FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) – The past was recently unearthed for the present to appreciate. A green glass marble from the early 19th century, hand-cut nails, pottery and pearlware are just some of the more than 200 relics revealed in an archeological dig at Franklin Grove Estate and Gardens.
“Sometimes the ground speaks louder than what is on paper,” said Rachael Finch, Senior Director for Preservation, Education & Advocacy for the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County.
These discoveries allow Finch to fill in the blanks left in historical records that explain the significance of this charming 5.2-acre plot nestled on the corner of South Margin Street and 4th Avenue South, just two blocks from the Franklin Square.
“We want to authentically and transparently tell the story that has taken place here for well over 200 years,” Finch explained.
The project is headed by the foundation’s president Bari Beasley.
“This is a legacy project,” Beasley said.
Her team has plans to transform this site into a public oasis where pivotal moments of the past are highlighted.
“The main home here will be a museum of art. The other will be an innovation center,” Beasley explained. “We have a historical African American schoolhouse that will be moved here and interpreted to tell that important history. There will be beautiful gardens for people to enjoy.”
And the story of events which happened here will also be told — from the Revolutionary and Civil wars to the confederate spy who lived in one of the mansions. Then, a shift. The Union Army took over the property.
It eventually became a refugee camp for freed slaves and home to one of the first schools to educate African Americans.
“To know that that took place here, is a transformative story, and it’s a story that should be told,” Finch said.
And it starts by digging deeper to better understand the history rooted in Franklin.