For Immediate Release: 06/27/01
Preservation Trust Applauds Decision to Postpone Construction at Harrison House
CWPT urges Williamson County School Board to consider an alternative site for new school
(Franklin, Tenn.) - In a letter to the Williamson County School Board, the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) commended that group for postponing construction of an elementary school adjacent to the historic Harrison House. CWPT also urged the board to place a moratorium on construction at the site until an alternative location for the school can be determined and acquired. The Harrison House served as Confederate Army headquarters during the Battle of Franklin.
"The board is to be commended for its thoughtful consideration of nationally important historic resources," writes CWPT President James Lighthizer in his June 25 letter. "While a school can be built almost anywhere, Civil War resources are non-renewable components of the heritage of all Americans."
Bulldozers have already been at work on the site, preparing the property for future construction. Earlier this year, the school board rejected a compromise offer by the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County (HFFWC) that would have allowed for a tree-lined buffer zone between the new school and the house.
"Historic resources can serve as the fabric of a community's heritage, establishing defining characteristics that can be marketed as a heritage tourism destination that supports the regional economy. They should not be compromised," Lighthizer noted.
The Harrison House served as General John Bell Hood's headquarters during the November 30, 1864 Battle of Franklin. It was in this house that Hood devised a disastrous plan that all but ruined the Confederate Army of Tennessee. Ignoring the advice of subordinates, he ordered his men to charge heavily entrenched Union forces under Maj. Gen. John Schofield. The resulting fiasco cost the Confederate Army more than 7,300 casualties.
With 35,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation's endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds through education and heritage tourism.