You may have seen it in the news: the Foundation has partnered with like-minded organizations in the community to save the “Blue House,” often called the “Cotton Gin House” as part of a major battlefield reclamation project. This historic home, which was moved to the Cleburne Street site in the 1920s, is being slowly transported in two sections more than 40 miles from downtown Franklin to Giles County, where new homeowners Sharon and John McNeely will renovate it. The land for the seven-acre Carter’s Hill Park will be completely cleared by November 30, the 150th anniversary of the battle.
The simple post-Civil War house, which sits on the site of the Carter Cotton Gin that played such a pivotal role in the Battle of Franklin, includes all of the original trim, fireplaces, beaded board paneling and an incredible central staircase, along with several original windows and doors–but that’s just one reason why it should be preserved.
To help you better understand its historical significance, and why we have put so much effort into preserving the structure, we put together a little timeline (which we gleaned from Historian Rick Warwick) here:
- The Blue House is a veteran of moves and movers.It’s ownership dates back to a Mrs. Sykes, who owned the home during the Civil War when it stood on the corner of Columbia Avenue and Fowlkes Street.
- After the war, it was sold to Samuel Mosley, who added on to the front of the house, nearly doubling its size.
- The city of Franklin bought the house and the property from Mr. Mosley to build Franklin High School in its place, which later burned down in 1956. Mrs. Robbie Hunter bought the house from the city and had it moved to 109 Cleburne Street before the city had a chance to tear it down.
- The lot at 109 Cleburne Street also has a unique history.Long before the Blue House stood there, the lot housed the Carter Cotton Gin. During the Civil War’s Battle of Franklin, soldiers wrote about seeing the cotton gin in the midst of the fighting, noting it was a sort of epicenter for the battle.
- The city later built the original Battle Ground Academy High School on the lot where the cotton gin once stood. The school burned down in 1902, and the lot sat empty until the arrival of the Blue House in either 1925 or 1926.
- Now the Blue House is in the midst of another move, this time to Giles County. With the front part of the Blue House gone, Mr. Mosley’s addition is noticeable by the presence of Civil War era, handmade nails holding the walls together. The front of the house contains newer nails.
- The third move was prompted by plans to build a park on the site where the Battle of Franklin broke out on November 30, 1864. The park will be called Carter’s Hill Park after the Carter family who owned the property at the time.
Follow along with the Heritage Foundation on its Facebook page to see updates of the park’s development, and of the “Blue House.”