About Us

MISSION

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.

History

In 1967, one of Franklin’s best-known, most architecturally significant antebellum homes was torn down to make way for a gas station. The loss of that prominent home at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Bridge Street, built by landowner Nicholas Perkins, outraged a small group of determined citizens who formed the Heritage Foundation to preserve the county’s historical resources and agrarian roots.

The first organizational meeting of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County was held on March 7, 1967. Its founders were some of the most well-known citizens in the community: James H. Armistead Sr., John Beasley, Sue Douglas Berry, Billy Billington, Duncan Callicott, Stewart Campbell Sr., Mrs. James H. Campbell, Henry Goodpasture, Judge Frank Gray Jr., Mrs. George Harris, Mrs. Willis Hayes, Judge John Henderson, Mrs. William King, J.N.W. Lee III, Mrs. Livingfield More, Glen Noble, Paul Ogilvie and James Watkins.

This group established the mission “to conserve the best of the past and to plan for the benefit of the future.” Members attended National Trust conferences, visited historic towns, and brought back what they learned. They realized that to make historic preservation meaningful it had to be done in the context of the whole community with attention to preserving the historic heritage of all its citizens.

Another major change took place on November 25, 1998, when the Heritage Foundation merged with the Downtown Franklin Association, which had been created in 1982 to promote the continued viability of Franklin’s central business district. As a unified force, the Heritage Foundation and the DFA are better equipped to preserve Franklin’s rich past while ensuring an equally promising future.

Saving the Franklin Theatre and the Big House for Historic Preservation (the Old, Old Jail) are two of the Heritage Foundation’s signature projects.

WE WORK ON THREE FRONTS

PRESERVATION

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

EDUCATION

The Heritage Classroom Program brings Williamson County history to more than 3,000 public, private and homeschooled children each year through classroom programs and walking tours of downtown. We also support the efforts of county historian Rick Warwick as he continues to research and document Williamson County’s history as well as educate the public on historic resources.

EVENTS

Local residents enjoy a variety of street festivals and events produced by the Heritage Foundation and its affiliates. Main Street Festival, the Heritage Ball, Pumpkinfest and Dickens of a Christmas bring hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors to historic Franklin’s core each year.

PRESERVATION

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

EDUCATION

The Heritage Classroom Program brings Williamson County history to more than 3,000 public, private and homeschooled children each year through classroom programs and walking tours of downtown. We also support the efforts of county historian Rick Warwick as he continues to research and document Williamson County’s history as well as educate the public on historic resources.

EVENTS

Local residents enjoy a variety of street festivals and events produced by the Heritage Foundation and its affiliates. Main Street Festival, the Heritage Ball, Pumpkinfest and Dickens of a Christmas bring hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors to historic Franklin’s core each year.

JAIL TOURS

Monday through Friday from 2 – 4 p.m., we offer tours of our office, The LeHew Magid Big House for Historic Preservation, also known as the Old Old Jail. For more information about our office or our tours, please call (615) 591-8500.