New battlefield signage, trails expected in 2016 at Carter Hill


New battlefield signage, trails expected in 2016 at Carter Hill

With the recent approval and handover of the Carter Hill Battlefield Park property, signage and walking trails within the new acreage will become implemented in 2016.

With the recent approval and handover of the Carter Hill Battlefield Park property, signage and walking trails within the new acreage will become implemented in 2016.

“You will see the signature of the fencing around it along with trails,” Franklin Parks Director Lisa Clayton said. “You will also see us working with the community on interpretational signage other than daily maintenance. We will make an impact this year.”

The soon-to-be 20 acre park will encompass parcels that used to house Pizza Hut and Domino’s Pizza. The two other pieces of land across the street on Columbia Avenue still have 1920s houses that will move during the next 12 months. In total, the city received 11 properties valued at $6.97 million.

Union and Confederate soldiers fought in two of the bloodiest hours of the Civil War on the grounds during the Battle of Franklin in November 1864.

“Keep in mind that more than 2,000 Americans die here and sustained wounds that lasted for the rest of their life,” vice chairman of the Civil War Trust Mike Grainger said. “Those men in that battle were someone’s children, someone’s father. If that happened to us, we would want that land to be recognized.”

In order to prepare the new park, Clayton said they would work to tell the whole story so it will tie all of the city’s battlefields together. To create the signage, the Parks Department will work with local historians, the state historian and the Battlefield Preservation Commission to create the most ideal presentation.

“It may start at the Carter House, depending on how far the new properties are once the house are removed,” Clayton said. “Then it will stretch across the street to tie everything together.”

The Carter House cotton gin site will also have its foundation researched and eventually have a structure representing what stood more than a century ago. Soldiers used the Cotton Gin site during the Battle of Franklin more than 150 years ago. Union troops built a federal line to battle with Confederate soldiers, moving toward the center of town on Gen. John Bell Hood’s campaign to Nashville.

This past summer, Calvin Lehew, a community leader and philanthropist, 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 cost around $2 million.

“The cotton gin needs to be interpreted,” Clayton said. “It’s one of the most important things we have. They’ve already done a lot of research on what should it look like.”

For now, plans for the Carter Hill Battlefield Park will go through the budget process before the beginning of the complete implementation.

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

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