The first thing I noticed upon arriving in Franklin was an attractive and nicely maintained community park and garden. I appreciated the unique manner in which the garden incorporated memorials and mementos from the city's past, including items from schools, churches, the trolley line of days gone by, etc.
Some of the mementos were remnants of local landmarks destroyed in 2003 by a devastating F4 tornado which left Franklin severely damaged, with seven fatalities and more than 50 injured. Franklin, however, was not permanently dispirited or destroyed, and has been in a mode of determined rebuilding ever since.
Prior to the tornado, an adequate warning system had been lacking, but in the years following the tragedy, a number of people, including actor and humanitarian Paul Newman, stepped forward with sizeable donations to purchase a new warning system (seen photo 2 below). The piece of corrugated metal wrapped around the trunk of a pecan tree by forces of tornadic winds has been left as a reminder of the tragic event.
Not pictured here are the playground and picnic areas.
What is so special about this sidewalk? It is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as being the longest sidewalk connecting two communities, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The 1.7 mile sidewalk was constructed between Franklin and Arma in 1936 to permit children to walk to school on a sidewalk instead of on the busy highway.