Cowan Cemetery, John and Jane Cowan, Sweeney Hollow

Cowan Cemetery, John and Jane Cowan, Sweeney Hollow

The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County has launched its newest preservation advocacy program that seeks to identify historic places that are vulnerable to demolition, development or neglect, according to a press release from the organization. 

Known as Sites to Save, the list will highlight properties that are historically significant and endangered because of age, condition or potential developmentIt is designed as a tool to help the community come alongside the Heritage Foundation in its efforts to raise awareness of Williamson County’s significant historic, cultural, geographical and archaeological resources including buildings, structures, cemeteries, historic districts, archaeological sites, and natural and cultural landscapes.  

Wilbur Corn House, mid-1960s, torn down to make way of gas station

Wilbur Corn House, mid-1960s, torn down to make way for gas station

Nominations can come from individuals, preservation organizations, downtown and neighborhood revitalization organizations, historical societies, historic road associations, local governments and other interested parties, and can include historic structures, cemeteries and natural resources.  

“Historic places are the blueprints of our communities, and it takes all of us working together to preserve and protect them for future generations,” said Rachael Finch, senior director of preservation and education. “Sites to Save will elevate the identification and preservation of our county’s historic places and offer help to counter specific threats by working with our citizens and local leaders to provide viable solutions to save our history.” 

Historic preservation has long been important in Williamson County, and Heritage Foundation preservationists see the endangered list as a way to generate creative approaches to preservation and connect property owners with resources to ensure that historic places are saved and rehabilitated for future generations.  

Gas Station, 5th and Bridge, built in place of the Corn House, 1980

Gas station, 5th and Bridge, built in place of the Corn House, 1980

Nominations will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. Friday, April 16, and evaluated by Heritage Foundation preservationists and members of the organization’s preservation and advocacy committee. Each nominated property will be reviewed for its value to local, regional, state, and/or national history and the nature of the specific threat involved and then narrowed down to a final list of Williamson County’s most endangered historic places.  

Properties remain on the list each year until such time as the threat is lessened or the property is preserved. The primary benefit of the endangered list will be public awareness, advocacy and action.  

“We understand that our quality of life is special and rare, and we know that protecting it doesn’t happen by accident. Preservation has to be intentional, especially in an area that has seen the growth we’ve seen in Williamson County,” said Jill Burgin, director of advocacy and government relations for the Heritage Foundation.

“Through education, advocacy and collaboration with community partners, we hope to help shape public policy and inform residents about local historic resources and share the value of those resources to the cultural fabric of our community.”   

This year’s Sites to Save list will be revealed during National Preservation Month at the Heritage Foundation’s annual meeting on May 18. Click here to nominate an endangered historic place in Williamson County. 

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