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.


39th Annual Tour of Homes: One Of The Best Yet!

Eleven local property owners opened their doors to host the Town & Country Tour of Homes, June 7-8, 2014, and more than 1,100 people turned out for the 39th annual event, which benefits the Heritage Foundation!

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin, the Foundation’s tour featured homes and buildings standing on that fateful day, and placed a special emphasis on the Civil War tales surrounding the respective properties. As a new feature, the event also included costumed re-enactors and period demostrations at many of the sites. Trained volunteers were stationed throughout the properties to relate stories of the respective homes or businesses from the perspectives of the people in the midst of the fray. Some of the sites hosted live music and refreshments, too!

The Foundation is thrilled that so many individuals turned out to support the organization and to view the community’s preservation work. We look forward to its four decade celebration in 2015! Learn more about this year’s tour here.


Preservation & People Report: Mel & Cheryl Thompson

harris-mcewen-houseThe ca. 1830 Harris-McEwen House was home to Franklin’s Civil War-era Mayor John McEwen, who helplessly surrendered the town to the Union Army in 1862. The first part of the home was built in 1830 by Kerry Harris—a one story home facing Fifth Avenue. In 1849-1850 John McEwen purchased the home and added a large addition. Here’s the story of how one local couple took the home back to its original structure…

It was during the Heritage Foundation’s 2009 Town & Country Tour of Homes that Mel Thompson overheard someone say that the historic McEwen home had been confiscated by the bank, and was for sale.

Now, just five years later, Mel and Cheryl Thompson own that same home–the one named the 2014 Overall Winner (Residential) in the Foundation’s annual Preservation Awards banquet on May, 2014.

The Harris-McEwen House, which serves as a monument to preservation in the context of residential restoration, is also one of the highlights of the 39th Annual Town & Country Tour of Homes, June 7-8.

“My wife and I had always admired the home, so as soon as I heard there was a possibility it was for sale I looked into it right away!” Thompson said. “I did some research, got in contact with the bank and a week later we bought the house.”

The couple immediately began renovating the bones of the structure, restoring it to its former glory. The process was a labor of love: it took over three years to complete, with the Thompsons taking it back to its original structure.

Mel says the home’s heritage became a hobby for the couple, as he began researching the historical architecture. He became fascinated with the process, and was adamant about terminating the additions that had been added to the house after 1867, and restoring rooms to their originals sizes and functions. He also paid close attention to detail in order to maintain the beautiful slate roof, as well as duplicate the original trim, molding and flooring of the building.

Dan Brown, a certified local government coordinator with the Tennessee Historical Commission who judged the 2014 Preservation Awards, gushed about the Thompsons work on the home

“This is a truly outstanding project,” he said at the awards ceremony. “On par with preservation work seen in Charleston and New Orleans. It’s exceptional.”

But paying homage to the past doesn’t stop at the door: the home also nods to its lineage through its exquisite interior décor. The Thompsons say nearly 90 percent of its furnishings are antiques, ranging from the 1780’s up to the early 1900’s.

Mel notes the light fixtures, which originated in the late 1800’s, to the design of the drapes in the living room and the upholstered fabric covering the furniture—all have a back-story. Even the rugs date back to the 1800’s.

When asked about one of his favorite features, Mel references the ceiling. During an 1867 renovation, an Italian artist was commissioned to paint it with medallions—a feature which today remain in tact, and will be a highlight for those guests on the Tour of Homes.

As for their participation in the annual fundraiser, Mel says he’s looking forward to being a stop on the circuit.

“We are excited to be able to share a part of Franklin’s past with the community,” he said.

To read about Mel Thompson and his Towne Creek Realty business in our “Faces of Franklin” series here.


McNeelys Named Chairs for Tours of Home

A downtown Franklin couple who has been involved in the preservation of a number of National Register homes has been named chairs of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County’s 39th Annual Town & Country Tour of Homes, to be held June 7th and 8th.

“We share time between the mountains of North Carolina and our home on West Main Street in Franklin, and we’ve always enjoyed the romance of an old house that bends and twists,” Sharon McNeely said. “We’ve developed incredible relationships as a result of our living here and working with the Heritage Foundation and wanted to support the Tour of Homes as a spotlight on the importance of historic preservation.”

The McNeelys, who have owned three properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, live in a ca. 1888 Victorian home in Franklin’s Hincheyville Historic District that has been featured on the tour in the past. As one of the Heritage Foundation’s earliest preservation success stories, that house was moved to the current site in the late 1970s. The McNeelys are currently working with the Foundation to relocate the “Cotton Gin” house from the site of the new Carter’s Hill Battlefield Park on Columbia Avenue.

In 2005, they bought their home in downtown Franklin and became seasonal residents. They’re often seen walking around Hincheyville with their rescued greyhound, Keith, and both are avid equestrians.

“Franklin has been a special place to me for a long time, as I grew up coming here because of the horses,” Sharon said. “When I introduced John to downtown Franklin, we both decided it was time to put down roots here. We’ve been welcomed with open arms and always look forward to coming back home.”

Now in its 39th year, the Town & Country Tour of Homes invites the public inside historic homes, buildings and notable examples of sensitive infill within historic districts. This year’s event features 11 properties with a focus on antebellum structures, recognizing the Sesquicentennial of the Battle of Franklin.

Pre-1864 locations include the Harris-McEwen House (ca. 1832); The Eaton House (ca. 1816); The Old Williamson County Courthouse (ca. 1858); Landmark Booksellers (ca. 1808); The Saunders-Marshall-Wright Gardens (ca. 1805); The Masonic Lodge (ca. 1823-1826); The Harrison House (ca. 1810-1826); Laurel Hill (ca. 1854) and Rest Haven Cemetery (est. 1855). Other locations include The Roberts-Moore House (ca. 1898) and The Belle House, built in 2014 in Hincheyville by Thrive Homes. Living history presentations will enhance the experience at a number of sites.

Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door, and are good for the weekend of June 7th and 8th. Bob Parks Realty, LLC is the presenting sponsor. To learn more about the Town & Country Tour of Homes or to purchase tickets, please call the Heritage Foundation at (615) 591-8500, x18 or go here.

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.

 


TOWN & COUNTRY TOUR OF HOMES BOASTS NINE MUST-SEE PROPERTIES

Ty's HouseIn early June, local residents open their doors to host the Town & Country Tour of Homes—a fundraiser for the non-profit Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County that underscores the importance of historic preservation. This year’s 38th annual event, to be held June 1 and 2, includes nine properties that encompass the community’s dedication to protecting the architectural and cultural resources of the surrounding area.  Tickets are available through www.HistoricFranklin.com or by calling 615.591.8500, Ext. 18.

The homes and businesses on this year’s tour will showcase architectural styles of the 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as modern interpretations of Federal, Victorian and French Country-style homes in a newer neighborhood. Heritage Foundation Membership and Development Director Kristy Williams says that while everyone loves the historic homes, the new builds are always a welcome and eye-opening aspect to the tour.

“Most of our featured properties have either been exceptionally preserved or rehabilitated,” said Williams, who coordinates the event. “But we’re also featuring three contemporary homes, an always-fun addition to the tour.

“It’s a valuable component for the Heritage Foundation, because it gives homeowners a tangible look at how a new build can respect its geographical heritage. It really serves as an educational tool for the organization.”

Each of the modern homes is located in Westhaven, a community that was purposefully designed to mimic the character and charm of downtown Franklin. The trio offers a bevy of warm interior design ideas that complement the differing architectural styles.

The six additional properties on the tour represent both the “town” and “country” parts of the tour, from the historic village of Leiper’s Fork to homes just off of Franklin’s Public Square. Tour destinations include:

 

  • The ca. 1849 Pleasant View Farm—better known locally as Gentry Farm—in the countryside on Highway 96 West has been in the same family since 1849. The farm encompasses nearly 400 acres, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • In addition to the 1869 home place, the early 1800s Gentry’s Farm Log Cabin on the farm will be open to the public. The historic property was moved from an area near Goodlettsville, Tenn., 25 years ago; each log was numbered and reconstructed exactly as found. The structure was originally built nearly 200 years ago and is a double-pen, one-and-half-story log home with a dogtrot typical to early Middle Tennessee log homes.
  • The early 1900s Leiper’s Fork Inn, just down the road from the Westhaven community. Two 100-year-old cottages were rescued and moved to the Leiper’s Fork village, and combined to create a bed-and-breakfast that celebrates the structure’s architectural heritage.
  • A ca. 1910 Southern Colonial Revival home on 2nd Avenue South, today home to company Outdoor Classic Structures, a design-build firm with a studio that focuses on non-climatized areas and outdoor construction. The quaint corner cottage features stunning gardens surrounding this tiny treasure and is a contributing property to downtown Franklin’s National Register District.
  • The Historic Reynolds Bungalow, built in 1915, on South Margin Street originally served as a boarding house for Battle Ground Academy students. The modified craftsman home was completely restored as a LEED-certified, environmentally sustainable home.
  • Ty’s House, the unique Second Empire-style residential structure on Mt. Hope Street, was recently renovated to preserve the ca. 1905 home. The Mount Hope Perpetual Care Association (the adjacent cemetery’s non-profit organization) and Hard Bargain Association (HBA) took great care to save the fish-scale gable detailing and extensively rehabilitated the property, which now serves as a community center and office for HBA.
  • In Westhaven, Paul Huff of Stonegate Homes constructed a French Country-style home that lends a casual cottage feel. Just around the corner in the neighborhood, participants will walk through a two-story Federal-style home, representative of the stately simplicity found in the earliest home still standing in Downtown Franklin. While still in Westhaven, the public will get a look into a Victorian Italianate-style home on Stonewater Boulevard. This popular version of Victorian-era architecture is also seen throughout the Historic Downtown Franklin commercial district.

Downtown Franklin resident Marti Veto is the chair of the 38th Annual Town & Country Tour of Homes, presented by Bob Parks Realty. Tickets are $30 each before the tour, and $35 on the days of the tour. Tickets may be purchased at any of the sites during the tour, online at www.historicfranklin.com or by calling Williams at (615) 591-8500 x18.

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.