Just the Facts

New Franklin park officially named

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Deena Bouknight

At the Town of Franklin Council meeting, Feb. 5, Anne Hyder, chair of the Folk Heritage Association of Macon County (FHAMC), presented a landscape proposal by Clark & Co. Landscape Services. She addressed council members and the public. 

“We have had wonderful support from Amie [Owens, Town Manager], and the council and the mayor ….” said Hyde. “Assuming you don’t approve names for parks much, and don’t necessarily have this formality, but in summary, we have our park, but we are ready for our celebration on March 23 to install the sculpture of the three women [“Sowing the Seeds of the Future”] so we would like to get the approval to name the park, Women’s History Park. We considered some other options, but … it is the trailhead of the Women’s History Trail, so that is our proposal.”

Women’s History Trail is a project of the FHAMC as a way to convey the stories of the county’s distinct women. It began in 2018 with nine historic, informational markers displayed throughout Franklin. On July 4, 2019, the second phase of the trail opened, adding more sites around Franklin. Another plaque with information about Nan Ray (1860-1961) has a temporary home in front of the historic log home at the Macon County Historical Museum until its permanent site, Ray’s Chapel AME Zion Church in Franklin, is restored. 

Free trail guides and maps are available at the Historical Museum or at the Franklin Chamber of Commerce. They are also available online at https://www.folkheritageassociation.org/heritage-projects.html.

It was after journalist, historian, and FHAMC board member Barbara McRae, who passed in 2022, learned of other women’s history trails throughout the United States, that she brought the idea of a Macon County Women’s History Trail to FHAMC. It was primarily due to her extensive research that the Trail was established and includes insight into women involved in publishing, education, hospitality, millinery, public service, and more.

After Hyder’s proposal last month, the council embarked on a short discussion about the naming of the new park, which is situated near the Little Tennessee River bridge between Northeast and East Main Street. 

“This is what is considered a ‘mini park,’” said Mayor Jack Horton. 

“Since it’s east of the [Nikwasi] Mound and in between the Mound and the [Little Tennessee] River and the Greenway, and that’s such an important area,” commented council member Stacy Guffey, “and since there is a tradition of naming things in both English and Cherokee, I think it would be a good idea to have the Women’s History Park to be translated into the Cherokee language.”

Hyder responded, “As we considered some options (for the park name), remember that we have a Native American woman, an African American woman, and a pioneer [embodied in the sculpture] so we are sensitive in trying to representing the three cultures.”

“That’s a very culturally significant area,” added Guffey.

“There will be markers (at the park) that tell the story of the three women that have history connected to each other and this tract of land,” said Hyder. 

Without further discussion about Guffey’s recommendation to include a Cherokee translation of the park name, council member Mike Lewis made a motion to name it Women’s History Park. The name was approved. 

Then, at the March 4 Town of Franklin Council (see full article here), $33,500 was approved by council members to complete Women’s History Park’s landscaping and site preparation. 

For more information about Women’s History Trail, visit the new website at www.womenshistorytrail.org.