Historic Franklin Homes: Drive By’s

While in Franklin a few weekends ago, I couldn’t help but drive through the historic area looking at their gorgeous homes again.  And of course, when I do that I like to take pics to remember the beauty of them all and to share it with all of you.  I appreciate an older historic home and the curb appeal in these small communities around our country.  We have it here in my hometown of Marietta and also where I live in Kennesaw and these little historic areas are full of eye candy.

Come along with me on a drive-by of Franklin, TN.  Some of these homes are new builds made to look older and historical.

Here’s a question for all of you.

Why can’t builders today build cute and charming homes like this anymore?  I know there are some newly built neighborhoods around Atlanta that do go for charm and old fashioned appeal of these older historical areas, but they are the minority and I know are more expensive to build.  I get that, but couldn’t builders try a little harder to build new houses that aren’t McMansions and just have beautiful curb appeal and charming details like these homes?  I think it would be popular all over again if they would do that.  We have some older neighborhoods built in the 70’s and 80’s around here with charming Cape Cods, brick traditional, Colonial, Craftsman, cottage style homes. They are still beautiful today and very desirable neighborhoods, but there aren’t enough of them!  We just can’t figure out why builders don’t build that style again for newly built affordable homes that aren’t huge and mega-expensive?  It’s certainly not happening here in the Atlanta area on a large scale.  Boutique builders are building older style homes, but they are way out of the price range of normal folks.

Just a question I thought I’d throw out there.  What are you seeing in your area?

This was one of my very favorite ones!  I love the charm of a brick Tudor style home like this. So charming. I’m not going to comment on all of them, so enjoy the beauty.

How did you like those drive-bys?  Gorgeous, aren’t they?!

I’d love to hear your answer to the question I pondered above.  I think it’s a fun discussion and I’d love to hear what it’s like in your part of the country.

- Rhoda


  1. Andrea G Corley says:

    I love the character of these homes. They all don’t look alike. In my neighborhood they are building houses that all look the same. I hate that because I live in historic Marietta and the homes that are around me until just recently were not cookie cutter homes. Yes they are building $500K homes but they all look the same. Bummer! Thanks for sharing these homes and their unique architectural structures. It was a great drive by…..

  2. I live in a Grade II Listed Georgian town house in Arundel, West Sussex UK. It really is a beautiful place to live with lots of history – we have a castle here too. There is a housing shortage in the UK, and large housing estates are cropping up all the time. Our first house was a new build 25 years ago, but I much prefer the character of an older property. I think I agree with you too-I prefer the 1st property. Chris x

    • Hey, Chris, I am sure there is lots of charm and character in your part of the world. Never been to the UK, but would love to visit one day. I know that Europeans in general live in very tight housing markets.

  3. Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing. I live in a historic district on Cape Cod, so I love seeing Southern homes. They are so stately.

    • Lynn, and I would love your part of the country with those charming Cape Cods, my fave. I am going to visit New England one day, haven’t been up there before!

  4. I see Andrea’s comment above is just what I was thinking when I looked at the pictures–character and not all the house are the same. So so beautiful–each one on it’s own. I am happy you included a church too. I love old churches have been known to just stop and take a picture. Thank you for sharing with us.

  5. Oh I just love those porches!!! You’re certainly right – there seems to be a big difference between “builders” and “craftsmen” !!! My sister lives in a darling bungalow in Winston Salem NC – her entire historic Ardmore neighborhood is a sight to behold! Beautiful post! Thank you!

  6. These homes are beautiful. They have character and elegance, something not seen in most of the new houses. I lived in Toronto Ontario until a few years ago, and there the older homes are being torn down and huge new mansions are going up. Not only do they all look the same, they take up as much of a lot as possible, leaving little space for gardens and trees. Thank you for sharing these lovely historical homes!

  7. kathy olson says:

    I’m pretty sure we could pack up and move to that city today:) Beautiful!

  8. Leila Case says:

    I live in A small city in southwest Georgia in the historic residential district
    The architectural features rNge from tutor, craftsman bungalows, two story Queen Anne an ante bell
    One story that was moved to the site it sits on in the 1890s from a little town that had a yellow yellow fever breakout
    And our Episcopal Church was designed by the famous eclesiactical architect Ralph Adams Cram
    An historic theatre showcasing all of the performing arts and a hotel that is open and over the top in architectural features The Windsor
    So please come visit Americus we will welcome you
    One more thing we have 2 National Historic Sites Andersonville and Jimmy Carter
    Come visit ???

    • Hi, Leila, thank you for the invitation. I know about Americus, but have to say I’ve never visited there. I sure have an appreciation of these older quaint towns though.

  9. I live in Southern California and it’s all about the money! Builders want to build as many houses as possible on a small plot of land for the least amount of money. In most new middle-class neighborhoods you can almost reach out a window and touch your neighbors house. And those are houses starting in the 500k range on up. Someday I hope to buy a quaint old cottage in a small town!

    • Yes, Julia, the builders are the same here! Crazy greed for sure! I just hate the way things are going in home building.

  10. I just love a brick Tudor! In many of the towns, you will see the different styles of homes in the old downtown areas. Outside of that area, you normally have the cookie cutter homes of the decade in which they were built. My dream home would be a little brick Tudor or Craftsman style cottage in a small town.

  11. Here in Memphis, it is the same too. Builders are not building average homes that have character. 50 and 60’s ranch style homes are being bought for their generous lots and are being torn down to build huge homes. Unfortunately the newer homes are all the French country style. They are custom built so it isn’t one builder. That’s a shame too I feel. We moved 4 yrs ago to an older neighborhood. We love it. All the homes are different. My home was built in the 1950s. There is one other house, blocks away, that is the same as ours. The original owner of ours added a roof across the front to make covered porch and ran brick stairs across the entire porch with curved wrought iron hand rails on either side of the po. It looks different than the other house blocks away. It is more French Traditional stye. We love it and appreciate that we are only the second owners!

  12. What a beautiful town! I’m adding that to the must visit list. I agree with what everyone above said…huge, expensive, cookie cutter houses on tiny lots. The once charming town of Clemson, SC has been ruined by greedy developers who tear down everything and put up student apartments that look like penitentiaries. Once the past is torn down, there is no going back.

  13. Dorothy Moore says:

    Love these beautiful homes. Like you, I wonder why builders are not building homes with character instead of all looking the same. Thank you for sharing.

  14. We live in a small cape built in 1980. We felt it had good bones and a lot of charm when we bought it 3 years ago…a fireplace in both the kitchen and the living room! We just underwent a 3 month renovation to the entire inside.. basically its brand new from the plumbing and electrical system to the flooring.
    Just yesterday we were saying how whenever anyone sees our house they say “what a cute little house” (can’t say CUTE without saying LITTLE).
    We feel fortunate.

    • Yes, Carol, that’s the kind of house I love too, charming, quaint and cute on a pretty street. That’s all I’d ever want! But you just can hardly find it. It’s got to be an older 70’s or 80’s neighborhood to find it, same around here and they get snapped up. Why oh why can’t they still build neighborhoods like those?

  15. Jean from Georgia says:

    Hi Rhoda, I totally agree. I am a Realtor and am seeing a change in what buyers are wanting to purchase. The market is wide open to the scale down buyer but the properties are hard to locate. When a cute older home in a desirable area comes on the market it goes under contract quickly. Thank you for sharing such beautiful photos.

  16. Cassandra E says:

    I love drive by days!
    I live in one of the most expensive markets in Northern California..it’s just silly what goes on here. I understand the bells and whistles of architecture cost more money. But people here are trading character for space. We’ve bought the lie we must have thousands of square feet. When family from England visit, they are astonished at the size of homes. So that’s what gets built. Big soulless homes. No character. Ugly flooring. As much as I blame builders for choosing money over character, people are buying it, so it’s people too. (And I don’t really blame anyone. To each his own.) but give me a snug cottage.

    • Yes, Cassandra, we say that too! Someone is buying these big ugly new homes, but why? Most of the new homes we see around here are so unappealing, I wouldn’t have them. Give me a well taken care of charming cottage style home in a nicely kept treed neighborhood any day over new!

  17. Iris McCloud says:

    Rhoda, I have lived in several states in a number of houses-all built between 1920 through 1980. All of them have had their own charm. The ones built between 1920 through the mid-thirties were all brick, a craftsman, a tudor and a cottage bungalow. They all had the old house characteristics shown in some of your pictures. The “newer” houses had charm because they were either one of a kind builds or houses that had their own charm added over the years. I imagine the new neighborhoods being built today will gain their own charm as owners add on, re-landscape and change fixtures out over time. I really dislike areas where older houses exist and new owners have them torn down to build Mcmansions that look out of proportion as well as out of character for the neighborhood. The current bget. I think that unless you go high end the construction is geared to go fast and cheap. Sadly the newer construction I have seen is built cheap and looks it. I think many people opt for large size over quality workmanship. Th current home I live in is from the early 60’s, it’s a mid-century modern with low sloping rooflines, lots of glass and some great old trees off the back of a huge patio. I purchased it from the original owners and am dealing with the old windows, roof and really tired exterior. I originally felt ready for a new house with no work to be done but determined to get the new features as well as old house character was way beyond my budget. One option that I would have considered is finishing a lot of the inside myself with upgraded products but builders and banks don’t approve. I owned a beautiful house built during the depression and one built during WWII. I spent a lot of time pondering about the owners who had the money or the access to materials to build during those times. Both were middle class type homes. By the way I would love to go house peeping with you.

    • Iris, some very good points and ones that we talk about all the time. It’s very disheartening to see the house situation. Not to mention the ugly modern homes that were built around Atlanta in the 70’s and 80’s. Oh my gosh, there are scads of those old houses that look so tired and dated now and who wants to live in a neighorhood with all those crazy angled cedar 70’s homes, yet those are out there all day long. It’s harder and harder to find reasonably priced 2 or 3 decades old homes that have character. Most have to have it added, which is fine, it can be done and that’s why most people buy resale houses and add their own character, like I did in this house.

  18. Iris McCloud says:

    ” The current bget” was a cut and paste error in my previous post. Sorry

  19. Each one of these homes is beautiful! Believe me, my husband and I have pondered that very same question. Nothing built since 1990 has a shred of character or charm! We live in the mid-west and I would love to see a builder who could bring back this architecture and end the mcmansion syndrome! Thank you for sharing this beautiful scroll of homes. Totally enjoyed!

    • Gwen, totally agree, why can’t they do that? I bet those homes would sell out fast if some smart builder would get on the train and start doing these character driven homes. We sure aren’t seeing it here in Atlanta in large amounts. There are some of these neighborhoods scattered around, but they are SO expensive and out of range for the average person.

  20. Marty@A Stroll Thru Life says:

    In the desert everything is red tile roofs and stucco homes. Most all of them look exactly alike. A stripped down version of spanish style.

  21. If builders would wise up and build quality, smaller homes they could sell them as fast as they could build them. People are wanting to downsize from big homes. I much prefer a cottage-type house to a large home. We built a reproduction Williamsburg home in 1976, which by today’s standards is a small house. We thought it was huge when we built it, but it is cozy. We live in a historic town that could be a show place if the community would just realize the possibilities.

    Unfortunately, the majority of the homes built in this area are junk, covered in vinyl siding. My husband is a retired home inspector and soon after he started inspecting homes he said that vinyl siding was going to come back to haunt the home owners. That has already happened.

    • Tee,
      I so agree with your husbands comments about vinyl siding and I am sure he saw it all. We had a company come around recently in our neighborhood trying to sell us vinyl siding and I almost ran him off our front porch! Two neighbors had vinyl put on their homes and one home had water and mold damage between the wall because the vinyl was installed improperly. The second neighbor has green mold growing on his vinyl because they think vinyl never has to be cleaned.

      The biggest issue I see with vinyl in our area is it not being installed correctly. You drive by a brand new home and look at the side of a house and its all uneven and wavy. Yet, people will buy it and later regret it big time when it looks like you know what a few years down the road.

    • Hey, Tee, I couldn’t agree with you more! We talk about that all the time, that builders should see the need for smaller cottage style homes newly built that are affordable for the median home buyer. They are just not out there here in Atlanta. There are scads of new neighborhoods being built and they are all $500K and way up in price, which prices so many folks out of those neighborhoods. Don’t get me started on vinyl siding. Looking at older houses around here that aren’t even that old with vinyl siding makes me ill. I hate the stuff! Give me Hardie plank any day over any of that stuff. Good for you for building your charming character home way back then. I’m sure it still has so much charm today! I’d love to find a Cape Cod or Colonial for my next house.

  22. Thank you for the beautiful tour,Rhoda. Builders today have more than one crew. They start several houses at one time so a crew never stands idle. They have foundations poured at one time,electricians,plumber,painters etc.all go from one house to another. So at every house they all know what to do, because they are all the same.

  23. Amazing how similar these are to the ones in every Southern community.If I didn’t know I would swear they are all in my community. They all look so familiar. So glad I am a Southern girl.

  24. So much charm and character!! I’d love to own just about any one of them.

  25. Rhoda,
    I live in the Richmond, VA area and when an older, charming home that has been updated in a desirable area goes on the market it sells within days no matter how small the square footage. The problem is many of even the smaller homes aren’t affordable to many average homebuyers especially first time buyers. I think homebuyers have gotten tired of cookie-cutter homes and McMansions and are looking for character over square footage.

    We have two newer built subdivisions (LiveOak & Hallesley) that feature homes with the charm and characteristics of older architecture with modern amenities but they are very high end neighborhoods in the $500,000-800,000 price range yet they still sell quickly. So as long as there’s a market for bigger homes then that’s what builders are going to cater to for bigger profits and that’s probably why you don’t see as many smaller average priced homes being built like this.

    BTW…We have been to Franklin, TN several times and I loved riding around seeing all the older homes there too. It really is a beautiful, charming town and I would take any of the homes you featured!

  26. So many cute homes! I absolutely love brick homes, they have great curb appeal and they instantly create a warm and welcoming vibe.

  27. That’s a lovely collection of homes. For some reason, modern builders simply cannot recreate that sort of solid, permanent appearance that these older homes exude. I guess it’s the difference between “building” and “crafting”.

    BTW, Rhoda, I like others had trouble with your site displaying improperly. It was unusable for me. Discovered that it was the AdBlock Plus that was causing the problem. Just an FYI for those still having trouble. I disable it for your page, and we’re back to normal! I’ve missed you! lol…

    • HI, Jane, yes I had shared that awhile back, if people are running an ad blocker on certain browsers, they were having problems. So glad you are back to normal!

  28. Clarice Main says:

    Totally charming homes! What great curb appeal! Thank you for sharing (for all of us who DON’T live near such homes).

  29. Cheryl Johnson says:

    I recognize many of those homes Rhoda, as I drive by them regularly. We live in Tollgate Village in Thompson’s Station, TN…just south of Franklin. Many homes here are cottage style and just what you have described. They all look very different outside but inside are quite similar. Ours is in the English Tudor style with around 2100 square feet. It’s our retirement home and we love it. There are some really big houses here which makes it even more interesting. If you would like a tour, I’d be happy to show you ours, it was built by Carbine. Just let me know and I would be happy to see if some neighbors will let you see their homes too. I believe there is an online site for you also. Blessings, Cheryl Ann

    • Hi, Cheryl Ann, I was in Thompsons Station for that show house with Carbine. I know they do beautiful work, so your home must be gorgeous. If I get up there again, I’d love to see it. You are very fortunate to get in a community like that with old style charm.

  30. Oh Rhoda! I know just what you mean (and so do most of your replies, it seems!). Here in the UK things are the same or worse, and of course land here is at a premium so that ups the cost. When we first moved to this town 14 years ago, the cheapest building plot we could find was £60,000 (dollar is 1.24 against the pound this morning) for a tiny plot with no yard space or parking. We live in a 215 year old house, one of a row of three. It has more than doubled in value since we bought it, but that just means that every other house has increased a huge amount too and there are still very few building plots available. Greed is not a good thing, but somewhere along the line someone is making a lot of money! New estates here tend to be made up of smaller houses, small yards, and crammed together but people are desparate and will buy them. I am with you on the question of why don’t new houses look good even if they are at the lower end of the market!

  31. Simply beautiful! I am a new follower and I absolutely love your drive by series. I frequently do the same with my children. My son plays travel soccer and we are fortunate enough to play in many old southern towns that have beautiful historic districts: Mobile, Montgomery, Tallahassee, Birmingham, Auburn. Many times we detour to small towns on the outskirts of these cities just to enjoy the charm of the older houses: Eufaula, Troy,
    Gadsden, Daphne, and Opelika, to name a few, have done well in the way of salvaging many old homes that had previously fallen into disrepair. Tuskegee and Union Springs haven’t prioritized preservation. When I drive through their abandoned streets the emptiness behind the windows beckons to me: save
    me, save me. If only I had the resources to do so. I feel as if the Civil War and Reconstruction never lifted it’s curse. The past is palpable.

    And to answer your question, I will quote my nine year old son, who when admiring the details of the old First National Bank in Ozark said, “I bet it took people a long time to make these buildings. Not just the building part, but the planning part. Buying the perfect bricks and laying them out in the perfect design. Even the little things like the vents and light fixtures and knobs were bought from someone who probably took a long time to make them. I guess old people used to care more about their jobs.” Out of the mouths of babes.

    Enjoyed. I hope to see more drive by photo shoots soon!

    • Hi, Jackie, thank you for stopping by & for leaving such a nice comment. Your son has something going there for sure!

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