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PHOTO: A banner is pulled back to reveal the new name of the Heritage Foundation’s headquarters at the Old, Old Jail on Thursday, October 11, 2018. / Brooke Wanser

By BROOKE WANSER

Preservation leaders in Williamson County gathered Thursday for the rededication of the Old, Old Jail as the LeHew Magid Big House for Historic Preservation, after three people paid off the building’s $1 million in debt earlier this year.

Calvin and Marilyn LeHew and Emily Magid retired the note for $915,000 in debt on the building, earning them distinction in the naming.

The LeHews previously donated $1 million for the rehabilitation of the Old, Old Jail in 2014, and have been longtime preservationists in Franklin.

Magid has been called “the angel of the Franklin Theatre” for her donation to the Heritage Foundation to purchase the theatre in 2007, and chaired the Heritage Ball this September.

A Nashville native, Magid can be found volunteering at the Heritage Foundation each Tuesday, something she has done for the past two decades.

The Heritage Foundation purchased the building in 2013. It has the distinction of being the county’s second jail; the Old, Old, Old Jail was in the neighboring building to the north, while the newer Old Jail was decimated in the 2010 flood and later torn down.

When the Foundation moved their headquarters there, Magid said people had to wear HAZMAT suits inside.

“It was pretty rough, and it looked pretty decrepit,” said Josh Denton, the Heritage Foundation’s vice president of sponsorship and development.

“It’s a real treasure that’s saved,” Denton said of the jail building, which has a rich history visitors and residents can discover on tours of the inside.

Now that the Old, Old Jail has been paid off, Heritage Foundation CEO Bari Beasley said they would set their sights on “the biggest undertaking in the history of the Heritage Foundation:” saving and putting into use the old O’More College building, which will cost them $6 million.

Beasley said the historic home would be used to create a multi-use campus the whole community could enjoy.

New lettering on the front of the building was revealed, bearing the LeHew and Magid names, and new plaques inside feature names and photos of major donors to the Heritage Foundation.

Before the unveiling ceremony, two dozen gathered under a tent behind the building while classical music played and waiters served hors d’ouvres and libations.

After, a cake replica of the building adorned the dessert table, and guests were invited to sample the treat and toast with champagne flutes.

 

 

 

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