Old, Old Jail Committee Member Advocates For Preservation, Recognized Nationally

timpagliaraTim Pagliara was there when FirstBank first began talking with the Heritage Foundation about renovating and moving into the Five Points Post Office, the organization’s former headquarters. And he was also part of the team that helped brainstorm the non-profit’s next move, working within an advisory committee to navigate the Old, Old Jail project from conception and purchase to its current fundraising and renovation phases.

When asked why he commits his time, Tim says this a significant project because it’s a great example of what can be accomplished when the business world and preservation activists work together toward a common goal.

“It’s a win-win situation,” Tim explains. “A great example is the recent renovations on the post office. The city took something that was a gateway to the community, something that was wasting, and put it on the tax poll and turned it into something beautiful.“

Tim credits Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation, for getting him involved in preservation—saying it’s hard not to get caught up in her energy and vision for the future of Franklin. And as a finance person, Mary says he’s been able to provide a different perspective on how to tackle projects and project outcomes.

And Tim doesn’t just talk the talk: he’s put his money where his mouth is, backing up his advocacy with a sizable donation to the Old, Old Jail project to help revive it as the “Big House For Historic Preservation.”

Thanks to the donation, Tim receives naming rights to one of the cell, which he plans to dedicate it to Mary, complete with a plaque that reads: The only place that could contain her.

“The value in the Old, Old Jail project is it will spur more renovations like it,” Tim says. “The Old, Old Jail is in a part of town that needed a boost, and now we’ve got this project, the new Bicentennial Park and others like it.”

The businessman points to the Foundation’s mission as an important root in the community, and a vision that helps provide the quality of life that locals enjoy. He says everyone can benefit from preservation, and points to events like Pumpkinfest and Main Street Festival as examples (the latter two-day event drew 125,000 attendees to Historic Downtown Franklin).

From a financial standpoint, Tim says the Heritage Foundation is important to the community’s economic prosperity, and in turn, the community’s economy prosperity is important to the Heritage Foundation.

“It’s kind of a chicken and egg thing. We wouldn’t have the attractiveness for all these businesses to come here if it wasn’t for the charm and character of the town, and we wouldn’t have the charm and character if it wasn’t for what the Heritage Foundation has done.

“The growth in a business presence has improved the tax base and the improved quality of business has led to donations that we never would have had years ago.”

In looking to the future, Tim says there’s still a lot of work to be done. He says we need to increase the efforts of preservation to meet the growth of our community, and that Franklin has more potential to be recognized now than at any other point in our city’s history.

Preservation is a long, ongoing process that takes years and years of effort and participation from all members of the community.

“A lot of things need to come together,” says Tim. “We’re very competitive, and with the economy what it’s been in the last five and 10 years, you’ve got to be competitive. The work of preservation has been something that’s made our community unique.”

Tim is the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CapWealth Advisors. He was recently featured in a Wall Street Journal article where he discusses the importance of educating the public about U.S. economic policy and encourages people to be more engaged in politics in order to more effectively solve the problems affecting our communities. Learn more about him here.

Chairs Named For 41st Annual Heritage Ball in September 2014

Hincheyville Neighbors Represent Past, Present & Future of Black Tie Event

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Brian and Lisa Beathard

Generations of Williamson County residents have made a tradition of supporting the Heritage Ball, the community’s longest-running black tie event. Now, Brian and Lisa Beathard of the Hincheyville neighborhood in downtown Franklin have been named Chairs of the Heritage Ball, and their neighbor Marty Ligon, who launched the initiative 41 years ago, will serve as Honorary Chair.

“Historic preservation is about honoring the past as part of our present and our future,” said Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County. “This is a long-standing tradition and a principal fundraiser, so it’s exciting to see a young professional couple as Chairs who want to continue the Heritage Ball legacy that the ones who came before them brought to life.”

Brian Beathard currently serves as a County Commissioner in the 11th district. A sales executive in the transportation industry, he is a native Texan and a graduate of Baylor University. Since moving to Franklin with Lisa and their two children, Payce (9) and Ava (11), the Beathards have jumped headfirst into community service. Brian currently sits on the boards of the Heritage Foundation, Franklin Tomorrow, the Williamson County Education Foundation, the Downtown Neighborhood Association and Carnton Plantation. In addition, he serves on the County Budget Committee and the Parks and Recreation Committee, and is also a member of the Franklin Noon Rotary.

Born and raised in Nashville, Lisa Beathard is an alumnus of Brentwood Academy and Belmont University. A scholarship athlete at Belmont, she has been a Registered Nurse at St. Thomas Hospital for 18 years. She volunteers on a regular basis with Poplar Grove School, where the children attend, and has worked in support of various events for the Heritage Foundation, including the Town & Country Tour of Homes, the Main Street Brew Fest, Pumpkinfest and the Main Street Festival.

“Lisa and I fell in love with Franklin when we first met, and we knew we wanted to raise our family here and be involved with shaping the future of the community,” Brian said. “Now, almost 10 years later, we’re honored to be able to head a talented committee that orchestrates one of the most significant events of the year.”

Marty Ligon
Marty Ligon

Marty Ligon, who also lives in the Hincheyville Historic District, was the leader of a core group of people who conceived and executed the inaugural Heritage Ball 41 years ago. Back then, Carnton Plantation was home to tenant farmers, and had fallen into disrepair. During the frantic renovation in advance of the first Ball, bare wiring and other hazards were discovered, potentially heading off disaster for what has become one of the region’s most popular Civil War tourism destinations.

“Not only were we able to highlight the importance of Carnton and convince the families to allow us to borrow artifacts to decorate the house as it would have been before the Battle of Franklin, but things like Carrie McGavock’s portrait and the dining room table and many other key pieces remain in the home today,” Ligon said. “The Ball was the spark that set in motion a series of events that brings us to where we are now, which no one could have imagined back then.”

Ligon says it required a Herculean effort to pull off the inaugural event. People who were involved back then are some of the familiar faces you still see at the Heritage Ball today – people like Sandy Zeigler, Ann Herbert Floyd, Rod Heller, Danny and Teresa Anderson, and Joe and Betty Willoughby, who were named King and Queen of the Ball last year, and so many more.

“We were inspired by a cause that was important to us, and it’s a thrill to see how far everything has come today,” she said. “Sometimes people have trouble visualizing what something can be, and it’s always been a source of pride that we were able to accomplish our mission. I couldn’t be more delighted to serve as the Honorary Chair, and to share that recognition with everyone else who played a role.”

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. To learn more, visit www.historicfranklin.com or contact Torrey Barnhill at tbarnhill@historicfranklin.com.

Heritage Foundation Plots Objectives For Year; Reflects On 2013

Old Jail by Ben Johnson copy (1).jpgLast month, Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County board and staff members gathered to reflect on the year’s progress and to establish goals for 2014.

The workshop, held at Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant in Maury County, yielded a list of objectives for the organization that will shape the Foundation’s work in the coming year—one of which includes a renewed focus on a Harpeth Riverwalk installation in Historic Downtown Franklin. The group used their time in Columbia to study that city’s new downtown riverwalk, meeting with the city engineer who has spearheaded the project’s construction since 2010.

“This was a really valuable and very productive retreat, one where we were able to celebrate accomplishments and set goals for the new year,” said Mary Pearce, the Heritage Foundation’s executive director. “Facilitating an expanded riverwalk program and building a strong partnership with likeminded organizations is a top aim, and it’s something that’s been discussed in Franklin for years. We plan to lead a renewed focus on it in 2014.”

Pearce says that the Foundation has already had informal conversations with the Harpeth River Watershed Association and Franklin Tomorrow.

The Heritage Foundation—often in conjunction with its division, the Downtown Franklin Association—produces several festivals each year that support the organization’s mission. Pearce says the executive committee routinely evaluates all special events to confirm that each is truly mission-based and generating sustainable revenue.

Based on year-over-year trends, the board also discussed setting up a stronger volunteer leadership and committee system to assist staff in producing the award-winning festivals.

“We’ve continued to grow so much, and for that we are thankful. Between the Franklin Theatre, and our special events and festivals, the Foundation entertained almost a million people in 2012,” Pearce said. “We are always working to inspire the most amazing signature events possible.”

In early 2014, the Foundation will begin building teams for festival and fundraisers. Individuals interested in serving on those teams should email info@historicfranklin.com or call its office at 615-591-8500.

Perhaps the most significant project for the new year was set in motion this summer: finding a permanent home for the non-profit. With the help of FirstBank and the City of Franklin, the Foundation completed the purchase of Franklin’s ca. 1941 Art Deco-style “Old, Old Jail” building on Bridge Street—saving another endangered iconic building in Williamson County. The Foundation expects to invest approximately $1.7 million restoring the building to serve as their headquarters, and as a public resource for those interested in historic preservation.

The “Big House For Historic Preservation” will also feature a vast archive of old photographs collected by Historian Rick Warwick, who has helped countless people learn more about their family and property histories over the years. Pearce says the Foundation helps home and building owners with everything from National Register of Historic Places nominations and the Heritage Classroom program to becoming a part of Franklin’s Main Street program.

The accomplishment follows the transformative Franklin Theatre project and is an indicator of the organization’s strength and commitment to its mission.

“Over the course of 45 years, with the support of the community and the hard work of a dedicated staff and countless volunteers, the Heritage Foundation has helped drive a renaissance in Franklin,” said Cyril Stewart, Heritage Foundation board president. “What used to be a best-kept secret with empty stores and tremendous potential has now become a nationally celebrated destination for heritage tourism, and one of the best places to live in the country. The Foundation is proud of its past, present and future leadership role in Franklin’s progress.

“As we approach our first 50 years of service, our challenge now is to envision what challenges, opportunities and accomplishments the next 50 years will see.”

Since 1968, 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. 


Early 1900s House to be Moved From Site of Future Carter Cotton Gin Park

Blue House

The Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County is presenting a rare opportunity to buy a well-kept historic home with a great story for less than $10,000. The catch: the buyer must relocate the home to a suitable property in Williamson County.

The story-and-a-half home, built near the turn of the 20th century on the site of the former Franklin High School on Columbia Avenue, was moved across the street in the 1920s to this location to make way for the new high school. 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. The Foundation is offering it for $7,500, and will advise a qualified buyer on the relocation process.

“This is a historic home that has a lot of history, and we want it to remain a part of Franklin’s story,” said Heritage Foundation Executive Director Mary Pearce. “For the right person, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase a historic house for next to nothing. We’ve been involved in moving nearly a dozen old homes; it is hard, tedious work and can be expensive, but it’s a labor of love. It is the road of last resort to save a house from demolition.”

The house is thought to have been built by Dr. Samuel Henderson Jr., who lived there until his death. Henderson’s heirs sold it to the City of Franklin when the site was chosen for Franklin High School in the mid 1920s, and the City offered this house and the house next door to purchase and move.

It is believed that Mrs. Robbie Hunter, who owned the Carter House at the time, is the one who relocated this house to a vacant lot on Cleburne Street, where it sits today. The current location of the second house is unknown.  Mrs. Hunter rented the home out until her death in 1946, at which point it was inherited by her brother, Bennett Hunter, who then sold the house at auction. For years the Sawyer family lived there, and it was later owned and rented out by Heritage Foundation founding member Roy Barker. The Heritage Foundation purchased the property for $162,000 in 1997. Local realtor Danny Anderson handled the transaction at no cost, and then-Heritage Foundation President Julian Bibb was the pro bono attorney. The organization put $32,000 cash down, and the property owner, Mr. Barker, carried the financing.

“The Heritage Foundation purchased this property hoping that one day we might be able to reclaim more of the property that was at the epicenter center of the Battle of Franklin,” Pearce said. “Now that the Carter Cotton Gin Park is becoming a reality, this home needs to be moved to interpret what happened on this site that means so much to Civil War history. This house has already been moved once, but we can never change the location of this sacred ground.”

Plans call for the house to be moved off the property by March of 2014. Interested parties should contact Pearce at the Heritage Foundation at 615-591-8500 x15.

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