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Top Historic Attractions in Franklin, Tennessee

Top Historic Attractions in Franklin, Tennessee

Franklin, Tennessee was founded on October 26, 1799 and holds centuries of history. Whether you are a local or just passing through, there are plenty of new things to learn and experience in this historic town. Keep reading to learn about the 10,000 year old trail, Civil War remnants, and much more! 

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Carnton was built in 1826 and was home to former Nashville, Tennessee Mayor Randal McGavock. Carnton served as the most significant field hospital for injured soldiers during and after the Battle of Franklin, with 1,700 men laid to rest in the McGavock’s 2-acre family cemetery. You are invited to visit Carnton on their various tours throughout the year!


Carter House

The Carter House was built in 1830 and ended up being located right in the middle of the Battle of Franklin 34 years later. The house was used by Union soldiers as a command post while the Carter family huddled in the basement for safety amidst the five hours of fighting along with 23 other men and women. With over a thousand bullet holes, the Carter family’s farm office and brick smokehouse have been recognized by preservationists as the two most heavily damaged buildings from the Civil War that are still around today. You can visit these historic Franklin landmarks by participating in their tours! 

The Factory at Franklin Downtown Franklin_Watertower at Dawn

The Factory at Franklin

The Factory at Franklin

The Factory at Franklin has been around for nearly a century, wearing many different hats. It was built in 1929 and served as an actual factory for businesses such as Dortch Stove Works, Magic Chef, and the Jamison Bedding Company until the property was purchased by local developer Calvin Lehew in 1996. Lehew renovated this factory while keeping much of the original architecture, creating The Factory that we all know and love. The Factory was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997 and has been a local treasure of shops, studios, restaurants, offices, and entertainment ever since. 


Downtown Franklin

Referred to as “America’s Favorite Main Street”, Franklin’s downtown is an outstanding example of historic preservation. In addition to the brick sidewalks and Victorian architecture, there are over 70 unique shops and restaurants to browse! With clothing boutiques, antique shops, art galleries, a variety of restaurants, and more, downtown Franklin is a fun way to explore history with friends and family!


Gallery 202

Featuring a diverse selection of styles and mediums, Gallery 202 features local, regional, and national artists! One of the most interesting things about this local gallery may be the house it calls home. Built in 1821 as a townhome used for social gatherings, Clouston Hall is believed to have hosted historical figures like Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson! Check out this one-of-a-kind art gallery and its historical home next time you find yourself downtown! 

The History of The Franklin Theatre in downtown Franklin, Tennessee.

The Franklin Theatre

The Franklin Theatre

With more than 80 years of history and adoration, The Franklin Theatre has been winning the hearts of those near and far for nearly a century! This local gem was built in 1937 with admission prices of 10 cents for children and 25 cents for adults. It ended up being the city of Franklin’s first air-conditioned building and housed the city’s first public restroom, along with being the new hotspot for movies. Today, The Franklin Theatre continues to show both new and classic movies, as well as live performances like plays and musical acts.  


Gray’s on Main

Before Gray’s on Main became the restaurant we all know and love, it served downtown Franklin as a staple pharmacy called the Gray Drug Co. for nearly a century! Since being renovated in 2013, Gray’s on Main has been a hit thanks to their seasonal Southern fare made from locally sourced ingredients, a drink menu of cocktails reflecting the culture of the late 19th century, and live music! Take a bite of history at Gray’s on Main, housed in an 1876 Victorian building.


Historic Parks Audio Tour

History is scattered all throughout Franklin, so there is always something new to learn and discover! The City of Franklin offers a self-guided audio tour of 16 historic sites including The Park at Harlinsdale Farm, Eastern Flank Battlefield Park, the Assault on the Cotton Gin, and many other national landmarks. Take a day to walk around the city and become more acquainted with Franklin and its past. 

The Lotz House in downtown Franklin, TN, exterior from the side.

The Lotz House

Lotz House

The Lotz House is another historical site from the Battle of Franklin, built in 1858 by German immigrant Johann Lotz. Johann had moved to America to escape war, but soon found himself living on a battlefield. During the bloody battle, a cannonball was shot through the roof and second floor of the Lotz House, and if you visit, you will see that there is still an indent from where the ball hit the first floor. Just like the Carnton Plantation and Carter House, you are invited to tour this historic home and museum!


The McLemore House

The McLemore House was built in 1880 and was the home of Harvey McLemore, a former slave who later became a successful farmer. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and serving as a museum, The McLemore House is home to the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County and offers guided tours! 


The Natchez Trace Parkway

Starting in Nashville, Tennessee and ending in Natchez, Mississippi, The Natchez Trace Parkway approximately follows the Old Natchez Trace, a historic travel corridor used over 10,000 years ago by Native Americans, European settlers, and more. You can explore this 444-mile parkway on foot or take a scenic drive to the wooded valley of Birdsong Hollow to view the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge! Stretching over 1,500 feet, this bridge was built in 1994 as the first concrete, double-arch, segmentally-constructed bridge in the United States and won the Presidential Award for Design Excellence in the following year.


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