What do you love most about Williamson County? Charming downtowns and unique local businesses? Rolling pastures and scenic green space? Historic homes and public buildings? Street festivals and events that showcase our community? These are just a few of the things that make Williamson County such a great place to live and visit. And they didn’t happen by accident.
Chances are, the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County played a role in creating many of things you love most about the place you call home. We are the only nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the architectural, geographical and cultural resources across all of Williamson County, and our work is integral to the quality of life in our special corner of the world.
For over 50 years, the Heritage Foundation has helped save some 40 properties with compelling stories, including Carnton, the Franklin Theatre, Lotz House, and the Dan German Hospital. Many of these historic treasures would be gone forever without the intervention of the Heritage Foundation.
Preservation is often a community effort and has many facets. Public preservation includes but is not limited to maintaining an accurate inventory of historic sites in Williamson County, working with the City of Franklin’s Historic Zoning Commission, advocating for streetscape, listing properties on the National Register of Historic Places, and participating in the Historic Preservation Plan for cities within Williamson County.
With its vibrant history, Williamson County has numerous homes, buildings and green areas worth sharing with future generations. Our organization supports local government and other organizations like the Land Trust for Tennessee when property owners are interested in placing conservation easements on their land to forever protect it from development. More than 10,000 acres in Williamson County, including 67 acres on Roper’s Knob, have been placed under conservation easements. Additional successes are described below as well as maintaining the Historic Marker Program, conducting the Heritage Classroom Program, and maintaining a partnership with the Land Trust for Tennessee.
With our historian, Rick Warwick, we help individuals research and preserve their family history. We work closely with other historic preservation organizations such as Franklin’s Charge and the African-American Heritage Society.
The Downtown Franklin Association (DFA) is an award winning and nationally accredited Main Street Program since 1984. The DFA collaborates with all Main Street stakeholders, including the city, the county, building owners, and guests to be “America’s Favorite Main Street.” Franklin’s downtown is a rich resource and we proudly produce and promote community events that show it at its very best, including Main Street BrewFest, Main Street Festival, Pumpkinfest, Dickens of a Christmas, and the monthly Art Scene.
The Heritage Foundation is proud of our community’s preservation story that spans 50 years.
Each project is unique, but the collective results can be attributed to visionary leaders, public-private partnerships, collaboration with other nonprofits, generous donors, and the Heritage Foundation’s outstanding Board and Staff.
We are meeting and working with leaders throughout Williamson County to determine key preservation needs in various cities and setting strategies to address those needs.
The Heritage Foundation is working collaboratively with Friends of Franklin Parks and the City of Franklin to advance the river walk for Franklin.
With the City of Franklin, we are working on the streetscape as this road is being redeveloped.
Supporting Franklin’s Charge and the Battle of Franklin Trust as this park is in the process of being interpreted. The Cotton Gin site was given to the City of Franklin by the Heritage Foundation, and the land is now part of the Carter Cotton Gin Park.
Working with the Friends of Franklin Parks, advocating to save the small farm houses as well as the other historic resources.
Each May, the Heritage Foundation hosts an annual meeting and preservation awards ceremony to recap the past year’s projects and celebrate outstanding historic preservation work in Williamson County. The 50th Annual Preservation Awards ceremony was held on May 15, 2017 at the Franklin Theatre and commemorated half a century of preservation work in Williamson County.
Awards recognize rehabilitations of residential and commercial structures and new construction projects that complement the historic character of Williamson County. In 2017, we recognized 13 gorgeous properties and their intrepid owners.
After a car crashed into the building, it was in dire need of thoughtful attention. The Wolfes chose a historically accurate reconstruction based on photos provided by Williamson County historian, Rick Warwick. Local artisans lent their talent to the reconstruction and Mike and Jodi did their part by rescuing many original parts from the dumpster!
The Bond Farmhouse in Thompson’s Station was built around 1900. It was Lynn’s grandparents home where her mom and uncle grew up. After being vacant for 18 years, the property was in terrible shape. The renovation took 9 months and included maintaining as many of the original features as possible.
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.