(Franklin, Tenn.) - The Civil War Trust and Franklin's Charge have made history once again-seven acres of battlefield have been purchased from underneath of development, and fundraising is complete.
The Trust closed at the end of December on the Dominos strip center, the centerpiece of a three-year campaign that included multiple parcels and fundraising totaling more than $3.2 million. Today, $67,000 in pledges to Franklin's Charge is all that remains for the property to be owned by the battlefield preservation organization, free and clear.
"Ten years ago, we named this one of the most endangered battlefields in America, and demanded that Franklin stop paving over its history," said Jim Lighthizer, President of the Civil War Trust. "Now we offer Franklin up as a national example of what can be done when a community is willing to make protection and appreciation of its history a priority. Franklin's Charge came together around the need, and what's been accomplished is truly unprecedented."
Three houses will be relocated from the property, and tenants will remain in the strip center until they can be moved to new locations. By early 2014, the lot should be cleared, and a team of historians along with Franklin's Charge, President, Paul Gaddis-Dr. Carroll Van West, Thomas Flagel, and Eric Jacobson-will begin archaeological surveying and research.
By the Sesquicentennial of the Battle of Franklin in November of 2014, the Carter Cotton Gin Park will be open to the public.
The Domino's strip center property is being purchased through a federally funded Enhancement Grant administered by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, along with funds from the Trust's fundraising and local efforts by Franklin's Charge.
"The City of Franklin is nationally recognized for its work to preserve and restore sections of the Battle of Franklin battlefield, and this property will help provide new details of the battle," said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. "I'm pleased TDOT is able to assist with securing this historic site."
Franklin's Charge's Julian Bibb received the Shelby Foote Preservation Legacy Award from the Civil War Trust in 2011, Franklin's Charge received the same award in 2006, and is considered to be one of the most successful battlefield preservation collaboratives in the nation. Its membership consists of representatives of the African-American Heritage Society, the Battle of Franklin Trust, the Carter House Association, the Civil War Trust, the Williamson County Chamber of Commerce, the Harpeth River Watershed Association, the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County, Historic Carnton, Inc., the Land Trust for Tennessee, Inc., Save the Franklin Battlefield Association, the Tennessee Civil War Preservation Association, the Tennessee National Civil War Heritage Area, the Tennessee Preservation Trust, and the Williamson County Convention and Visitors Bureau.