As in many other towns throughout the South, the town of Franklin and the surrounding county of Williamson still bear scars from the Civil War. The Battle of Franklin occurred in November of 1864 along the banks of the Harpeth River. More than 1,500 Confederate soldiers are buried in the McGavock Confederate Cemetery on the grounds of the Carnton Plantation-once the county's most elegant estate. The house served as a field hospital for the Confederate Army during the Battle of Franklin, which lasted for five hours and left more than 8,000 soldiers dead.
A visit to Franklin's Carter House provides a look at life in the 1830s. This house contains original furnishings and artifacts from the Civil War. The Carter House served as the Federal Command Post during the war while the Carter family took refuge in the basement. The Lotz House contains relics and memorabilia from the Civil War, as well as exhibits about the Old West.
Natchez Trace Parkway is 8 miles west of downtown Franklin. Native Americans, traders and pioneers used the 444-mile Trace as they traveled through the wilderness that would become Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. Picnic areas, roadside exhibits, interpretive signs, and trails are found all along the Trace. The strikingly beautiful Natchez Trace Parkway is one of six "All American Roads" and was named a favorite drive by Southern Living Magazine readers.
Nashville is a short 15-mile drive north of Franklin. The Country Music Capital of the World, Nashville is home to the Grand Ole Opry, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Nashville isn't only about music, however. Called the "Athens of the South," the city's architecture was influenced by the Greeks as can be seen in government buildings, the Parthenon in Centennial Park and the columned plantation homes. The city's museums showcase the fine arts as well as Civil War artifacts, displays and exhibits celebrating the state of Tennessee. The Cumberland Science Museum features interactive exhibits about astronomy, the physical sciences, natural history, health and world cultures. The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere contains exotic and native animals along with an aquarium and play area.
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