10,000 steps and 6 historic walks in Franklin that will blow your mind!
The Visit Franklin Team has been in an intense stepping challenge this year, and when I say intense, I mean INTENSE. We’re talking marching 5,000 steps before getting into bed only to find out you lost the monthly challenge by 20 steps intense. This month, I decided to get a jump start on the step challenge and take a long walk in historic downtown Franklin, Tennessee!
While I am prone to aimlessly wander and find beautiful homes and architectural masterpieces during my travels, I’m so thankful that we have a well-curated self-guided walking tour of downtown Franklin! I’ve worked in Franklin for over four years and learned so much about some of the beautiful buildings I walk by every single day without even thinking about it. Not only did I learn a ton of fun facts – like that Fair Street is actually named after the 1859 location of the county fair – I also earned over 10,000 steps and got my month started on the right foot…ha! See what I did there?
The Historic Downtown Franklin Walking Tour is available for free in the visitor center and makes for a great family-friendly activity, as well as a fun solo adventure! The tour covers nearly five miles and can be completed in one afternoon or broken up into multiple days. Check out these walking loops (and some of the highlights from the tour) below!
Great American Main Street Loop
The Great American Main Street loop beings at Public Square in downtown Franklin, Tennessee and loops down Main Street to St. Paul’s Episcopal and back up to Public Square. The loop covers .7 miles of one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants, churches, and historic buildings. The entire loop can be completed in about an hour if you aren’t tempted to stop into all the shops on Main Street – but we know you will be, so we recommend giving yourself plenty of time!
Arts & Antiques Loop
Did you know that Franklin Antique Mall was once Franklin’s “Ice House?” When ice was harvested from lakes in the north and shipped to the south, the now antique mall housed the ice and kept it frozen. You can learn facts like this along the Arts & Antiques Loop of the walking tour. The loop is a little over half a mile long and starts at Masonic Hall. It features present-day art galleries, churches, and private residences. This loop is walkable in about 40 minutes.
Haunts & Headstones Loop
The Haunts & Headstones loop of the walking tour is framed around Old City Cemetery and Resthaven Cemetery. The loop features stories of homeowners that were heavily involved in the Civil War as well as the story of the Unknown Soldier. In 2009, a Civil War soldier’s remains were uncovered during a construction project on Columbia Avenue. His remains were reinterred in Rest Haven Cemetery after a 19th century funeral and procession by horse-drawn caisson. I was shocked to discover the columns, and architectural relics that make up the monument for the soldier originally surrounded Tennessee’s state capitol!
This loop is .63 miles and takes about 40 minutes to complete.
Historic Homes of Hincheyville Loop
In the heat of summer, the Historic Homes of Hincheyville loop is the one you’ll want to complete! This loop is lined with large shade trees and makes for a pleasant, leisurely stroll through Franklin. Clocking in at .97 miles, this loop features historic homes located in Franklin’s first subdivision. The neighborhood is comprised primarily of single-family homes constructed in 1828-1935. The loop even features a “Painted Lady!”
Battle of Franklin Loop
The Battle of Franklin loop (1.14 miles long) is the longest and begins at the intersection of Columbia Ave and Main Street (Five Points). The loop tells the story of the Battle of Franklin – known as the “Five Bloodiest Hours” of the Civil War. The loop features the stories of Lotz House Civil War Museum, Carter Cotton Gin Site, Carter House, and the Former Site of Franklin High School. For the full story of the Battle of Franklin, you’ll want to take the tours of Lotz House, Carter House, and Carnton (tour the Carter grounds and museum for only $6), but this is an excellent primer of the story!
Margin to Main Loop
The Margin to Main loop begins at Fourth Avenue and Main Street and takes you to the Abbey Leix Mansion on South Margin and back up to Five Points in downtown Franklin. This loop clocks in at .7 miles and features lots of historic homes on tree-lined streets. If you love the pages of Southern Living, you’ll love admiring the houses on this loop! Give yourself at least 40 minutes to complete this one, as you’ll be stopped in your tracks by the beauty of these homes!
Have you completed the Franklin Walking Tour? What’s your favorite loop? Let me know in the comments below!