Since 1967, the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County has been working to preserve and enhance the historic fabric of the community, collaborating with property owners to save “the places that matter.” This year’s Heritage Foundation Preservation Awards recognized a number of notable residential and commercial projects, as well as the people integral to making them possible.
New Heritage Foundation CEO Bari Beasley says the nominations for Preservation Awards demonstrate the value the Franklin community places on its historic resources.
“This was an impressive set of projects, ranging from best-practice commercial and residential rehabilitations to infill in sensitive historic areas,” Beasley said. “Our hope is that these awards not only honor and inspire, but also educate people on the resources available to them through the Heritage Foundation.”
On the Residential side, featured projects included the restoration on historic homes ranging from folk Victorian cottages on Third Avenue South to a grand Tudor on Lewisburg Avenue, as well as a new construction project on Mount Hope Street.
The winner in the residential category was the Bond Farm House on Bethesda Road, a ca. 1900 vernacular farmhouse located on a 144-acre farm in Williamson County. Owner Lynn Davis says the home belonged to her grandmother, who lived there until the age of 98, and that it has always been a special place to her family. Last year, Davis began restoring the house that had been vacant for nearly 20 years, bringing it back to life to the delight of friends and family in the Bethesda community.
In the Commercial category, nominations included infill on Columbia Avenue, a restoration of a historic structure on Church Street, the refurbishment of the strip center at 5th Avenue and Bridge Street, and the multi-faceted project at the historic Homestead Manor on Columbia Pike. Taking top honors – both in the Commercial projects and as the Overall winner – was 345 Main Street.
The building, which is owned by Mike and Jodi Wolfe and is currently home to White’s Mercantile, was damaged when a vehicle drove through the storefront. The Wolfes and a preservation-minded restoration team took the opportunity to bring the building back to its original state, using reference photos provided by Heritage Foundation Historian Rick Warwick. The result is a stunning façade that contributes significantly to Franklin’s National Register-listed Main Street.
Other honorees included longtime Heritage Foundation Executive Director Mary Pearce, who recently handed the reins to Beasley. Pearce presented the new Mary Pearce Legacy Award to her colleague Rudy Jordan, who served as the first Downtown Franklin Association director in the 1980s and has been advocating for Franklin ever since.
Julian Bibb, who recently completed his term as president of the Heritage Foundation Board of Directors, was honored for his six terms leading the organization, starting in 1995. David Garrett was announced as the Foundation’s new Board president.
“This community is nothing short of remarkable, and the results were on full display at the Preservation Awards,” Garrett said. “We had a full house, a full slate of wonderful projects, and a chance to recognize people who have been leading the charge for decades, along with the next generation of supporters. As we approach the Heritage Foundation’s 50th Anniversary, I couldn’t be more proud to have the opportunity to lead this organization.”
Since 1967, the not-for-profit Heritage Foundation’s mission has been to protect and preserve the architectural, geographic and cultural heritage of Franklin and Williamson County, and to promote the ongoing economic revitalization of downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation. To learn more, visit www.historicfranklin.com.
See photos from the event below.