Merrill-Williams House

The Merrill-Williams House at 264 Natchez St. in downtown Franklin

A couple of area food truck owners are partnering to host a fundraiser for the Merrill-Williams House on Natchez Street Saturday, Aug. 14, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the parking lot of Limestone Baptist Church in Franklin.

The Merrill-Williams House, a historic home located at 264 Natchez St., came under a one-year option-to-purchase agreement with the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County in April this year. The organization must raise $610,00 before May 1, 2022, the date the contract will expire, according to a press release from the AAHS.

Fundraising is ongoing, and just recently Franklin natives Maurice Pope, owner of Moe Better BBQ & Fish, and Fred Curll, owner of So Smooth Soul Food, approached the AAHS and stated that they wanted to be a part of the preservation effort and began planning for the upcoming event. There will be food, a bake sale and a silent auction. All proceeds will go directly to the African American Heritage Society toward the purchase of the house. The public is invited and is encouraged to attend to support the preservation of one of Franklin’s historic treasures.

The entire Natchez Street District is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, but many homes are being lost to gentrification. The property at 264 Natchez is currently zoned for two homes, and the owner has received many calls from interested parties with that very goal in mind.   

“However, the community of Franklin is not going to allow that to happen,” AAHS President Alma McLemore said in the press release. “People are stepping up to support from all levels. Many people have made donations and the organization is grateful for how the community is responding.”

Limestone Baptist Church is located at 1613 West Main St. in Franklin.

AAHS is a 501(c)3 organization, and tax-deductible donations may be made payable to African American Heritage Society and mailed to: P. O. Box 1053, Franklin, TN, 37065, or go to mclemorehouse.com to make an online donation. You may also contact Maurice Pope at 615-349-6511or Fred Curll at 615-971-0474 for more information.