Heritage Foundation of Williamson County inks deal to buy Franklin's McConnell House

The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County has entered a contract to buy the historic McConnell House from McConnell Hospitality Group for an undisclosed sum. (Courtesy-Visit Franklin)
The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County has entered a contract to buy the historic McConnell House from McConnell Hospitality Group for an undisclosed sum. (Courtesy-Visit Franklin)

The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County has entered a contract to buy the historic McConnell House from McConnell Hospitality Group for an undisclosed sum. (Courtesy-Visit Franklin)

The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County has entered a contract to buy the historic McConnell House building at 108 Bridge St. from the McConnell Hospitality Group, the preservation nonprofit announced Feb. 22.

The heritage foundation plans to maintain the McConnell House as an historical landmark. The foundation will also host mission-centric gatherings for the nonprofit and continue the McConnell House’s operation as a publicly available venue for private events.

Steve Citerin, assistant vice president of marketing and communications for the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, declined in an email to disclose the price the Heritage Foundation paid for the building.

The McConnell House is on the National Register of Historic Places. Originally known as White’s Tavern and dating back to 1803, Williamson County operated a two-story jail building on the property from 1905 until a new jail was constructed on the same street, according to the foundation.

The foundation also owns the subsequently built jail, which was traditionally known as the “Old, Old Jail” at 112 Bridge St. Following its acquisition by the heritage foundation, the building was renamed the LeHew-Magid Big House for Historic Preservation in honor of two families who paid more than $900,000 to help acquire it.


In a statement, Bari Beasley, president and CEO of the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, said the nonprofit felt fortunate to be able acquire the property that could be used to host events.

“This is a remarkable moment in our organization’s history,” Beasley’s statement said. “As the immediate neighbor of our LeHew-Magid Big House for Historic Preservation, the McConnell House building has long been appreciated and admired by our team. The fact that it became available now feels serendipitous as closing on this deal would allow its history to be preserved and shared while continuing to make this beautiful building accessible for the public.”

The announcement also referenced plans to incorporate McConnell House into the foundation’s current capital campaign for the $31 million preservation project known as Franklin Grove Estates & Gardens. That project seeks to rehabilitate and reuse two 19th century mansions on the site of the former O’More College of Design at 423 S. Margin St.

Franklin’s Historic Zoning Commission voted Feb. 14 to recommend city boards reject the foundation’s Franklin Grove plans, citing that the inclusion of a 3,800-square-foot venue hall detracted from the historically designated mansions.

The owner selling the McConnell House, The McConnell Hospitality Group, has operated the property as a venue-for-hire for weddings, reception dinners and corporate events, according to their website.

The Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen, and the Franklin Municipal Planning Commission are expected to discuss the Franklin Grove Estates & Gardens’ proposal at a meeting at 5 p.m. Feb. 24 at Franklin Town Hall, 109 3rd Ave. S., Franklin.

For more information about the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, visit www.williamsonheritage.org.
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