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Preserving the Greater Good

Preserving the Greater Good

The Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County, TN, founded in 1967, has a long history of preserving the historic resources of Franklin and Williamson County. The Heritage Foundation started with a group of citizens with vision who wanted to protect the historic resources that make Franklin and Williamson County a special place. The efforts of the Foundation have played a major role in keeping Franklin’s Williamson County from becoming “Anywhere USA.”

Over the years, the Heritage Foundation’s accomplishments have included saving historic buildings and landscapes, doing surveys and inventories of our historic resources, nominating properties to the National Register, Streetscape in downtown Franklin, sponsoring a Heritage Classroom program, publishing books, advocating for preservation, sponsoring educational programs and greeting visitors at Dr. McPhail’s office for 22 years. The office moved to the Historic Five Points Post Office (back door, main level) in July, 1996 and remains there today.

The Heritage Foundation founded the Downtown Franklin Association and was a founding member of the Tennessee Antebellum Trail, the Natchez Trace Corridor Association and the African American Heritage Society.

The Foundation is fortunate to have more than 1,000 members who work to fundraise, educate, promote and advocate for historic preservation. With memberships beginning at $45, it is a grassroots preservation group. We are 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and member organization of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County and its division, the Downtown Franklin Association, are nationally recognized as being among the most successful and largest preservation groups in the country.

The mission of the Heritage Foundation is to protect and preserve the architectural, geographic and cultural heritage of Franklin and Williamson County and to promote the ongoing revitalization of Historic Downtown Franklin in the context of historic Preservation. Six divisions are devoted to accomplishing the mission:

1)    Public Preservation – Develop public policy initiatives that encourage the protection and preservation of historic sites and landscapes.

2)    Private Preservation – Develop private sector policy initiatives that encourage the protection and preservation of historic sites and landscapes.

3)   Main Street Program – Operate the Downtown Franklin Association under the four-point Main Street guidelines established by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

4)   Finance – Develop long-range funding plan that will provide financial stability for annual operating and major projects.

5)   Fundraising – Produce special events that promote the mission of the organization and provide funds. Special events include Feile Franklin, Main Street Festival, Preservation Marketplace, Franklin Jazz Festival, Pumpkinfest, Heritage Ball and Dickens of a Christmas.

6)    Membership –  Attract members who support the goals of the organization.

The Downtown Franklin Association was founded in 1984 as a certified Main Street Program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The DFA seeks to continue the revitalization of Historic Downtown Franklin through the four-point approach advocated by the National Main Street Center, which is:

Promotion – Make the public aware of the historic commercial district through special events, public relations and communications.

Organization – Give the members of the organization an opportunity to achieve their goals through a committee structure and communications.

Design – protect the historic character of the National Register buildings in the historic commercial district.

Economic Restructuring – recruit and retain desirable businesses to the historic commercial district.

Working in partnership with property owners, preservationists, city and county government, merchants, and businesses, the Downtown Franklin Association has helped create one of the nation’s Main Street success stories, earning national recognition, including a Great American Main Street award. In May 1995, Franklin was honored as one of the best downtown areas in the nation when it received one of five “Great American Main Street” awards in the first year of an annual national competition.

The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN and the Downtown Franklin Association are located in historic downtown Franklin at 112 Bridge Street, Franklin, TN 37064. The Heritage Foundation phone number is (615) 591-8500 and FAX number is (615) 591-8502, website address is