One of Franklin’s best kept secrets is Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Robin Hood and his publishing company Grandin Hood Publishers. This national award-winning publisher is located right here in downtown Franklin. Their visually stunning coffee table books celebrate the stories of historic sites, corporations, universities, and foundations across Tennessee and beyond.
Historic Franklin: Along the Harpeth is the latest release from Grandin Hood Publishers. This gorgeous book showcases Franklin’s rich legacy in the words of author Jay Sheridan and the magnificent images of Robin Hood, both longtime downtown Franklin residents. With more than 200 archival photographs, illustrations, and stunning contemporary images featured in the book, the large format, art edition book will become an iconic gift of history and meaning for anyone who loves Franklin.
The main purpose for the book is to create a long-term solution for preservation by starting an endowment fund to preserve open spaces in Franklin. Proceeds from the book will benefit the establishment of Friends of Franklin Parks’ new Fund for the Preservation of Open Spaces. Sheridan, who also serves as board president for Friends of Franklin Parks, says the mission is critical, as it has been for two and a quarter centuries in Franklin.
“Throughout our history, the struggle of balancing growth and development against the preservation of our incredible natural resources has been a perennial theme, and it’s important to note that we’ve always found a way to make it work for the good of the community,” Sheridan said. “In today’s Franklin, we face the same pressures but are armed with a talented City Parks team and leadership that understands why preservation matters. The non-profit community, with the support of the private sector, can bring resources that make things possible here in ways other communities can’t conceive.”
Franklin Mayor Ken Moore, M.D. wrote the Foreword. Sheridan adds, “The book reaches back centuries to explore America’s westward expansion, the Cumberland Settlements, the establishment of Franklin and Williamson County, and the decades that followed: from the antebellum years through the Civil War and Reconstruction, and the challenges, achievements and new traditions that followed. Rarely seen artifacts and stories add color and context to an incredible tale of innovation and progress that led to nurtured a tiny agrarian town into a city that balances its past, present and future, best represented by what has become known as America’s Favorite Main Street. And through it all, it’s the people who have made Franklin special. A gallery of Hood’s contemporary photos of life through the seasons in Franklin, Tennessee, captures the spirit of the place in stunning images.”
Look at this incredible image of the Carter House included in the book photographed by Robin Hood. Along with the luminaries marking the anniversary of the Battle of Franklin, you can see the bullet holes all aglow in the building next to the Carter House from that fateful night.
Sheridan and Hood are quite the dynamic duo. They have collaborated on several works over the past 20 years, from the story of legendary music producer Mike Curb and Curb Records to colleges and universities from Rhode Island to Georgia, and historic properties such as the venerable Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete Beach, Florida and the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia.
Many of you may have one of their first Franklin coffee table book collaborators, Historic Franklin published in 2010. It was very popular and quickly sold several thousand copies. Sadly, it has been out of print for years.
Historic Franklin: Along the Harpeth was made possible by the generosity of longtime advocates for preservation Rod and Kay Heller, and Harpeth Associates, who led the development of Harpeth Square.
“What began as a small project to commemorate the opening of the Harpeth Hotel quickly developed into a larger effort to produce a book that captured the milestones of Franklin’s full history,” said Rod Heller. “We are proud not only to contribute the book to the community, but to use the proceeds toward the larger purpose of the preservation of open spaces. Our level of success in that realm will define Franklin’s future for generations to come.”
Historic Franklin: Along the Harpeth will be available for purchase at the Franklin Visitor Center on Fourth Avenue North, Tin Cottage and Landmark Booksellers on Main Street, the Harpeth Hotel, and online at AlongTheHarpeth.com.
Sharing the backstories of historic Franklin with love,