NASHVILLE — Governor Phil Bredesen announced today that the state will provide an enhancement grant in the amount of $960,000 to assist with Phase I of the Preservation and Interpretation of the Carter Cotton Gin site at the Franklin Battlefield in Williamson County.
The grant funds will be used to acquire property along Columbia Pike near the national landmark Carter House at the site of the Carter cotton gin building in order to eventually restore the site and develop an educational park. The Carter cotton gin structure saw some of the fiercest fighting during the 1864 Battle of Franklin. Columbia Pike was a key thoroughfare for Federal troops moving north from Spring Hill towards Nashville and the Tennessee Historical Commission hopes to restore the Union trench lines and rebuild the Carter cotton gin building. The area around the Carter cotton gin building was a focal point of the Confederate attack during the fighting at Franklin which was a one of the most brutal battles of the entire Civil War. The battle was a definitive point of conclusion for the Confederate efforts in Tennessee.
“As the state commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, I am pleased to help preserve this important piece of the battlefield from the Battle of Franklin,” said Governor Bredesen. “Five of the most ferocious hours of fighting in the American Civil War occurred on and near this site resulting in the deaths of some 9,000 people. Restoring this battlefield will ensure the sacrifices made by many at this site will forever be remembered.”
Fred Prouty, Director of Programs for the Tennessee Wars Commission added, “The Carter cotton gin site is located at the epicenter of the Battle of Franklin and preservation of this property will provide historians a unique opportunity to uncover long hidden details of the battle. This project has broad local support and more than 400 citizens have signed letters of support for this project.”
The grant is made possible through a federally funded program administered by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
“Transportation enhancement grants provides cities, counties and state organizations the opportunity to fund the restoration of historic facilities, bike and pedestrian trails, landscaping, streetscaping and other non-traditional transportation projects,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “The City of Franklin and Williamson County are nationally recognized for their work to preserve and restore sections of the Battle of Franklin battlefield and I’m pleased TDOT is able to assist with securing this historic site.”
TDOT has funded more than $200 million in transportation related projects through the Transportation Enhancement Grant Program. The federal grant program was established by Congress in the early 1990’s to fund activities designed to strengthen the cultural, aesthetic and environmental aspects of the nation’s transportation system.