History

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Goodspeed’s history of Tennessee and Williamson County Historical Journal No. 3 1871-72, record that the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Franklin was organized in 1871, with 17 or 18 members, but the Reverend Nathan Gill of Kentucky. However, several other sources state that the date of the church was around 1872 and that the Reverend J.C. Provine was it’s first pastor.

The members worshiped at the old Baptist Church, the Tennessee Female College and at the Masonic Hall, until they could buy a site and construct their own building, which is where this beautiful old Church stands today.

It took much determination, great pride and some sacrifice for these early people to erect this beautiful building.

Nestled on a smallish lot (description in the original Deed), it still stands proudly, with grace and dignity, a landmark on West Main Street for more than a Century. It is one of the four oldest Churches in Franklin.

The Williamson County Journal recorded that a very elegant Church was built in 1876, an outlay of $8,000.00, but valued at $10,000.00. The Church was a Gothic Revival style of architecture and was designed by H.C. Thompson, architect of the Grand Ole Opry’s Ryman Auditorium. The new Church had a floor space of 44 feet by 66 feet. The cornerstone was laid with Masonic ceremonies and the dedicatory sermon was preached June 3, 1876.

Deposits were made by all the Lodges, of all kinds of old money, gold pieces, confederate bills and notes, English coins, old continental money and stamps. There was copies of newspapers, a copy of the charter and by-laws of the town of Franklin. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church deposited copy of Holy Bible, the Confession of Faith, a hymnal and other items, including a condensed history of the Church at that time.
Work got underway and by April 16, 1877 the church was ready and dedicated that date. The Reverend Thomas Dale, a musician, author and publisher, was ordained to the ministry that same day and served as pastor for about 6 years. The Reverend James. H. Warren (Great-Uncle of James H. (Jim) Warren, former county judge and well known citizen for whom Jim Warren Park was named) served as pastor for six years.
DESCRIPTION OF ARCHITECTURE

The stone front steps are weathered and worn from the tread of many pilgrim feet throughout the years. It’s reddish brown brick exterior, in the distinctive architecture of a bygone era, is highlighted by tall, narrow cathedral windows (which had beautiful stained glass installed in December, 1996). The sturdy brick walls rise from a heavy stone foundation, which was made from stones furnished from the Hughes Farm on Boyd Mill Pike. Tall massive front doors are arched, as are the eight shutter-like vents in the bell tower. Double tin cap stones, painted white, are appended to the several brick buttresses around the sides and front of the building. A high impressive steeple once reached skyward above the bell tower. In the early 1940s a severe storm blew this steeple down.

Entering the foyer, one faces a stonewall marker, noting the erection date, ”A.D. 1876 by F.M. Reece.“ A door to the right and left lead into the Sanctuary, which immediately lends a feeling of utter peace and tranquility to both body and mind

The high vaulted ceilings (track lighting addin in December 1996) are in keeping and the handmade pews, with their beautiful turned arms are works of art, made of alternating strips of red oak and white oak. The wainscoting is of the same material. These pews are put together with wood pegs instead of nails. Most unusual is the low partition down the center of the room separating the pews. This arrangement was in keeping with the tradition of the era in the Old South for men and women to sit separately in Church services.

Facing the pulpit, one is profoundly affected by the beautiful stained glass figure of Christ, postured with outstretched hands, which fill the arch behind the choir in chancel. This memorial to Felton Jarvis, an Elder and devoted member, was given by is wife, Mary Lynch Jarvis. It was designed by Dennis Harmon of Emanuel Stained Glass Studios.

The Church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982

All the beautiful stained glass, all renovations to the Sanctuary, annex and all outside, were made possible through a substantial trust left to this Church by Mary Lynch Jarvis when she passed away from cancer June 6, 1995.