One of the reasons my husband and I moved to Franklin 8 years ago and chose this bucolic town to raise our family is Franklin’s dedication to historic preservation. The Heritage Foundation, along with organizations such as The Battle of Franklin Trust and the Franklin Historic Zoning Commission have made preserving the history and iconography that is Franklin important and as a service to the public good.
One of iconic those buildings in Ward 4 is the Factory and it’s beloved Water Tower. Featured on the famous posters by Nashville’s Anderson Design Group, it has become a symbol of Franklin as much as Main Street and the statue in the circle downtown have. In a June 29 article in The Tennessean it was noted that the lawyer for the Factory was seeking the approval for “the demolition of obsolete infrastructure”. The fallout from that announcement was swift with community concern expressed and even a contract for the new concept by East Nashville’s Pharmacy co-owner Terry Raley Liberty Green potentially at risk.
The Factory ownership group has submitted an engineering study indicating that the removal is for public safety, and if this is true, I would encourage the Franklin Historic Zoning Commission to thoroughly review the report. Yet, I wonder if haste is a problem here and hindsight is 20/20. If the current structure is no longer engineeringly sound, why not work to restore it to safety or even put up a replica in its place? We cannot just remove landmarks without realizing the impact that such markers make on our community and economic potential. The Franklin Factory is a hub of commerce, entertainment, dining and culture. It houses Studio Tenn as well as Five Daughters Bakery. Part of what makes the Factory unique is it’s multi-purpose space and its unique layout, including its Water Tower, which harkens back to the time it was an actual factory. Public safety should always be important but we must also make decisions that take into account our identity. I firmly believe we can Save the Franklin Factory Water Tower, while making it engineeringly sound, and I look forward to hearing the thoughts and ideas from many of you to achieve this goal.