Great American Main Street

Stroll down historic downtown Franklin and discover the history behind each building, church, and home along this beautiful route through town. Complete this self-guided walking tour to receive a pin at the downtown Franklin visitor center!

Great American Main Street

  • Mobile exclusive
  • Instantly delivered via text and email
  • No apps to download
  • Explore historic Main Street Franklin

Stops on the trail

See locations on an interactive map.

Venue Image
McPhail-Cliffe Office
Dr. Daniel McPhail was the first doctor in Tennessee to successfully administer anesthesia to a patient and was also one of the original Tennessee Volunteers.
Venue Image
Saint Philip Catholic Church
An influx of Irish Catholic railroad workers after the Civil War energized the effort to establish St. Philip Catholic Church in 1871. Growth in the 1970s necessitated the series of buildings you see today encompassing four separate sanctuaries, all built between 1977 and 1997. Prior to the church,...
Show more
Venue Image
The Factory At Franklin
Built in 1929, The Factory at Franklin occupies the buildings that once served at the Dortch Stove Works, Magic Chef, and later the Jamison Bedding Company. A member of the National Register of Historic Places, The Factory at Franklin today has transformed into a diverse, vibrant shopping and entertainment complex.
Venue Image
Old Factory Store
Landmark Booksellers is housed in one of the oldest remaining buildings in Franklin, and the earliest example of Greek Revival architecture in Tennessee. After the Battle of Franklin, the building was used as a field hospital for both Union and Confederate soldiers. Today Landmark Booksellers is...
Show more
Venue Image
Shea House
Jeremiah Shea arrived in Franklin after the Civil War to wrk on the railroad and was one of the founders and builders of St. Philip Catholic Church. The Sheas later got into the grocery business, operating a store out of the Old Factory Store. The Shea House was demolished in 1950 and replaced by...
Show more
Venue Image
Truett's Livery Stable
John Truett operated a livery stable in the early 20th century at this location. He first stabled horses here, then cars. In 1919 with the advent of prohibition, Truett became the bootlegging kingpin of Williamson County by controlling 10 stills in the county. In 1925, a local constable named Sam...
Show more
Venue Image
Nashville Interurban Railway
On May Day 1907, construction began on an interurban commuter railway to connect Franklin and Nashville, which was completed over a year later on Christmas Eve, 1908. The Nashville-Franklin Interurban ran from May 1909 until November 1941 as an electric trolley. Better roads and the automobile...
Show more
Venue Image
Hotel Corner
The middle building built in the Victorian Style was the Mays Hotel and later the Post Hotel. A night at the hotel cost 10 cents, but in 1900, that did not guarantee a private room. The building in the corner was the original City Hall where the police, fire department, city recorder, and one jail...
Show more
Venue Image
The Square & Main
In the 1920s, The Franklin Kiwanis Club named Franklin "Tennessee's Most Handsome Town" to encourage business expansion. Today visitors agree that Franklin is one of the prettiest towns in the United States. An early 1990s Streetscape project complements the architecture with period lighting,...
Show more
Venue Image
Civil War Monument
In the years following the Civil War, cities and towns across the nation began to erect memorials for their war dead. Several Franklin women founded a chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy, raising $2,700 to purchase this monument; it took 17 years of bake sales and quilting bees to raise the...
Show more
Venue Image
Maury Darby Building
The oldest building on the square is the red brick building with the pitched roof. Its architecture is a federal style of which few examples remain in Franklin. By the time Franklin was founded, the federal-style was on the wane, replaced by gothic revival and classic revival.
Venue Image
F&M Bank Corner
The earliest photo of downtown Franklin was taken here in 1883. This building has been home to Joe Trice Hardware, Standard Hardware & Farm store, Snodgrass Gallery, and two banks.
Venue Image
Gray's On Main
Constructed in 1876, this building was originally the T.K. Fleming Company, a furniture stores, before being purchased in1930 by Franklin Gray, Jr., and D.C. Kinnard who turned it into Kinnard Gray Drug Company. It became Gray Drug Co., in the 1940s and the iconic sign was installed in 1952. In...
Show more
Venue Image
The White Building
Constructed in 1899, the building's wrought iron eave and belt course are its most significant decorative detailing and have a distinctively Irish flavor to it. In 1831, Michael Doyle bought the southern part of the original town play on which the White Building now stands. He and Hugh Dempsey were...
Show more
Venue Image
A.N.C. Williams' Store
Allen Nelson Crutcher Williams opened the first African American owned business in downtown Franklin in 1863, while still enslaved, operating a shoe repair business on the square to fix the boots of occupying Union soliders. After attaining his freedom in 1865, he purchased a lot on Second Avenue...
Show more
Venue Image
Gentry Building
Civil War Surgeon Dr. W.M. Gentry had the Gentry Building constructed in 1905 by Franklin contractor Green Williams. In 1937 Miss Susie sold the building to Mr. L.A.McCall who had his grocery store at that location for many years. His son, Mr. Tom McCall, owned McCall Electric and used part of the...
Show more
Venue Image
White Building
If you ask people why this building is called the White Building, they'll probably tell you because it's white. That's not the reason, Dr. John White who used it as his office built the building. It was his third building on Main Street. Today the building houses businesses and offices, which run...
Show more
Venue Image
St Paul's Episcopal Church
Reverend James Otey founded the "mother church" of the Tennessee Episcopal Church in 1827. Originally the building had a second floor - slave galleries over the ground floor seating. During the Union army occupation of Franklin from 1862-1865, the church did not have a resident rector or regular...
Show more
Venue Image
Franklin Cumberland Presbyterian Church
The Franklin Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized about 1871; this building dates to 1876. Hugh Cathcart Thompson of Franklin, who would later achieve fame as the architect of Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, the "Mother Church of Country Music," designed the structure in the style of gothic...
Show more
Venue Image
Williamson County Archives & Museum
Visitors will discover artifacts from the days of old that tell the story of Williamson County. The recreated Main Street display and the military room are filled with interesting objects from the Civil War through World War II. Vintage clothing, quilts, photos, military uniforms, tools, and more...
Show more
Venue Image
Williamson County Veterans' Park & Cannon
The Veterans' Park honors Williamson County servicemen who served in American wars from the Revolutionary War to the Gulf War. Bricks are inscribed with each solider's name and conflict. The largest brick is in honor of George Jordan, the only Williamson Countian to receive the Congressional Medal...
Show more
Venue Image
Historic Franklin Post Office
The United States Post Office at Five Points was built in 1924. In 1991, it was recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of the eleven most endangered sites in America because the USPO announced plans to close it. The building is now owned by the city of Franklin and today the postal service continues.
Venue Image
Historic Franklin Presbyterian Church
Gideon Blackburn organized the First Presbyterian Church in Franklin in 1811 and built the first church on a lot north of the City Cemetery on Fourth Avenue. By 1942, the church purchased this lot and bild the first of three sanctuaries at this location. The first, brick with slave galleries, was...
Show more
Venue Image
Livery Stable
Originally a livery stable, the large open arched entrance allowed horses and buggies to enter and leave the building. Later, the livery stable closed, driven out of bsuiness by the transportation innovation first called the "horseless carriage." The natural transition for this building was...
Show more
Venue Image
Franklin Theatre
The Franklin Theatre opened in 1937 as the first air-conditioned building in town with a seating capacity of 600 downstairs and 130 in the balcony, which during the era of Jim Crow, was for black patrons. The opening feature was "Night Must Fall," starring Montgomery Clift and Rosalind Russell....
Show more
Venue Image
4th Avenue & Main
As you walk along Main Street, stop and take a look at the roofline. Metal stars are visible from here on three buldings on the corner. These "star nuts" anchor metal rods that run through the buildings to keep them from sagging and protect against earthquakes.
Venue Image
Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant
Puckett’s focuses on providing visitors and friends, new and old, with great food and Southern hospitality. It's about authentic comfort food—barbecue smoked slow ‘n’ low over cherry wood, meat-n-three specials and even a few upscale dishes that make Puckett's a community kitchen - a local...
Show more
Venue Image
Dan German Hospital
Dr. Dan German purchased a frame house at this location in 1937 to establish a clinic, veneering the exterior with fieldstone. The Review-Appeal newspaper best described the hospital's opening in 1938: "This clinic fills a long needed hospitalization facility for Williamson County. The building is...
Show more
Venue Image
Former Site Of Tennessee Female College
The Tennessee Female College was organized in 1857 as a place of higher learning for young women. At the time, college did not mean further education after high school; it was what we now know as high school, and girls from Franklin, Middle Tennessee and even some from out of state attended here....
Show more
Venue Image
Abbey Leix Mansion At The Franklin Grove Estate & Gardens
The W.O.N. Perkins house burned during the Civil War. In 1867, Perkins rebuilt his house on the same foundation using material from the old County Court Clerk's office, located in the north corner of the square. He soon sold the house to William E. Winstead and the home became known as Winstead...
Show more
Venue Image
Williamson County Bank
Mellow Mushroom is located in the former Williamson County Bank building, founded in 1889. It remained a bank until 2005.
Venue Image
Old Williamson County Courthouse
Court was first held in a tavern, then in a little log building in the middle of the square. By 1809, a more permanent building arose in the same location that served until 1858 when the courthouse on the southeast corner of the square was built. Classic in appearance with a triangular pediment and...
Show more
Venue Image
Water Trough Corner
On this corner, there was once a public watering trough and livery stable where the current city hall stands. When visitors rode into town, they tied up their horses and let them drink at the trough. A grocery store, blacksmith shop, and the newspaper all conducted business here. The current...
Show more