The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County announced June 9 it has debuted a new preservation advocacy program, Sites to Save, which identifies properties throughout the county that are considered at risk and in need of preservation efforts.

The nonprofit organization intends to release a list of properties each year to raise public awareness, according to a news release. Properties will remain on the list until the threat of development or deterioration has been addressed or the property is preserved.

“As we continue fulfilling our mission of saving and sharing historically rich places and stories throughout our entire county, the Sites to Save program is a natural next step," Heritage Foundation President and CEO Bari Beasley said in a release. “Historic preservation has long been important in Williamson County and its cities, and our organization sees the endangered list as a way to generate creative approaches to preservation and connect property owners with resources to ensure that historic places are saved and rehabilitated for future generations.”

The 2021 Sites to Save list includes:

  • The Historic Franklin Masonic Hall: Built in 1823, the home has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and is the oldest three-story building in Franklin. The building currently faces structural challenges.

  • The Merrill-Williams House: The historic home was built in 1881 and was listed for sale last fall.

  • The Williamson iron furnace on Caney Fork Road: Built in 1823, it is the only known iron furnace in Williamson County.

  • The Civil War earthworks in Triune: Spread over 500 acres in Triune, the earthworks, or human-made barriers, featured stations for soldiers between Franklin and Murfreesboro.

  • Farmstead tracts in Nolensville: Several historic homes in Nolensville face the possibility of development as the area grows.

  • Creekside property: The Creekside home was built in 1835, and the property is currently up for proposed development that would include 34 homes and 132 apartment units.

According to the foundation, the top two sites—the Masonic Hall and the Merrill-Williams House—will receive between $25,000 and $50,000 in funding from HFWC, and fundraising will be available through events at the Franklin Theatre.

“We understand that our quality of life is special and rare, and we know that protecting it doesn’t happen by accident,” said Jill Burgin, HFWC director of advocacy and government relations, in a release. “Preservation has to be intentional, especially in an area that has seen the growth we’ve seen in Williamson County. While we respect the rights of property owners, we also want the public to know that being listed on the National Register of Historic Places isn’t a force field that protects a place in perpetuity. Preserving old structures takes knowledge and money, and we hope to help shape public policy and inform residents about these resources and share the value of these properties to the cultural fabric of our community.”

Residents can learn more about the HFWC Sites to Save list here.