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.

 


Hincheyville’s Marti Veto Named Chair of 38th Annual Tour of Homes

Downtown Franklin resident Marti Veto has been named chair of the 38th Annual Town & Country Tour of Homes, to be held June 1 and 2 in and around historic Franklin.

The event, produced by the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County, is designed to showcase old homes in an effort to underscore the importance of historic preservation. This year’s tour includes properties from the 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as modern interpretations of Federal, Victorian and French Country-style homes in a newer neighborhood.

Veto, who bought her ca. 1920 Craftsman-style bungalow in 2007 on West Main Street, opened her restored home to the Tour of Homes in 2008.

“I love my downtown neighborhood—the history each house represents, the stories shared about previous owners, and most of all the ability to walk down the street and be in the heart of a bustling but well-preserved community,” Veto said. “The Heritage Foundation is one of the reasons it’s been so successful, and this tour is a deep-seated tradition.”

A native of Somerset, Ky., Veto came to Franklin from San Francisco, where she worked in the biotech industry. In 2009, she was tapped to lead the Cool Springs Chamber of Commerce, cultivating the organization to a point where it was happy to be absorbed into the newly unified Williamson County Chamber of Commerce. Most recently, she has launched Marti Veto Strategic Communications, a marketing consultancy.

“In my years of promoting life-saving biotech medicines, I won a lot of awards,” she says. “Now I just want to be a catalyst for others to reach their performance goals.”

The Tour includes the ca. 1849 Pleasant View Farm—better known locally as Gentry Farm—in the countryside on Highway 96 West. Both the 1869 home place and an early 1800s log cabin on the farm will be open to the public. Across the street in the Westhaven neighborhood, three contemporary homes that nod to local history will be part of the tour.

Also participating is the early 1900s Leiper’s Fork Inn on Old Hillsboro Road; a ca. 1910 Southern Colonial Revival home and garden on 2nd Avenue South and the Historic Reynolds Bungalow, built in 1915, on South Margin Street in downtown Franklin; and Ty’s House, the recently renovated ca. 1905 Second Empire-style home on Mt. Hope Street that now serves as the headquarters of the Hard Bargain Association.

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.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.historicfranklin.com or call Kristy Williams at (615) 591-8500 x18.