(Franklin, Tenn.) - An event long desired by battlefield preservationists throughout the United States begins today with commencement of the demolition of the Cameron Strip Center on the Franklin battlefield. The property, acquired by the Civil War Trust and Franklin's Charge in partnership with the State of Tennessee in December 2012, is located at the epicenter of the Franklin battlefield. To mark the occasion, Civil War Trust President James Lighthizer issued the following statement:
"Reclamation of this hallowed ground has been a goal of battlefield preservationists for more than a generation. Thanks to the generosity of private donors throughout the nation, this property will be restored to its wartime appearance and take its rightful place among the historic shrines already preserved at Franklin. I look forward to the day when young and old alike can visit this site to learn about the tragic battle that played a critical role in ending the Civil War in Tennessee."
In his remarks, Lighthizer noted that acquisition and preservation of this property would not have been possible without the cooperation of local preservation activists and state and municipal government officials: "Preserving and restoring this property is one of the most ambitious and complicated battlefield transactions ever undertaken in Tennessee. It was only possible through the hard work of Franklin's Charge, the generosity of thousands of Civil War Trust members, and a partnership with the Tennessee Historical Commission, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, and the City of Franklin."
The Civil War Trust and Franklin's Charge intend to restore the property to its 1864 appearance, eventually incorporating the site into a battlefield park. The two groups also worked with strip center tenants to provide them with additional time to relocate their businesses. The Domino's pizza franchise plans to relocate to a new shopping center under construction nearby (another occupant has already relocated to different location).
This Sunday marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin, fought November 30, 1864. For more information about anniversary events, visit the Battle of Franklin Trust at www.battleoffranklintrust.org.
The Civil War Trust is the largest and most effective nonprofit organization devoted to the preservation of America's hallowed battlegrounds. Although primarily focused on the protection of Civil War battlefields, the Trust also seeks to save the battlefields connected to the Revolutionary War and War of 1812. To date, the Trust has preserved more than 40,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states - including 176 acres at Franklin. Learn more at www.civilwar.org.
(Photo Credit: Left, Civil War Trust, Right, Jay Sheridan, Sheridan PR)