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


Under Lock & Key: Old, Old Jail’s Key Club

Ground has been moving at a fast pace at our Old, Old Jail project–and everyone is taking notice! At the Heritage Foundation, we’re getting more and more excited as the days pass… which is why we’re rolling out a new initiative called The Key Club!

Similar to when we sold seats during The Franklin Theatre’s renovation, the organization is providing replicas of a 1940s jail key for those who donate $1,000 to the future “Big House For Historic Preservation.”

In addition to receiving a numbered, one-of-a-kind key–designed by Foundation member Brian Laster–a sign will also be placed at the Old, Old Jail to recognize the Key Club donors.

The $1,000 gift may be paid in installments over two years. To purchase a key and support the Old, Old Jail rehabilitation, call Executive Director Mary Pearce at 615-591-8500 ext. 15 or email Linda Childs here.

When restored, the ca. 1941 Old, Old Jail will act as the Heritage Foundation’s first permanent home and serve as a resource to the community. To learn how, visit the Old, Old Jail webpage here.

Key Club

Preservation Award Nominations: Deadline Extended!

The Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County has extended the nomination deadline for its 48th Annual Preservation Awards, which serve to celebrate outstanding historic preservation projects in the community, to Friday, April 10. To receive a form, contact Heritage Foundation’s Linda Childs at 615-591-8500 ext. 16. The document can also be downloaded HERE: 2015 Preservation Awards Application.

The awards recognize the vision of those who help the Foundation protect and preserve historic structures. They include both residential and commercial rehabilitations, as well as new construction projects, that complement the character of Williamson County.

Winners are announced each May at the nonprofit’s yearly member meeting, which falls during National Historic Preservation Month. 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.

“We are extremely proud of the property owners who have saved jewels of this community, and eagerly anticipate recognizing their efforts each year,” said Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation. “Historic preservation, done the right way, is part of what makes Williamson County so unique. These owners’ visions have helped the Foundation protect and preserve additional pieces of our heritage.”

Taking home the top honors of 2014 were GRAY’S on Main and the Harris-McEwen Home, downtown Franklin properties that nabbed the Overall Winner awards for commercial and residential rehabilitation, respectively. In addition to the two grand Preservation Award prizes, the Heritage Foundation recognized 21 separate projects at last year’s banquet that demonstrated the value of preservation.

Properties may be nominated by outside parties, or submitted by owners. 2015 awards categories will be determined once the nominations have been received and reviewed.

The Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County is a non-profit 501(c)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.


Harris-McEwen Home

People Who Make An Impact: Meet Lynne McAlister (Q+A)

Lynne McAlisterAs the newest member of the Heritage Foundation team, Lynne McAlister is a “born and bred” Franklinite who recently moved back from London–and currently lives in Historic Downtown Franklin.

She’ll be heading up the Special Events here at the Foundation–which includes the Heritage Ball, the community’s longest-running black tie event. Below, we’ve put together a short Q&A, so that you can get to know Lynne a bit better!

Q: Tell us a little about what you’re doing for the Heritage Foundation?

A:  I’m planning the Heritage Ball, which means I am meeting generous sponsors and gathering loads of talented, enthusiastic and creative people. Together we’re imagining a beautiful and profitable night to remember.

Q: Why did you want to work with the Foundation?

A: It’s an absolute thrill to see the way that visionaries and the Heritage Foundation have worked to keep the best of the past and simultaneously nurturing a vibrant future. I want to be a part of that!

Q: What is your favorite part about the job, so far? 

A: Meeting so many people that love Franklin and Williamson County as much as I do.

Q: We hear you were an “ex-pat” for a while. Where were you, and why? 

A: My husband, Tony, and I have lived in London twice for a total of about 10 years. We moved back home last year. Why did we live there? The real answer is that we lived there because we adored it. Though it was his career that afforded us that opportunity, most corporate ex-pats make the move because they are looking for a safe adventure. That was true for us too.

Q: Did you enjoy the experience? 

A:  Oh yeah! It was an absolute delight! I loved making dear friends with people that come from varied backgrounds. I treasured the people, the culture, the parks, the diversity of a world city, the museums, the theatre, the architecture, the restaurants, especially the restaurants.

Q: What is one take-away from living abroad for several years? 

A:  Well I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but, living in a city that dates from pre-Roman times and traveling extensively through Europe lighted a passion for “saving the places that matter”.

It dawned on me one day that it’s up to all of us to be preservationist when I was wandering through Hampstead, a fetching little village just north of London, and spoke with a lady who was sweeping the stoop of her 17th century terraced house. I commented on how beautiful her home was. She said, “We are so happy that we get to be a part of this house’s life. Its story began long before us and will continue after we’re gone. I’m grateful I get to take care of it for a little while.” Yeah – what she said!

Q: We know you were involved with non-profits in London. Talk to us about that… 

A:  Indeed.  I was the President of the American Women’s Club of London.  This is a 116-year-old, very active organization (35-40 activities a month) of approximately 400 expat women.  It’s both social and philanthropic.   I also served on the board for the Federation of International Women’s Association of London which attempts to build bridges among various cultures by working together on humanitarian projects.  Lastly, I was involved with Federation of Women’s Clubs Overseas which lobbies Congress on behalf of expats.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about Franklin/Williamson County?

A:  I love that we having rolling hills with robust farms and an enviable downtown.  I love all the fresh array of friendly new faces that have sought Franklin out as a place to build their lives.  And I love that there are still folks around that knew my parents since they were kids.

Q: If you were stranded on a desert island, what are four things you’d have to take with you? 

A:  Humm….. Okay this may be cheating a bit but …a Bible, a hammock, pens and paper, magically transported cappuccinos from Frothy Monkey.


The best way to get to know Lynne is to meet her in person! Come by the Foundation offices on Second Avenue North, or email her here.


Three Blind Vines pours wine, helps restore Old Old Jail

This article appeared in The Tennessean on March 17, 2015

Bring your own wine to this fundraiser — three bottles of it.

The third annual Three Blind Vines invites wine lovers to sip and vote for their favorite bottle of wine to fund the restoration of the Old Old Jail.

In this black and white event, attendees in teams of one to three will bring three bottles of the same wine. Two will be disguised, numbered and set out for tasting, while the third will remain unopened as part of the grand prize.

Guests also can taste food from local restaurants and hear live music from Art Four Sale and Electric Time Machine.

Proceeds from the event, presented by Next Generation Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County, will restore the vacant jail, built around 1941, to become The Big House for Historic Preservation.

The event kicks off at 6:30 p.m. March 27 at Liberty Hall at The Factory, 230 Franklin Road. Tickets are $45, $100 for VIP. Details: