By BROOKE WANSER
Downtown Franklin has been chosen as one of 25 main streets in a contest which will award $2 million to help with historical preservation.
Partners in Preservation: Main Streets is a community-based partnership between the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express to raise awareness about the importance of historical locations and their impact on modern day communities.
Kristy Williams, the executive director of the Main Street program, said Franklin would highlight Dr. McPhail’s office building, one of the oldest structures in downtown.
Located at 209 Main Street, that structure is now home to Early’s Honey Stand, owned by Lynda and Curt Gibbs, who sell honey, jams and meats.
“It’s one of the oldest buildings in town, and Early’s is the oldest retail in town,” said Williams. “Preservation works with one building at a time, and we are honored to be one of the 25 cities in America to get to this point.”
The small building, constructed around 1815, was once home to Dr. Daniel McPhail’s medical practice. Williams said the funding is a “brick and mortar” grant, which would be used for any needed renovations and modifications to keep the building as close to its historical aesthetic as possible.
Williams encourage citizens to vote as via the VoteYourMainStreet.org link, which can be done up to five times per day; voting runs from Sept. 25 through October 31. Sites with the most votes at the end of the voting period will be awarded grants until the full $2 million is distributed.
The public is also encouraged to use the social media hashtag #VoteYourMainStreet when sharing experiences from downtown.
Other downtowns in the contest include Detroit, Mich., Hyde Park in Chicago, Ill., Birmingham, Ala. and New Orleans, Louisana.
The Downtown Franklin Association will be hosting hosting an open house and program launch event on Friday, Oct. 6 during the Franklin Art Scene festivities. Williams said the event would include participants helping to paint a large paint-by-number image of the Dr. McPhail building.