Literally every single day of the week it seems someone new experiences Franklin, Tennessee for the first time and falls in love with our quaint, historic Main Street then proceeds to tell the whole world about it. Seeing those stories surface online make my job at Visit Franklin fun! After all, it’s our mission to attract the world to come and experience Franklin firsthand.
Upon first glance, Franklin might appear to be a sleepy small town, but actually, it is loaded with history and fun for the whole family. While Nashville has become the “It City,” Franklin and Williamson County is where those cultural influencers, musicians, and thought leaders choose to plant their roots. Meaning it’s not too uncommon to be strolling around Leiper’s Fork and run into them at Puckett’s or White’s Mercantile.
We also know most of you reading probably aren’t familiar with much of the history surrounding Franklin, Tennessee so I decided to put together a fun list of facts you’ll want to know as you plan your upcoming visit! 😉
Here we go!
Starting at the top, it’s vital to know Franklin, Tennessee was named after the great Ben Franklin and was founded in 1799 by Abram Maury. He initially called it Marthaville after his wife, Martha Maury. However, Martha insisted it be named Franklin instead after one of America’s Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin.
2. Historic Main Street
Our Main Street was designated a Great American Main Street by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1995 along with only five others at the time. And in 2016 alone, Franklin welcomed over 1.43 million visitors, many experiencing Main Street for the first time. Next time you plan to visit, be sure to stop by our Visitor Center on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Main Street so we can welcome you in person!
3. Many Firsts
Franklin is full of firsts including the fact that Early’s Honey (pictured above) was once Dr. McPhail’s office, the first doctor in Tennessee to successfully administer anesthesia. How cool is that?
4. The Crown Jewel of Main Street
If you’ve never experienced a show at the Franklin Theatre, then it’s something you need to make happen soon. Opened in 1938 as the first air-conditioned building in town, Franklin Theatre has gone on to become one of the most treasured venues in the nation.
After an epic renovation that made national headlines, the theater is now considered a state-of-the-art music venue hosting a variety of artists such as Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Keb’ Mo,’ Jason Isbell, and countless more. The theatre may only have 322 seats, but they are the most intimate 322 seats you’ll experience!
5. Breathtaking Excellence
I continue to be amazed at the photos taken and shared of The Natchez Trace double-arched bridge. In every season there are thousands of visitors making their way up and down the trace stopping to snap a breathtaking view.
But did you know this incredible feat of engineering received the Presidential Award for Design Excellence in 1995? Remember that the next time you drive under or across!
6. Oldie But a Goodie
The oldest building on the Franklin square, first built in 1815, is now home to one of Franklin’s newest downtown businesses Twine Graphics.
Next time you’re strolling Main Street be sure to stop in and say hello to John and Brandon. They’re the best!
These are obviously just a few of the notable and historic facts Franklin, Tennessee boasts but if you want to learn more, click the image above and request your own copy of our newest Visitor Guide and begin planning your trip today!