Nashville has been growing, and for the last few years, the fastest growing area has been 15 miles to the south in Franklin. It’s hard to say that Franklin is a suburb of Nashville, but for the all practical purposes it is, but it’s a suburb with history, and lot of it.
The Victorian commercial district of Franklin, with its commemorative brick sidewalks and beautifully renovated historic buildings housing elegant shops, is the heart of Williamson County. Downtown Franklin offers an eclectic mix of antique shops, gift and book stores, art galleries, clothiers, and an array of personal and professional services.
But if you prefer new to old, to the north side of Franklin along I-65 is Cool Springs, where you’ll find your favorite shopping at the Cool Springs Galleria, a destination claiming status as Middle Tennessee’s largest mall. Surrounding the Cool Springs mall are hundreds of places to eat, and the corporate offices of some of the largest employers in the south, who are taking advantage of the location and educated work force that Williamson county provides.
Many of the fine historic homes in Franklin and the surrounding countryside were built in the days of agricultural prosperity in the decades preceding the Civil War. The War itself saw skirmishes, spies, and the burning and raiding of homes. Then November 30, 1864, came the bloody and tragic Battle of Franklin, where Confederate forces charged entrenched Union soldiers near the Carter House and died by the thousands. The five hours of desperate fighting resulted in Confederate losses of more than 6,000 and Union losses of more than 2,000. History lovers flock to Williamson County to experience Franklin’s Civil War history, and many areas have been designated historical monuments to prevent any further loss of our historic treasures. Several examples of Civil War sights are the Carter house, the Lotz house, and the Carnton Plantation with the graveyard of 1,500 soldiers killed during the Battle of Franklin.
Franklin has several city parks with miles of walking trails and picnic areas along the Harpeth river, but the place that bikers and hikers really love is the Natchez Trace Parkway,what was once a footpath for Native Americans, is now 444 miles of smooth pavement with hiking and riding trails throughout the length. No commercial vehicles are allowed on the Natchez Trace, or commercial buildings for that matter. It’s not unusual to see more deer in an hour than cars or motorcycles.
Downtown Franklin has annual events like the Dickens of Christmas and the fall Jazz Festival, the streets are used for pedestrians only and the small city can safely host over 50,000 visitors. Outdoor concerts are common in Franklin and the largest rodeo east of the Mississippi happens every year at the Franklin Ag center.
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