Heritage Foundation Collaborates With Owners of Beechwood Hall to Preserve Historic Home

Beechwood Hall
photo from Presswire

The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN provided an update and timeline of events on its extensive and collaborative efforts with the owners of Beechwood Hall, a historic home located on 268 acres in Franklin, Tenn.

Beechwood Hall, which was at one point in danger of being destroyed, was built in 1856 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. An alliance of preservationists formed quickly after seeing “before and after” images of the iconic home, with demolition already in progress. In addition to the Pre-Civil War significance of Beechwood Hall, the home also holds important Tennessee and American music history, having once been owned by country music legend Hank Williams, Sr. and country music superstars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

Earlier in November, a group of concerned Franklin citizens formed “Save Beechwood Hall”, a grassroots movement to save the historic home.

The concerned citizen group shared that the Heritage Foundation did not place Beechwood Hall on the list of places to save in Franklin, even though the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In response, The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN, provided an update on its collaboration with the owners of the home.

“From the moment we learned of the challenges to Beechwood Hall, we immediately engaged its owners in an earnest and positive manner to explore various preservation options, which we have found, in our long history, is the best path to successful outcomes,” said Bari Beasley, President and CEO of the Heritage Foundation. “The complete resources of our organization are being placed into delivering a comprehensive preservation plan.”

Added Beasley, “A commitment to historic preservation from downtown Franklin and throughout Williamson County is what makes our community special. It is the fundamental mission of our Foundation made possible by generous and caring members of our community. We’re thankful for the owners of Beechwood Hall allowing us to work with them.”

The Heritage Foundation was the only official organization allowed on-site to assess the Beechwood Hall property, which had been uninhabited for many years before being acquired by the current owners in June of 2021 from a local investment partnership. After its purchase, the owners made initial steps to stabilize the property. Once engaged, the Foundation executed additional strategies to secure Beechwood Hall from further damage from elements, animals, and more as protecting the home now is a vital step to potential long-term preservation.

The Foundation’s role with the property owners is to provide preservation expertise, advisement, and to facilitate access to preservation resources from outside entities. The organization acknowledges and respects private property rights and recognizes that the owners are the only decision makers who will ultimately determine what is done with the property.

What’s Next?

With the home better prepared for the coming winter months, the Heritage Foundation and its accomplished team of in-house preservationists are also working with external partners, such as the Tennessee Historical Commission, to ensure the best possible team for preservation planning.

“Preservation works best when people work together towards a common goal,” said Patrick McIntyre, Tennessee State Historic Preservation Officer and Executive Director of the Tennessee Historical Commission. “Helping save Tennessee’s treasured historic places is at the core of our agency’s mission. Our office is proud to support the Heritage Foundation and its talented and committed staff in this important endeavor. They have shown incredible leadership in mobilizing quickly to potentially preserve Beechwood Hall. As the State Historic Preservation Office, we are committed to help this effort come to a successful resolution.”

The team has assessed and researched the site and has already begun this work, with plans to present the preservation plan early next year.

Clearing Up Inaccuracies

Recently, national reports and other inflammatory statements have caused unwarranted distress to Beechwood Hall ownership and the Foundation’s focus on collaborative preservation efforts.

The Heritage Foundation has published a FAQ on its website with a factual overview of events and activity on site, clearing up a number of misconceptions about the property and preservation efforts:  https://williamsonheritage.org/beechwoodhall/.

Beasley added, “We’re thankful for all enthusiasm for preservation, and we share it. Staying positive and supportive of collaborative efforts will best position all parties for success.”

As the process continues to advance towards resolution, the Heritage Foundation will continue to post updates on the news section of its website: https://williamsonheritage.org.

Find updates about Save Beechwood Hall concerned citizen group here. 

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