Best Places to Live

Franklin, TN

Population: 83,534

Preservation in Franklin, TN, goes beyond just saving historic buildings. Preservation groups and government leaders joined forces to reclaim or take back portions of the city's Civil War battlefield that had been turned into a golf course and pizza restaurant.

Among the more recent success stories, and there are quite a few here, is the renovation of a movie theater that was built in 1937 and closed in 2007. The Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County used private donations to purchase the Franklin Theatre and spent $8 million to rehabilitate the historic landmark, which reopened to much fanfare in 2011.

The city contains seven historic districts that fall under local ordinances that restrict some changes to the exteriors of homes and commercial properties. Within the 16-block downtown district there are Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate and Victorian styles of architecture.

"In my mind, we are not just anywhere USA," says Mary Pearce, executive director of The Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County. "We are a place with an identity. People are going to relocate to communities that have a real character instead of by generic malls and geography of being nowhere. We attract visitors, better restaurants and more entertainment. That makes the town more fun to live in."

Franklin residents enjoy all the benefits of living near Nashville including pro sports teams, a world-class music scene and recreational amenities. Downtown Franklin has become a popular shopping district with restaurants, antiques stores and boutiques. Many attractions in Franklin are tied to the Civil War.

Number of Properties on the National Register of Historic Places (including districts): 77


• Named a Distinctive Destination in 2009 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation

• Picked to have one of the five Most Romantic Main Streets by the American Preservation Society

• 1995 Great American Main Street – National Trust for Historic Preservation

Historic Landmarks: Franklin Theatre (1937), Carter House (1830), Carnton Plantation (1826)