About Us

The Downtown Franklin Association (DFA) is a membership-based division of the non-profit organization, the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN. DFA is dedicated to the historic preservation, revitalization and community vibrancy of historic downtown Franklin.

DFA serves its members by promoting the downtown historic district, protecting downtown’s historic character and charm and strengthening downtown Franklin’s economic viability by encouraging growth and diversity among businesses.

Our Story

Since its founding in 1984, the Downtown Franklin Association (DFA) has spearheaded the revitalization of Franklin’s historic downtown core. Working in partnership with downtown property owners, business owners, preservationists, city and county government, and the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN – the Downtown Franklin Association has helped create one of the nation’s Main Street success stories.

Now, Downtown Franklin boasts an award-winning Main Street, a stunning collection of Victorian buildings and a host of accolades. It continues to earn national recognition as an authentic, eclectic place that offers something for everyone in an atmosphere that reminds locals and visitors alike of a simpler time in our history – a place where community matters.

Our Structure

The DFA is a division of the nonprofit Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN.

Since 1967, the Heritage Foundation has been dedicated to preserving Williamson County’s architectural, geographic and cultural heritage as well as promoting the ongoing revitalization of downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation. The Heritage Foundation also owns and operates The Franklin Theatre, Franklin Grove Estate & Gardens, and its newest entity: The History & Culture Center of Williamson County.

Our Accreditation

The Downtown Franklin Association is also an accredited Main Street America® Program. The Main Street America® approach offers community-based revitalization initiatives with a practical, adaptable framework for downtown transformation that is easily tailored to local conditions.

This Transformation Strategy creates a focused, deliberate path to revitalizing or strengthening a downtown or commercial district’s economy. The DFA's programmatic work is organized around the Main Street America® strategic pillars: Economic Vitality, Design, Promotion and Organization.

Our Accolades

In May of 1995, Franklin was honored as one of the best downtown areas in the nation when it received one of five “Great American Main Street” awards in the first year of an annual competition held by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Since then, accolades have included the “Best Small Town in Tennessee,” “America’s Most Romantic Main Street” and “One of America’s Greatest Antique Destinations,” among others. In May 2012, Franklin was ranked #4 on Livability.com‘s Best Places to Visit for Historic Preservation. In 2014, Travel + Leisure Magazine named Franklin one of “America’s Favorite Towns.” Garden & Gun magazine named Franklin the “Best Southern Town” following a online readers’ poll.