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Franklin Grove Estate & Gardens

Art. Education. Nature. Community.

The former O'More College of Design property is in the process of becoming a landmark destination that creates a sense of place, timelessness and beauty for all people to engage with education, art, history, nature and community. This visionary reuse of this historic property stands as the largest preservation project in the 55 year history of the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County's efforts to save the place and stories that matter. The Franklin Grove Estate & Gardens will become a haven of history, art, culture, and education focusing on the deep roots and traditions of Williamson County.

Plans for the five acre property include an art museum, a historic African-American segregation-era Rosenwald schoolhouse, an entrepreneurial center for local start-up businesses, a place for small community gatherings, and beautiful natural gardens and green space.


“We strongly support the Heritage Foundation’s planned approach to preserving Franklin Grove’s historic property, which reflects well-established best practices of historic preservation, including adaptive reuse, infill construction, shared use with income-producing enterprises, and community engagement.”
- Rob Nieweg
VP, Preservation Services & Outreach
National Trust for Historic Preservation
"The commitment that the Heritage Foundation has made to purchase and protect the enclave now known as Franklin Grove, including the historic Perkins-Winstead House and the historic Haynes-Berry House, is a laudable vision that provides a blueprint for sustainability."
- E. Patrick McIntyre, Jr.
Executive Director, State Historic Preservation Officer
Tennessee Historical Commission

Read the full Commendation Letters

Show Your Support as a Franklin Grove Ambassador!

Do you love this project? Become a Franklin Grove Ambassador! There is no financial commitment to join this ground-floor club. As an Ambassador, you’ll receive: regular news and information about the project, invitations to exclusive events and meetings, and a complimentary one-year membership (for first-time members) to the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN

By submitting you agree to the below details:

Do you love this project? Become a Franklin Grove Ambassador! There is no financial commitment to join this ground-floor club. As an Ambassador, you’ll receive: regular news and information about the project, invitations to exclusive events and meetings, and a complimentary one-year membership (for first-time members) to the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN

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Ambassadors:

260Michael S.37064Jan 16, 2022
259Kris Rae O.37064Jan 14, 2022
258Lauren O.37067Jan 13, 2022
257Megan P.37064Jan 11, 2022
256Eric H.37064Jan 09, 2022

Frequently Asked Questions

The Franklin Grove Estate and Gardens is the latest in a long history of historic preservation initiatives by the nonprofit Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN.  Our past efforts have supported the Lotz House, Battlefield of Franklin, Carnton, Roper’s Knob, McLemore House, the LeHew Magid Big House for Historic Preservation (Old, Old Jail), Lee-Buckner Rosenwald School, the downtown Main Street streetscape beautification, The Franklin Theatre renovation, and more – each contributing to the quaint appeal and historic charm that has made Williamson County so beloved.

We believe that Franklin Grove represents an integral part of Franklin’s history and therefore deserves to be stewarded for the benefit of the entire community. Franklin Grove will further contribute the ancillary benefit of spurring economic vitality within the county and preserving accessible natural green space for the enjoyment of all.

The property’s current zoning, Civic Institutional would have allowed for facilities such as childcare centers, funeral homes, clinics, rehabilitation centers, continuum care facilities and others to be built. However, when we secured the property from Belmont University, we did so with the intent of honoring the history of the property and adding to its legacy, making it a complementary asset for the neighborhood, and helping the property find its highest and best use for the benefit of the community.

Art, education, and community describe aspects of the property’s contributions to Franklin in its recent past. Through art exhibitions, the historic Lee-Buckner Rosenwald School, natural gardens and educational experiences, Franklin Grove will keep these traditions alive.

The hall has two purposes:

  1. To primarily host community-focused and mission-driven programs tied to Franklin Grove’s pillars of education, preservation, history, and the arts (symposiums, lectures, classes, and meetings), 
  2. To provide necessary funds that supplement ticket sales, donations, sponsorships, and other revenue streams – allowing the property to be accessible to the broader community and able to be financially sound for years to come. Without this funding stream, this cultural non-profit vision for Franklin Grove is simply not feasible.   

In good faith, the Heritage Foundation is proposing to self-impose these conditions on Franklin Grove (under the currently proposed plan with the City of Franklin):  

  1. Limit the number of third-party events on the property to 80 per year.  
  2. Limit the number of people allowed on the property at one time to a maximum of 250.  

It remains our intention to be good stewards of this historic property, honor its neighborhood, make it accessible again to the broader community, and ensure its long-term viability. 

 

Work on this intersection will be done through a public/private partnership between the City of Franklin and the Heritage Foundation. The Franklin Grove project may help expedite the original timeline of public improvements slated for the intersection. The improvements will make the intersection much safer than it is today, for both vehicles and pedestrians.

City noise ordinance guidelines will be enforced on the grounds. In addition to this, many sincere strides were made during the planning process to further manage noise:

  • In direct response to the neighbors’ feedback about previous outdoor music on the property, the Heritage Foundation agrees there will be no amplified music outdoors on the property.
  • The Hall size has been reduced from its original design and  has been purposely positioned to face inward toward the property rather than out toward neighbors.
  • The Oak Gardens (back gardens) will be an inward focused “walled” garden, with brick walls and ornamental planting surrounding the entire perimeter.
  • The interiors and exteriors of the Hall will be outfitted with sound-lock doors, triple-pane glass and acoustic paneling.

In the current master plan, there are 103 parking spaces allocated on the property, which exceeds what was on the property during O’More’s tenure on the property.  In this plan, parking will be surrounded by lush planting and will be screened from roads and neighbors. Additionally, an oval roundabout on the grounds will be created in order to easily facilitate trolley drop-off and ridesharing services that further limit on-site parking needs.

Franklin Grove will move through the rezoning and site development approval processes with the City of Franklin over the next three months approximately. The Heritage Foundation must also raise millions of dollars from individual, foundation and corporate donors in order to fund the project. If you are interested in financially supporting Franklin Grove, please complete the form on this page and join others helping the Franklin Grove.

Advocate: Just like when the community rallied around the reopening of The Franklin Theatre, Franklin Grove needs the community to help make this project become a reality. Let your elected representatives know you support Franklin Grove and tell your friends and neighbors as well. Lastly, sign up on this page to become a Franklin Grove Ambassador.

Donate: Donate online here and note Franklin Grove in the comment section, or complete the Comments Form below and check the “I’d like to know more about financially supporting Franklin Grove” box.

Stay Informed: Complete the email sign-up form on this page and get updates as they are available.

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FRANKLIN GROVE ESTATE AND GARDENS IS ONE OF MANY PRESERVATION PROJECTS OF THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION OF WILLIAMSON COUNTY.

You can make a direct impact on the county’s future by helping to preserve its past. Monetary contributions make a critical difference: though our organization continuously works to generate needed operating funds through events, products, and fundraisers, donations make an important difference in the Foundation’s preservation efforts. To learn more about opportunities to financially support Franklin Grove, please email Melissa Houck at mhouck@williamsonheritage.org.

Thank you for your support!

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WE WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS. PLEASE COMPLETE THIS FORM TO SHARE YOUR INPUT WITH THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION OF WILLIAMSON COUNTY, TN.

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