Winners Chosen for Their Advocacy and Work on Structures that Complement the Historic Character of Williamson County

The 2021 Preservation Award winners were announced Saturday, August 21st at the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County’s fourth annual Preservation Symposium.

Keynote speaker Brent Leggs

For forty-five years, as a part of its nonprofit mission, the Heritage Foundation has recognized preservation projects and individuals who made significant contributions within the field of historic preservation. The Preservation Awards recognize rehabilitation, restoration, preservation, and craftsmanship of residential and commercial structures that complement the historic character of Williamson County.

2021 Winners Include the Harpeth Square Mixed-Use Development, the Downtown Franklin Rotary Club Headstone Cleaning Project, The David McEwen House, and the City of Brentwood Historic Commission. “Each year, we are proud to recognize individuals and organizations, who through their commitment, dedication, and hard work, complete projects that complement and contribute to historic preservation in our county,” said Rachael Finch, Senior Director of Preservation and Education.

Excellence in Infill in a Historic District: Harpeth Square Mixed-Use Development

The Excellence in Infill in a Historic District category recognizes new construction that complements the historic character of the surrounding buildings and the winner is the Harpeth Square Mixed-Use Development. The Harpeth Square is a 9.66 acre mixed-used development in downtown Franklin. The project consolidated parcels in an underutilized section of Franklin’s downtown commercial & tourist district to bring a 119-room hotel, luxury apartments, retail, restaurants, and a parking garage to downtown. The classically proportioned, LEED-certified mixed-use project complements the historic character of the downtown historic district. The project was nominated by 906 Architects.

Blake Wintory of the Heritage Foundation and Mike Hathaway of 906 Architects representing Harpeth Square

Excellence in Heritage Preservation: Downtown Franklin Rotary Club’s Headstone Cleaning Project

The category of Excellence in Heritage Preservation honors projects undertaken by a community or organization that actively demonstrate their stewardship and commitment to the preservation of their historic, cultural, and natural heritage. The Downtown Franklin Rotary Club demonstrated stewardship and commitment to the preservation and maintenance of the Franklin’s two oldest cemeteries–Rest Haven and City Cemetery–through the Downtown Franklin Rotary Club Headstone Cleaning Project. Franklin’s three Rotary Clubs generously donated $5,000 each for the overall preservation initiative while volunteers from the Morning and Noon clubs complemented the efforts of more than one hundred volunteers and over six hundred hours committed to the cleaning effort by the Downtown Franklin Club. The Downtown Franklin Rotary Club Headstone Cleaning Project, an on-going project, has returned Franklin’s history and headstones to a dignified appearance and made the lives of past Franklinites discoverable again.

Downtown Franklin Headstone Cleaning Project in the media: Rotarians join forces to restore cemetery headstones, preserve history, Williamson Herald, September 23, 2020

National Center for Preservation Technology Best Practice Recommendations for Cleaning Headstones

  1. Cleaning should be undertaken with the mildest, least-abrasive method.
  2. A biocidal cleaner performed the best in this study. Recommended biocidal cleaners include D/2 Biological Solution (which was tested in this study) manufactured by Sunshine Makers,  Enviro Klean® BioWash®, or other cleaners that contain quaternary ammonium compounds.
  3. Soak the stone liberally with water before applying the cleaner with a hand or backpack sprayer or garden hose.
  4. Always keep the stone wet during cleaning and thoroughly rinse afterwards.
  5. Agitate the surface gently in a circular motion using a soft bristle brush. Clean small areas from the bottom up.
  6. Remember to rinse after cleaning each area and to thoroughly rinse the stone at the end to make sure that no cleaner is left behind.

Blake Wintory of the Heritage Foundation and Bob Ravener and Alan Simms of the Downtown Franklin Rotary Club

Excellence in Preservation Through Restoration: David McEwen House

The category of Preservation through Restoration honors projects whose primary goal is a to return a structure to a documented earlier appearance. The David McEwen House is one of the oldest structures in Williamson County. Located on the grounds of Vanderbilt Legends Club, the circa 1798 National Register listed dogtrot log cabin had fallen into disrepair by the 2010s. The Vanderbilt Legends invested in the house’s restoration with a new cedar shake shingled roof, repaired the stack stone foundation, and repaired chinking between logs, among other repairs. Completed in the spring of 2019, it is now preserved and is a showcase for the club and its members.

Preservation Advocacy Award Honoree: City of Brentwood Historic Commission

Since 1989, The Brentwood Historic Commission has promoted and preserved Brentwood’s rich cultural history and heritage. When the Commission learned of the potential for the historic National Register- listed Owen-Primm House to be demolished, the Commission worked to save the antebellum Greek- revival structure by raising awareness of the home’s potential fate which gave time for a preservation- minded buyer to be found.

The annual Preservation Awards align with the goals of the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County in order to save the places and stories that matter in Williamson County. More information about the award winners and the Heritage Foundation can be found at

Blake Wintory of the Heritage Foundation and Sherry Hammond of Brentwood Historic Commission


Since 1967, the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County has been dedicated to preserving Williamson County’s architectural, geographic and cultural heritage as well as promoting the ongoing revitalization of downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation. Notable projects include The Franklin Theatre, Roper’s Knob, parts of the Franklin battlefield and the Old, Old Jail. The Foundation brings county history to about 3,000 school children each year through the Heritage Classroom program as well as walking tours of downtown Franklin. Events and festivals produced by the Heritage Foundation such as Main Street Festival, the Heritage Ball, Pumpkinfest and Dickens of a Christmas bring hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors to downtown Franklin each year. The Heritage Foundation owns and operates The Franklin Theatre, the Downtown Franklin Association, and the organization’s newest division and current restoration project, Franklin Grove Estate & Gardens. For more information about the Heritage Foundation, visit