Updates about Historic Beechwood Hall
(Update from November 23, 2022)
Statement from Bari Beasley, Heritage Foundation of Williamson County President & CEO:
“As you may be aware, over the last few days there have been some sensationalist declarations and inaccurate information that has detracted from earnest and dedicated efforts to preserve Beechwood Hall.
Please know, The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County has been fully engaged in preservation efforts since learning about the risk to the home. We have been in direct contact in a collaborative and positive manner with Beechwood Hall’s owners to chart the best path forward in exploring preservation solutions.
In our conversations and professional consultations, we are working in good faith to communicate best practices and to present a thoughtful and robust preservation plan to the owners.
A commitment to historic preservation from downtown Franklin and throughout Williamson County is what makes our home special. It is the fundamental charge of our Foundation. It is important to note that we have a 55-year track record of preservation success. We understand the deeply technical collaboration and earnest conversations necessary to work to ensure preservation. You can review our long history of success here.
Our preservation team has recently been to the site. We were able to offer best practices that were implemented to secure Beechwood Hall from further damage from elements, animals, and more – protecting the home now is a vital first step to long-term preservation. Working with many leading partners in architecture and preservation, our next step is to deliver a comprehensive preservation plan to the owners in the coming weeks. The full might of our resources and many talented partners is being put into this plan, which we have been working diligently on for weeks.
We are encouraged by the enthusiasm to see Beechwood Hall preserved. Know we all want the same resolution and are doing everything possible to achieve it.
It is unfortunate this earnest enthusiasm for preservation has been marred by some false and inflammatory statements which ultimately harms these preservation efforts more than it helps. We’d ask you to keep your enthusiasm and support for preservation and block out any sensationalism or misleading information that is damaging to our ongoing efforts and communications with the owners regarding Beechwood Hall. Staying positive as you advocate for preservation will create the best conditions for a successful resolution.
We appreciate your continued support as we work to preserve Beechwood Hall and we pledge to continue to update you throughout the process.”
(Update from November 17, 2022)
There is an ongoing effort to preserve a historic Williamson County property called Beechwood Hall. The property gained notoriety due to being formerly owned by Hank Williams, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.
Many in the community are rallying to show their passion for this place and encourage its preservation due to the home’s deterioration over the last four decades. The Heritage Foundation agrees with the goal of these efforts, but the manner in which some choose to show their concern is where we disagree. Unfortunately, some have based their narrative on assumptions, and outdated or inaccurate information.
We believe the best approach to saving this or any other historic property is to work in a collaborative and positive manner with any owner of a historic property, create a comprehensive preservation plan, and bring resources and solutions to the table for discussion. This has been our approach with Beechwood Hall’s owners.
Our preservation team has recently been to the site. While the team is conducting research, we are working with the homeowners to preserve the current integrity of the structure by securing it from the elements, vermin, and vandals. We cannot change the decades of past neglect, but we are committed to exploring preservation-minded solutions with the new owners.
Sometimes preservation solutions are quick and easy; more often than not, they are difficult, complex, and time-consuming for all involved. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work with these Williamson County residents.
A Statement from the Owners of Beechwood Hall
Below is a November 17, 2022 statement from Larry Keele about the property
”We were made aware of the 268-acre property in mid-2021. We walked and rode many acres of the farm and immediately fell in love with it. As a native Tennessean and an admirer of beautiful rural scenery, it was an idyllic spot. In terms of my background, I was born and raised in Lewisburg, Tennessee and graduated with a B.S. degree from Tennessee Tech University.
Our negotiation with the selling partnership was relatively brief, and we closed on the 268 acres one day after the partnership closed. We were made aware that the house had been sitting mostly vacant for 30 to 40 years. It was obvious to us that the house was in a very deteriorated state. Unfortunately, no previous owner had ever placed any preservation or conservation easements on the property and neither did the selling partnership contract. The house had 20 or more broken windows on both levels when we bought it, and appeared to have been that way for years. Our immediate thoughts and conversations with people at that time were to stabilize the house and prevent further rain and animal infestation; so, we boarded up all the broken windows the best we could.
Eventually we hired an architect we know very well, and together we began formulating potential options for the house but, importantly, to protect its historic character. After many visits, we decided that making it our home was a potential option for us. Our architect proposed many conceptual renderings respecting our joint desire to make the potential new house closely resemble the original Beechwood Hall with its beautiful front porches. We believe this is a great way to honor and preserve the true historical character of the home. We also plan to preserve and protect the landscape, which many historians believe is as important as the house.
In our effort to best preserve the historical character of the structure and the property, we are happily working closely with the CEO of the Heritage Foundation Bari Beasley and her team to look at all potential options for the property. The Heritage Foundation is in the process of securing the home for the winter on our behalf, and they have brought in their team of experts to assess the home’s condition. We did, however, remove the rear 1970’s addition as it is not historical. We were informed that the stair banister within the home is one of the original parts of the house not yet impacted by heavy water damage and mold, and it was carefully removed and is now stored in a safe, conditioned space. We have also cleaned up many dead trees and replaced the old perimeter fence, which are the only items in the burn pile. Contrary to misinformation that is being published, no historical items have been placed in any burn pile and there is no scheduled demolition.
We have been disappointed and saddened at how our efforts have been portrayed in the community. Many of the statements we have read regarding what we have done and are doing with the property are absolutely untrue or highly misleading. We have always treated everyone around us with respect and kindness since we moved back to Tennessee in 2018. On a more personal note, one of our favorite songs is “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw, one of the long-term previous owners of the property, who in that song speaks to how I was raised and how my wife and I live our lives every day.
Unfortunately, due to some of the misleading information being put out there, we have been forced to install cameras and hire security to protect the property from trespassers and others potentially placing the home and others in danger.
My wife and I very much understand and appreciate the importance of local history and preserving our beautiful historic landscapes. To date, we have already placed over 350 acres of land in Williamson County in The Land Trust for Tennessee. We know we can’t please everyone, but it is our sincere hope that the majority of the interested parties can respect the process we are in with the Heritage Foundation and allow us to do a full assessment of Beechwood Hall over the coming months.”