A Celebration of Preservation

The Heritage Foundation recently celebrated its 50 year history in Williamson County with an exceptional retrospective of the organization at the Franklin Theatre. To commemorate the milestone and recognize the dedication of each individual who has impacted our organization, we commissioned and debuted a mini-documentary to honor the past half-century of work.

Join us in our continued work to save the places that matter in Williamson County. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation via PayPal to ensure our organization and our critical work continue for another 50 years!

What We Do

As one of the nation’s most respected historic preservation societies, the Heritage Foundation works tirelessly to save the architectural and cultural resources that makes Williamson County so unique.

We Work on Three Fronts


We preserve by advocating for and raising funds to preserve historic buildings, Civil War sites, green space, and other community resources.


The Heritage Classroom Program brings Williamson County history to more than 3,000 public, private and homeschooled children each year through classes and walking tours of downtown. We’re expanding our offerings to include a new Symposium series in 2018.


To continue to build community, the Heritage Foundation and our affiliates host a variety of street festivals and events bringing hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors to historic Franklin’s core each year.

  • Historic preservation IS economic development, and no one preserves our history and serves as the caretaker of our unique character like the Heritage Foundation.  Access to talent drives economic development decisions, and talent is attracted to Williamson County because of the great work of the Heritage Foundation and their commitment to preserving our historic sites and buildings.  Along with our great schools, I credit the Heritage Foundation as one of the primary reasons for our recent economic prosperity.

    Matt Largen
    Matt Largen CEO of Williamson, Inc.
  • The Heritage Foundation makes an invaluable contribution to life and community in Williamson County through its determined commitment to protect the best of the past as a foundation for the future. Through its many partnerships it also has contributed mightily to economic growth and opportunity by supporting scores of adaptive reuse projects, finding new lives for properties across the county, and through heritage and cultural tourism.

    Carroll Van West, PhD
    Carroll Van West, PhD Tennessee State Historian and Director of the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation
  • Thanks to many who laid the groundwork for the Heritage Foundation 50 years ago, Franklin stands out as one of the nation’s top communities today by several measures. It has been a living laboratory for decades proving a preservation ethic makes sense economically.  The accomplishments include a thriving downtown, beautifully preserved landscapes, enhanced quality of the more recently built environment, and lots of great stories. There used to be significant conflict between pro-growth versus pro-preservation, but I think the Heritage Foundation finally helped to bridge that gap. There’s a lot of new mixed in with the old, and most of it gets along together just fine.  It’s a never-ending process, and not perfect, but the hard work paid off.

    Nancy Williams
    Nancy Williams Tennessee Main Street Program Director
  • One of the greatest tourism draws to Williamson County is the Great American Main Street that runs through the heart of Franklin. Without the Heritage Foundation’s early vision to preserve the multitude of historical gems lining Main Street, the lure for visitors to our area would be a fraction of what it is now. The Heritage Foundation’s commitment to preserving Main Street and the historic homes and buildings across Williamson County allow visitors to get a true glimpse of how we’ve preserved and embraced our past while advancing into the future.

    Ellie Westman Chin
    Ellie Westman Chin President and CEO of Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Franklin and Williamson County enjoy a quality of life grounded in the commitment to protecting the places that make this area unique. But this nationally renowned historic preservation success story did not happen by chance. 50 years ago the Heritage Foundation was established by farsighted citizens who recognized the inherent value of their community. A half-century later,  this outstanding organization continues to lead by taking an active role to ensure that treasured landmarks, neighborhoods, and landscapes are saved for the enrichment of present and future generations.

    E. Patrick McIntyre, Jr.
    E. Patrick McIntyre, Jr. Executive Director and State Historic Preservation Officer, Tennessee Historical Commission
  • The impact of The Heritage Foundation over the past 50 years permanently changed our community for the better. Initially, its motivation was to preserve our historic buildings and landmarks, but over time, its efforts preserved the sense of place all of us enjoy today. The Heritage Foundation led the way in developing a civic culture that places a very high value on historic preservation. Our children and grandchildren will be the beneficiaries of this work.

    Julian Bibb
    Julian Bibb Partner, Stites & Harbison PLLC
about us

The Heritage Foundation preserves the communities and cultural heritage of Williamson County. We work with area leaders to continually care for historic spaces, treasured landmarks, and cherished local businesses. In short, we save the places that matter in Williamson County, Tennessee.

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