The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County’s Franklin Grove Estate & Gardens project has been named a finalist in the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express’s 2020 Partners in Preservation Award.
The only finalist in the state of Tennessee, Franklin Grove is competing against 19 other sites across the United States for a share of $2 million in grants to honor the contribution of women in their local communities.
In honor of the upcoming 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote, the Partners in Preservation program features 20 sites that each play a role in highlighting and raising awareness for the often-unrecognized contributions of women to American history and society.
A five-acre sanctuary just off the historic downtown square, Franklin Grove has long had educational ties, housing institutions such as a girls’ school in the early 1800s, a Freedmen’s School after the Civil War, and the O’More College of Design, founded by Eloise O’More.
Funding will support plans to turn the property’s two historic mansions into public exhibit space and an entrepreneur center; create new event space; and relocate an endangered Rosenwald school to the property for restoration, helping to transform the estate into an enduring history lesson.
“As Main Street Director for the Downtown Franklin Association, I believe Franklin Grove perfectly captures the spirit of this award,” said Jill Burgin, DFA Main Street Director. “Eloise O’More founded the college because at that time, she said there were very few female architects, and interior design was known more as a hobby rather than a career. She wanted to change that. Add to that the fact that Tennessee cast the 36th and final vote needed for ratification of the 19th amendment, and Franklin Grove is a perfect choice for this award.”
Through October 29, anyone can vote once per day for up to five of their favorite Partners in Preservation: Main Streets at VoteYourMainStreet.org. To cast your vote for the Franklin Grove project, specifically, please visit VoteYourMainStreet.org/Franklin. The voting platform is hosted by media partner National Geographic, and Delta Air Lines is also joining as a campaign sponsor for the third year in a row. The historic sites with the most votes will receive a share of $2 million in preservation funding from American Express, and each local partner is receiving an initial grant of $10,000 to increase public awareness of the importance of these historic places and build grassroots support for their Main Street district. Winning districts will be announced on Oct. 30.