Photo by Liz Cruise
Sharon and John McNeely with their rescued Greyhound, Keith

When it comes to the appreciation and preservation of historic properties, few are as passionate as Franklin couple John and Sharon McNeely. Fittingly, the McNeelys have been named Chairs of the 39th Annual Town & Country Tour of Homes, hosted by the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County.

“…We’ve always enjoyed the romance of an old house that bends and twists,” Sharon McNeely said.

The couple has owned three properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and they have worked with the Heritage Foundation on various preservation projects. Currently, they are working together to relocate the “Cotton Gin” house from the site of the new Carter’s Hill Battlefield Park.

In 2005, the McNeelys purchased a ca. 1888 Victorian home in Franklin’s Hincheyville Historic District. The home, which was one of the Heritage Foundation’s earliest preservation successes, was moved to its current site in the late 1970s and has previously been featured on the Tour of Homes.

“We’ve developed incredible relationships as a result of our living here and working with the Heritage Foundation and wanted to support the Tour of Homes as a spotlight on the importance of historic preservation,” Sharon McNeely said.

This year, the tour will commemorate an important date in local history. According to the Heritage Foundation’s website, “In honor of the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Franklin, this year’s tour will mostly feature homes and buildings standing during November 30, 1864. People lived or worked in each of those buildings and all have stories to tell about the Battle of Franklin and its aftermath.”

Sites include: The Harris-McEwen House (ca. 1832); The Eaton House (ca. 1816); The Old Williamson County Courthouse (ca. 1858); Landmark Booksellers (ca. 1808); The Saunders-Marshall-Wright Gardens (ca. 1805); The Masonic Lodge (ca. 1823-1826); The Harrison House (ca. 1810-1826); Laurel Hill (ca. 1854) and Rest Haven Cemetery (est. 1855). Other locations include The Roberts-Moore House (ca. 1898) and The Belle House, built in 2014 in Hincheyville by Thrive Homes.

Costumed re-enactors will be at each site sharing stories of the Battle of Franklin.

The Town & Country Tour of Homes will take place the weekend of June 7th and 8th. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. To purchase tickets or learn more, call the Heritage Foundation at 615-591-8500, x18 or click here.

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Andrea Hinds
Andrea has always loved the written word. She holds a B.A. in Journalism and a Masters in Creative Writing, both from Belmont University. Both sides of her family have lived in Williamson County for generations, so writing for Williamson Source is the perfect fit. She loves to hear stories of what Williamson County was like when her parents and grandparents were young and to write about this ever evolving county is truly special for her.