News today of substantial damage to one of the historic buildings at the Park at Harlinsdale Farm was upsetting to leadership of Friends of Franklin Parks, LLC. Storms on Thursday night apparently caused significant damage to the building known as the Powerhouse, which was identified in the master plan for the 200-acre park as the potential site of a museum at the former Tennessee Walking Horse Farm, located on Franklin Road.
Friends of Franklin Parks Board President Dr. Monty McInturff said, “While natural disasters can strike any time and any where, the damage shows how important it is to stabilize and preserve historic buildings like the Power House, Main Barn, and the Hayes House at the Park at Harlinsdale. We are thankful for the work the City of Franklin has already undertaken on the Main Barn and Hayes House, but more work remains to be done in ensuring the historic significance of this piece of land is not lost for future generations.”
Friends of Franklin Parks, LLC, is currently working with the City for development of a multi-purpose equestrian arena on a five-acre tract behind the Main Barn at the park, which was purchased by the City in 2005. The project will bring the horse back to Harlinsdale, McInturff said, and hopefully spur interest in further restoration of the buildings, as well as usage of the park.
Friends of Franklin Parks, LLC exists to cultivate stewardship within our community to preserve our cultural and natural resources, enhance the park experience and expand its legacy for future generations. The Powerhouse is a semi-open building to the south side of the main barn at Harlinsdale, next to the dog park. Parks Department staff are evaluating the damage, and have notified Williamson County Emergency Management officials.
“This Power House has been on the Farm since the 1930s. We are reviewing the damage and considering our next steps for repair or demolition,” said Parks Director Lisa Clayton in a release from the City. The Park at Harlinsdale Farm, on the National Register of Historic Places, was a battle site during the Army of Tennessee’s retreat from Nashville. This land was the site of heavy fighting between the Confederate infantry and Federal cavalry. This property is also credited as the birthplace of the walking horse industry in Tennessee. Harlinsdale was a horse breeding farm and home of “Midnight Sun” who stood for 25 years. Harlinsdale is protected with a conservation easement held by the Land Trust for Tennessee.
The park will remain open and the public is asked not to go beyond the roped off areas.