"The Victorian period did have a lasting effect on Franklin. Much of the downtown architecture is authentic Victorian – a true treasure. Complementing that architecture, the Clock Tower Garden was indeed a Victorian garden. It consisted of four symmetrical plots of land, each enclosed by a fence. This design is what made it a Victorian garden – not that the flowers were planted over a hundred years ago!"
If you really enjoy Southern, mountain Christian music, plan to be in Franklin the last weekend of June. There is a great local Southern Gospel quartet based in this area which organizes three nights of the most amazing Southern Gospel, Bluegrass, and Western music, or even Christian comedy, that you can imagine every year. There is a "suggested donation" (This year it was $8.) for entry but they will not turn you away for not making that suggested donation. The Blue Ridge quartet performs each night but there are usually two different additional groups as well. Some of them you have never heard of, such as The Watkins Family (whom I had never heard until last night) but others will be more widely prominent, such as The Dixie Echos, The Perrys, The Greenes, and others. Nearly every year, Christian comedian and award-winning song writer Aaron Wilburn will also be there for a night or two. Performances start at 7 PM but you will want to come early to get a good seat, and maybe even to have dinner. The doors open at 5:30 and they serve barbecue, hot dogs, burgers, and delicious homemade desserts as only southern Baptist mothers can make them. The food isn't free but it is very reasonable.
There are many gem mines near Franklin. We had a great time looking for rubies and sapphires and yes, we did find some.
The Gem and Mineral museum can recommend some mines for you to try. Plan to spend several hours if not all day at the mine and wear clothes you don't mind getting dirty.
The museum is located in the former jail. It is well worth a visit if you are interested in gems. There is a guided a tour of the museum, which we were told has the largest gem collection outside the Smithsonian. The collection was beautiful and our guide, probably a retiree, was very knowledgeable and entertaining.
The collection includes locally found gems and gems from around the world. They have a florescent room showing naturally florescent gems.
The museum shop sells locally found and cut gems.
Perhaps I should not list this place. I have been by there three times but have never been able to get in the place. They adhere closely to their operating hours which are Monday through Friday from noon until 4 PM and Saturday from 11 AM until 3 PM but only from May through October. Although I have never been inside, the outside is of interest as well. The museum is located in the county's old jail which was built in pre-Civil War times and the bars are still on the windows. I am also told that once I get inside, I will be able to find out where Franklin got its name as "Gem Capital of the World."
Open May 1st through October 31st
Monday through Friday: Noon - 4 pm
Saturday: 11 am - 3 pm
Open year round by appointment for both individuals and tour groups