In 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.