The streets of downtown Franklin, Tennessee, feature brick sidewalks and Victorian buildings. Those buildings house local art galleries, restaurants, antique shops and more. If it sounds like a charming place, that’s because it is. Located just south of Nashville, the city of Franklin wears its historic charm proudly, as local merchants and community leaders work to blend the old with the new and the past with the future.
Franklin’s vibrant downtown is the work of local merchants and business owners, who have come together since 1984 as the Downtown Franklin Association (DFA). The DFA was one of the first organizations of its kind, coming along just a few years after the National Main Street Center was established in 1980. Since its launch, the DFA has followed the National Main Street Center’s approach to historic preservation and community development, which focuses on organization, design, promotion and economic restructuring.
As an early advocate of the Main Street movement, the DFA quickly stood out. In 1995, the National Trust for Historic Preservation (the parent organization of the National Main Street Center) named Franklin one of five “Great American Main Streets” in its first-ever Main Street competition. More recently, Franklin was named the “Best Southern Town” by Garden & Gun magazine in 2014.
These accolades recognize downtown Franklin’s historic charm and the relevancy it brings to the community today. Residents and visitors alike flock to downtown Franklin for antiques, rare books and delicious meals with a picturesque backdrop. In an increasingly homogenized, big-box world, Franklin provides a welcome change of pace.
The community also stays relevant with annual entertainment. Crowds gather in downtown Franklin for the community’s annual Main Street Brewfest, Pumpkinfest and Christmas events. The DFA works to promote these events and raise awareness for the local businesses that support the community.
In preserving the community’s historic charm, the DFA ensures that Franklin’s history remains part of its local legacy. Coupled with modern small businesses, this historic charm keeps the city relevant and popular. For more information on the Downtown Franklin Association, visit www.downtownfranklintn.com.
Photo from the Downtown Franklin Facebook page.