Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Donna McCollough, Executive Director for the Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce from September 1976-2004 and part of nominating committee for downtown initiative for economic growth through Downtown Franklin Association (DFA)-1985: "The "downtown" formed an association known as the Downtown Franklin Association in 1985. One of our first steps was to put the "business" district on the National Register for Historic Places. Marc Wagner (Architectural historian and register manager for Department of Historic Resources, Richmond, VA) walked through the "downtown" with me. We got up to "the top of the hill" (repeating his reaction-her eyes got big to show surprise) he said "You need to get THIS on the National Historic Register!" ...

Unfortunately they were only thinking about the commercial area at the time. After an association for downtown business is formed, they become part of the Main Street initiative but it all promotes preservation. The fact that they weren't thinking about the old houses becoming a tourist attraction should've been a sign for me to run.

"Do you have a copy of that (NHR)?" I asked. I was making enemies already. I got my copy and contacted Dept of Historic Resources (DHR) that day. That's when I met Paige Weiss. She shared all her knowledge she had learned from college, earning at least a four year degree on this subject, she talked to me for about an hour and a half. Paige Weiss, Architectural Historian, Department of historic Resources, Richmond, VA, at the time and my first contact for historic preservation, played an integral role for quite sometime in my efforts.!search/profile/person?personId=334803765&targetid=profile

I had found out that I needed to round up more people in the neighborhood to be on my side. Bottom line. More people who thought like me. I needed to utilize the NHR and give myself a self guided walking tour of the historic district and arm myself with information. First lesson learned: it is always good to do your homework and get your facts straight before going head on into a project of this size. I had to learn what were rental properties and who the homeowners were; what the issues were and who was concerned; what the significance of the structure was and how it contributed to the neighborhood/community. I took a lot of pictures for documentation and knocked on people's doors, I even had a disasterous Tidewater News interview with a girl that was just hired, but later found out that the article had been edited extensively by the editor at the time, in an effort to sabotage me. I kept plugging away, making ground. The article actually benefited me because I met more people who DID think like me.