Photo: Gruber (left), Shaffer and Finch hold up a marker about to be installed
On Tuesday morning in the mud and rain, Fort Granger Park and its trails, set above and behind Pinkerton Park off Eddy Lane in Franklin, had brand new historic markers installed.
The six signs contain much more information than the previous markers and are the culmination of over a year of combined work by the Civil War Trails program, Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, the City of Franklin Parks Department and the Battlefield Preservation Commission.
The Parks and Recreation Department along with the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area did all the heavy lifting- providing a thoroughly researched and written packet including powerful high-resolution photos.
Rachael Finch, a member of the Franklin’s Battlefield Preservation Commission and a former project coordinator for the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, wrote the text of the signs. Drew Huber, executive director of Civil War Trails, and Jason Shaffer, his deputy, created and installed them. All three were there in overalls and rain slickers Tuesday.
“We have the easy part,” Gruber said. “The hardest part is vetting the information, and writing it in a succinct but exciting way that really gives a sense of place. Our job took just about three months getting the physical markers ready. Rachel’s job was much harder.”
Finch, who has also been heavily involved in the restoration of the downtown Masonic Hall, said the process took nearly a year of researching, writing and having her work edited and vetted by the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area for the markers.
“The first sign starts with early Union occupation,” Finch said. “We actually talk about how this was Figuer’s Bluff, the sign over [by the entrance to the trail] talks about that, and then there are two markers that talk about African Americans and their experiences during the war and after, and another one on the construction of the fort itself, then another on the Battle of Franklin from the vantage point of Fort Granger and the last one on the big Unionist rally held during the height of Union occupation.”
The city of Franklin is excited about the added value the signs bring to visitors of the historic park and its beautiful overlook of the Harpeth River.
“These six signs, on their own are an eye-opening insight into Fort Granger’s importance to the City of Franklin not just during the Civil War but in the decades after,” Milissa Reierson, communications director for the city of Franklin, said. “Taken together with the region’s Civil War Trails sites, these signs present a consistent experience for visitors and an attractive resource for area residents.”