Demolished with a pizza party, former Domino’s to become battlefield park


Demolished with a pizza party, former Domino’s to become battlefield park

A yellow backhoe pulled around the side of the former Domino’s building on Columbia Avenue and started falling apart as the machine operator continued to wail on the building.


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A yellow backhoe pulled around the side of the former Domino’s building on Columbia Avenue, which began to fall apart as the machine operator continued to wail on the building.

Onlookers stood on a small hill beside the site while water seeped out the back and the roof fell away. The HVAC system dropped down to the ground with the rest of the crumbled glass rock.

Ron Crutcher, who was in charge of the demolition, said it would take up to a week to complete the process. After that, the pieces from the building will become buried somewhere and the different metals extracted from the torn structure will be recycled.

“This is the beginning of the end and it feels good, and will feel good to have it completed,” Crutcher said. “We will keep tearing it down until it is all gone.”

The next steps will consist of removing the asphalt and putting down grass, which the city of Franklin will handle.

“We’ve waited for this day for almost 15 to 20 years,” said Donny Cameron, the building’s former owner. “I am glad it’s all put together. It’s the only commercial property we have ever sold.”

The pizzeria left the property about a month ago and relocated to 400 Downs Boulevard. Cameron held out for preservationists to purchase the land that will eventually become part of a 20-acre site called the Carter Hill Battlefield Park.

But before all demolition started, around 150 people huddled around a white tent and listened to 13 speakers share how either they influenced the project or why it was important to them. Attendees also ate free Domino’s Pizza and received red cups commemorating the occasion as the last slice of pizza on the battlefield.

Members from a re-enactment group shot at the building while other core members from Franklin’s Charge and the Heritage Foundation took a whack at the building with a sledge hammer.

Most standing at the podium in front of the maroon 150th Battle of Franklin anniversary banner had a direct connection with historic preservation either being with the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, Civil War Trust or Franklin’s Charge.

“I come with some regret that it’s taken 150 years to remember a landmark that both sides fought on for what they believe,” said Van West, Tennessee State Historian and director of the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area. “Some people wanted it to be a nightmare that was forgotten. But history fully told can empower.”

One speaker in particular, Calvin Lehew, a community leader, said he and his wife would soon donate all the money required to rebuild the historic cotton gin that once stood adjacent to the Carter house.

The Franklin’s Charge website said the effort in its entirety would costs around $2 million.

Ernie Bacon, a member of the Charge group, said because fundraising efforts have taken so long, they would start the preliminary talks to rebuild the structure.

“The goal is to interpret the land for the cotton gin,” Bacon said. “This is good news, but we still have other pieces property we are trying to buy that are pending.”

Emily West covers Franklin for Home Page Media Group. Contact her at emily@franklinhomepage.com. Follow her on Twitter at emwest22.

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