2. Franklin’s First Food Truck Rolled Into Town in the ’20s
Food Trucks might seem like a strictly modern innovation. In fact, the city of Brentwood just last month passed a rule letting them operate there. Well, Franklin’s first mobile food business wheeled into town nearly 100 years ago.
Chapman’s Pie Wagon, which was run by Franklin resident Jim Chapman from 1922 to 1946, set up and sold hamburgers and fresh pies to hungry lawyers, townspeople and farmers right on the square.
The converted wagon, with its steel wheels and portable stairs, was a popular meeting place for coffee, lunch, supper or snacks after movies at The Franklin Theatre.
Inside, Chapman set up a kitchen with a serving bar at one end, and wooden stools and counters underneath bare light bulbs in the dining area.
Of course, pies were a specialty.
In the early ’40s, Chapman sold the wagon, and it became Mrs. Smithwick’s Pie Wagon.
In 1946, the wagon finally closed up shop and rolled out of town.
However, today there is a Chapman’s II food truck.
Three years ago, Gwen and Dan Perkins renovated a historic trolley to look nearly identical to the original wagon. Friends order through the window at Chapman’s II, just like the original. The Perkins sold the business to Scot and Becky Keliher, who continue to operate the business in the spirit of the original Franklin food truck.