, June 6th and 7th, 2015. The event acts as a fundraiser for our non-profit preservation organization, and underscores the importance of protecting the architectural and cultural heritage of Williamson County. BUY YOUR TICKET HERE!

J. Edward and Brenda Campbell, a husband-wife team of real estate brokers in Franklin, have been named as chairs for the 2015 event. They say the benefit’s theme this year is “Experience History Beyond the Door,” and will expand past personal homes into historic sites that also have rich stories to tell.

“All of these buildings are within historic environments, and hold special significance to the Foundation and its efforts,” said J. Edward. “By purchasing a ticket, participants are given a first-hand look at why the organization works so tirelessly to preserve our cultural inheritance. This tour acts as an educational vehicle for both the public and the Foundation.”

This year’s event features 10 properties, including six personal homes. Tour destinations–several of which are located in Historic Downtown Franklin, within walking distance of each other–include:

  • The Masonic Lodge-Hiram Lodge #7, circa 1823-1826, was the barracks for the Union soldiers during wartime occupation.

  • FirstBank at Five Points (ca. 1924) is a stunning example of an early commercial building that has served for decades as downtown Franklin’s post office, and recently underwent a complete renovation.

  • The Historic Franklin Presbyterian Church is a Romanesque Revival structure built in 1888 that stands as the third house of worship to be established in downtown Franklin.

  • The Hicks-Friesinger House on 5th Avenue South is a ca. 1878 home renovated in 2015.

  • The Turley-Marshall House on West Main Street is a ca. 1880 home that once resembled Italianate style and now stands as an English Tudor.

  • The Smith-Hardcastle House (ca. 1893) on Fair Street is a beautifully restored two-storey Victorian home.

  • The Ross House on Lewisburg Avenue was built in 2010 in a way that seamlessly blends old with new, and offers a breath of fresh Cape Cod air in Franklin.

  • The Breezeway at The John Herbert House (ca. 1830) on Clovercroft Road is the oldest double-pen dogtrot log house in Williamson County.

  • The Ogilvie Place-Beech Hill Farm, built in 1796 in College Grove, showcases an original log cabin with additions in an early-American style that has been “home” to six generations of Ogilvies.

  • The historic Rest Haven Cemetery on Fourth Avenue North will feature a costumed re-enactor portraying John McEwen, the Civil War-era mayor of Franklin.

The 40th Annual Heritage Tour is presented by Synergy Realty Network and Homeland Title. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door, and are good for the weekend of June 6th and 7th. Tour hours are generally 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with special hours for Rest Haven Cemetery and Historic First Presbyterian Church.

To learn more about the Tour or to purchase tickets, please go here.

Producing the Tour 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.


2015 Annual Meeting and Preservation Awards

Each May, the Heritage Foundation hosts an annual meeting and preservation awards ceremony to recap the past year’s projects and celebrate outstanding historic preservation work in Williamson County.

The 48th Annual Preservation Awards ceremony will be held on May 19, 2015 at the Franklin Theatre, and will commemorate nearly half a century of preservation work. The reception will kick off at 5:30 with light bites and beverages, with a program following soon after.

The annual event, which falls during National Historic Preservation Month, will recognize property owners whose visions have helped the Foundation protect and preserve historic structures. They include both residential and commercial rehabilitations, as well as new construction projects that complement the historic character of the community.

Plus, new board members for both the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County and the Downtown Franklin Association will be recognized. For more information on the event, call the Foundation office at 615-591-8500.


Campbells Asked to Lead 40th Annual Heritage Tour

J. Edward &  Brenda CampbellA Franklin couple known for their involvement in community and preservation efforts has been named chairs of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County’s 40th Annual Heritage Foundation Tour, to be held June 6th and 7th, 2015.

Edward and Brenda Campbell have been tapped to lead the event—a fundraiser for the non-profit that re-emphasizes the importance of protecting the architectural and cultural heritage of Williamson County.

Each summer, members and advocates of the preservation society open their personal properties, all of which encompass the community’s dedication to protecting those resources as part of our community’s legacy.

“I’m so appreciative that Franklin is a blend of people who not only look to the future to grow, but also to preserve its past,” said Brenda Campbell. “Neither of us has a problem with shouting out about how great it is, and we believe that the Heritage Foundation is a big reason why it is such a vibrant and well-preserved community.”

The Campbells have been a husband-wife team of real estate brokers in Franklin since 2004, helping clients buy and sell residential properties all over Middle Tennessee. Today they work with Synergy Realty Network and are familiar faces to many through their community involvement.

Together, the pair has served as house chairs for the Tour, volunteered at various street festivals produced by the Foundation, and as Franklin Theatre ushers. They have also been vocal proponents and active volunteers for the Franklin Art Scene since its launch. They are active members of the First Presbyterian Church in Franklin.

Separately, the duo’s contributions are likewise manifold: J. Edward has served on the board of the Williamson County Association of Realtors (WCAR) and currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Housing Commission for the City of Franklin, the board of Franklin Tomorrow, the Advisory Board of the Pastoral Counselling Center of Williamson County and the Advisory Board of the Franklin Housing Authority and is a graduate of the 2013-14 class of Leadership Franklin.

Brenda, who served as a past president of both the WCAR and the Women’s Council of Realtors in Williamson County, is a graduate of the Franklin Citizen’s Government Academy and the Franklin Citizen’s Police Academy.

Since the two married a decade ago, the Campbells have committed to using their time to a wide-ranging set of local volunteer efforts.

Edward said it’s that team mentality that drives them to lend their support to different projects, and that the pair will use their professional experience to tie the architectural and historical elements together for Tour guests.

“Community involvement was always on our bucket lists, an area we wanted to be more active in,” he said. “This opportunity allows us to combine our passion for preservation and love of homes together for a greater cause.”

Now in its 40th year, the Tour invites the public inside historic homes, buildings and notable examples of sensitive infill within historic districts. Event organizer Kristy Williams says the benefit’s theme this year is Experience History Beyond the Door.

Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door, and are good for the weekend of June 6th and 7th. To learn more about the Tour or to purchase tickets, please go here.

Producing the Tour 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.

Domino’s Pizza to be Removed, Reclamation Will Become Part of 20-Acre Downtown Park

Old Dominos building

A decade-long effort that began with the demolition of a Pizza Hut on the east side of Columbia Avenue in downtown Franklin is culminating in the removal of a former Domino’s Pizza building next week. Now the public is being invited to celebrate the reclamation with one last slice of pizza.

Parcel by parcel, preservationists in partnership with the City of Franklin have purchased and cleared seven tracts that comprise core battlefield, where the Carter Cotton Gin stood during the Battle of Franklin. On the other side of Columbia Avenue, final fundraising efforts are underway to secure approximately three acres adjacent to the Carter House. All told, Carter Hill Battlefield Park will comprise 20 acres, within walking distance of downtown Franklin.

Next Wednesday, April 22 at 11 a.m., supporters will gather to witness the start of demolition on the old Domino’s building, and reflect on the unprecedented success in battlefield reclamation that has occurred in Franklin.

John Schroer, Commissioner, Tennessee Dept. of Transportation
Dr. Ken Moore, Mayor, City of Franklin
Dr. Caroll Van West, Tennessee State Historian
Patrick McIntyre, Director, Tennessee Historical Commission
Mike Grainger, Chairman, Civil War Trust
Other special guests

A ceremony recognizing the reclamation of seven parcels of core battlefield property on the east side of Columbia Avenue that will become part of the 20-acre Carter Hill Battlefield Park. A backhoe will begin the demolition of the old Domino’s Pizza building, and the public is invited to enjoy one last slice of pizza on the site.

Wednesday, April 22, 11 a.m.

1225 Columbia Avenue, Franklin, TN 37064

The effort to reclaim the Franklin battlefield started in 2005, and has since gained national recognition for its unprecedented success.  

To learn more, visit


2015 Main Street Festival Returns in Full Force!

The Heritage Foundation is pleased to announce Xfinity as the title sponsor of Main Street Festival 2015. Scheduled for April 25-26, the Xfinity Main Street Festival is downtown Franklin’s premier celebration of spring, closing Main Street to traffic from First to Fifth Avenues for a full weekend of arts and crafts, music and dance, children’s activities, food and fun. Xfinity Main Street Festival will run from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. on Saturday, April 25, and from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 26.  Admission is free.

“We are thrilled to welcome Xfinity as the title sponsor of this year’s event,” said Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson Co.  “This is a relationship that has been developing for a while, and we are so happy that it has culminated in this title sponsorship. Franklin’s reputation as a destination to shop, eat and play is a natural fit with Xfinity’s entertainment brand.  With their support we are able to offer an even better lineup of entertainment for the whole family at the Xfinity Main Street Festival.”

“We are proud to be the title sponsor for the 32nd annual Main Street Festival in Franklin,” said Sara Jo Walker, Director of Public Relations for Comcast. “Comcast has been dedicated to investing in technology infrastructure in Franklin and Williamson County for many years, but this sponsorship underscores our ongoing commitment to the community as well.”

The centerpiece of Xfinity Main Street Festival is a juried arts and crafts show featuring some 200 vendors with original and hand crafted wares. Original paintings, pottery, jewelry, furniture, woodworking, ornamental iron, stained glass, photography, home and garden accents, leatherwork, and much more will be showcased on Main Street from First to Fifth Avenues. Arts and crafts will be on display from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Saturday, and again from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Sunday

Free entertainment will be offered continuously on two stages. The Xfinity Stage on the Public Square will feature local bands playing a variety of genres: Indie, Country, Rock, Bluegrass, Gospel and more. Eric Heatherly and his “Goats of Kudzu” will headline a Saturday night street dance on the Public Square from 8:30 – 10 p.m. The Heritage Stage located on Fourth Avenue North will feature a variety of local dance groups, including the Ann Carroll School of Dance, Tommy Jackson’s Rocky Top Revue and the Nashville Ballet.

A beer tent on Fourth Avenue South will feature pub-style entertainment such as karaoke and corn hole. A kids’ zone on Third Avenue South will offer a variety of inflatables, train and pony rides, a petting zoo, bungee jump and other activities for a small fee.

Returning this year is the very popular carnival component, located this year on Second Ave. N., on the Harpeth Square development site. Carnival activities kick off at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

Off-site parking and shuttle bus service will be available at The People’s Church on Hwy. 96 and Harlinsdale Farm on Franklin Road on both Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday, off-site parking will be available only at Harlinsdale Farm.  Shuttle service to downtown Franklin will be available for $1 per person per ride. Food, beverage, pets and non-folding strollers are not permitted on the trolleys.

For more information and a complete line up of entertainers, visit