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PHOTO: Gary Rosenthal, a board member of the Battle of Franklin Trust, examines the Carter House Battlefield Park’s new cannon on December 1, 2017.//Photo by Brooke Wanser

By BROOKE WANSER

After discussion of the minutiae in defining a purpose, Franklin’s Battlefield Preservation Commission came to a near consensus on changing their name to the “Civil War Historical Commission.”

Including the words “Civil War” in the new name is important to the region’s history, said city preservation planner Amanda Rose.

The Battle of Franklin Trust’s Director of Development, Laurie McPeak, said people generally don’t understand the significance the Civil War had on the town and surrounding region.

“A lot of people come to the sites not really knowing,” she said. “They think it was something that happened 150-plus years ago, and they don’t really see the relevance of it,” she said.

“Civil War heritage is much more than those 40 years,” said Rose, pointing out that the name change might better describe the commission’s purpose, which is to serve as an advisory body to the city’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen in protecting and interpreting historic Civil War sites.

“We’re telling difficult history, and there’s still prevalent scars,” said Pam Lewis, who represents the Tennessee Preservation Trust. “If we say there’s not, we’re just sweeping it under the rug.”

With a proposal to change the name to include the word “heritage,” “We’re going to get more calls, but that’s fine,” said Annabeth Hayes, the Heritage Foundation’s Director of Preservation. “But I do think it reflects the purpose really well.”

But the commission discussed the connotation of the word “heritage.”

“The word heritage is slightly toxic, to outsiders,” said Sam Huffman, a representative of Save the Franklin Battlefield.

The suggestion of “historical,” however, was embraced by the majority of commission members, aside from Ernie Bacon.

Discussion of a name change comes among internal re-examination of the organization’s structure, scope, and purpose.

The commission will likely vote on a name change at the meeting next month.

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