Plans are under way to transform the Franklin Masonic Hall into a museum and cultural center that will interpret Franklin’s past and its connections to Tennessee and the United States.
The Historic Franklin Masonic Hall Foundation will announce the plans during a press conference at 10 a.m. Friday, March 8, with a reception and tour of the Hall to follow. Masonic Hall is located on Second Avenue South in downtown Franklin.
State historian Dr. Carroll Van West will deliver key remarks as well as other representatives from the community and the Foundation. Additional announcements will be made as well.
The Historic Franklin Masonic Hall Foundation, with the Masons of Hiram Lodge No. 7, established a Trust agreement, signifying the Foundation as the managing and operating entity of the Hall for the museum and cultural center, while the Masons retain ownership of the building. The nonprofit has funding to begin the initial phase of the rehabilitation on the historic building this summer.
In its nearly 200 years, Masonic Hall has witnessed complex history, first as the site of formative churches in Franklin and, most notably, the negotiation space for the Treaty of Franklin 1830 between President Andrew Jackson and the Chickasaw Nation.
During the Civil War the building served as a hospital, barracks and a quartermaster’s office. In response to the Franklin Race Riot of 1867, the Masons of Hiram Lodge No. 7 erected a wrought iron fence surrounding the Hall that still stands today.
Considered the only example of early Gothic revival architecture in Tennessee, the Franklin Masonic Hall is owned by the Masons of Hiram Lodge No. 7, the oldest, continually occupied lodge in Tennessee. The Franklin Masonic Hall is a National Historic Landmark and is one of the 10 oldest Masonic Halls still standing in the United States today.