Why We Preserve

What do you love most about Franklin and Williamson County? Our charming downtown? Rolling pastures and scenic green space? Historic homes and buildings

Street festivals and community events? These are just a few of the things that make Franklin and Williamson County such a great place to live, and they didn’t happen by accident. Chances are good the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County played a role in creating many of things you love most about the place you call home.  We are the only nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the architectural, geographical and cultural resources across all of Williamson County, and our work is integral to the quality of life in our special corner of the world.  We preserve because historic preservation enhances our quality of life.


How We Preserve

The Heritage Foundation works in three main areas:  Public Preservation, Private Preservation, and the Franklin Main Street Program.

Public Preservation

Public preservation projects are those that require interaction with government. Some examples of public preservation projects include maintaining an accurate inventory of historic sites in Franklin and Williamson County; advocating for Streetscape; participating in the Historic Preservation Plan for Franklin; serving on the City of Franklin’s Historic Zoning Commission; and listing properties on the National Register of Historic Places.  We advocated for the post office, courthouse and libraries to remain in downtown.

Private Preservation

Private preservation projects are those that do not require interaction with government. Examples include purchasing and restoring the Franklin Theatre; purchasing Roper’s Knob, a signal post during the Civil War; purchasing land on the site of the Carter Cotton gin; maintaining the Historic Marker Program; conducting the Heritage Classroom Program; and maintaining a partnership with the Land Trust for Tennessee. With our historian, Rick Warwick, we help individuals research and preserve their family history.  We work closely with other historic preservation organizations such as Franklin’s Charge, the African-American Heritage Society, and Franklin Tomorrow.

Franklin Main Street Program

Franklin’s historic downtown is a rich resource and we proudly produce and promote community events that show it at its very best, including Three Blind Vines, Main Street Brew Fest, Main Street Festival, Pumpkinfest, Dickens of a Christmas, and the monthly Art Scene.  We administer Franklin’s participation in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street program, and we manage the downtown merchant’s group, Downtown Franklin Association.

Downtown Franklin - Main Street


What We Preserve

Historic homes and buildings  

In its nearly 50-year history the Heritage Foundation has helped save some 40 properties with compelling stories, including Carnton Plantation, the Franklin Theatre, Lotz House, and the Old Dan German Hospital.  Many of these historic treasures would be gone forever without the intervention of the Heritage Foundation.

Rolling pastures and scenic green space  

The Heritage Foundation advises and consults with property owners who are considering placing conservation easements on their property to forever protect it from development.  More than 10,000 acres in Williamson County, including 67 acres on Roper’s Knob, have been placed under conservation easement with the help of the Heritage Foundation.  The preservation of Harlinsdale Farm is one recent priority.

A tangible connection to history

The Heritage Foundation has been a leader in reclaiming the battlefield of the Battle of Franklin.  The Carter Cotton Gin Park is one piece of an ongoing effort to remove inappropriate development from battlefield land.

Carnton Plantation by Elizabeth Looney

For a list of properties the Heritage Foundation has been instrumental in saving, click here.