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Carter House Candlelight Tour leads visitors to Boyd Mill Avenue

Damon Rogers finishes putting Christmas decorations on the dollhouse her mother “Pug” Akin gave her after her first dollhouse was lost in a house fire in 1966 shortly after the family moved into the Boyd Mill Avenue house. The dollhouse, which will be on display during the Candlelight Tour, was handed down to Damon’s daughter and now her granddaughter plays with it. Photos by Carole Robinson

The Coleman-Duncan house, built in 1978, is located at 435 Boyd Mill Ave.

The Craig-Aikins-Rogers House, built in 1919, is located at 431 Boyd Mill Ave. 

The Thomas-Campbell-Schroer house, built in 1937, is located at 512 Boyd Mill Ave.
The Carter House Candlelight Tour, a Franklin tradition for 41 years, will be held Friday Dec. 6 and Saturday Dec. 7 from 6-9:30 p.m., this year showcasing homes in the Boyd Mill area of Franklin.
Sponsored by Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Williamson Medical Center, the event is a fundraiser for the Battle of Franklin Trust, which manages the Carter House and Carnton Plantation.
The Carter House, Lotz House and Carnton Plantation join the tour of six homes, all within walking distance of each other, for an evening of history and tradition. 
The houses are the Woodruff House on Glass Lane; the Schroer House, Johnson-Cheney House, Langfitt House, Akin-Rogers House and Coleman-Duncan House on Boyd Mill Avenue.
The Carter House was built in 1830 by Fountain Branch Carter and was an active working plantation on Nov. 30, 1864, when it became the epicenter of the Battle of Franklin. 
Although the brick structures on the property sustained damage, they remained home to three generations of the Carter family. 
Today it is a museum dedicated to the memory of those who fought in the bloodiest five hours of the Civil War.
Almost across the street from the Carter House is the Lotz House, built in 1858 by master carpenter, Johann Albert Lotz. 
Once the battle got underway, the Lotz family joined the Carter family huddled in a back room in the basement of the Carter’s home. 
When the two families emerged from the basement the next morning, Johann Lotz found his home heavily damaged. 
Repairing the house was a massive undertaking and much of the damage is still visible. It is now a historic house museum with an “exceptional antique collection.”
Built in 1825 by Randal McGavock, a former mayor of Nashville, Carnton Plantation, 1345 Carnton Lane, became a Confederate Field Hospital during and after the Battle of Franklin. 
Then owners John and Carrie McGavock helped care for the wounded and dying soldiers. 
Members of the family continued to live at Carnton until 1907 and sold it in 1911. 
Carnton was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Dr. W. D. Sugg donated the house and ten acres to the Carnton Association, Inc. in 1977.
Completed in 2007, the Woodruff home at 713 Glass Lane is a new cottage-style home. Owners Woody and Beth Woodruff have selected antique furnishings and family treasures to add a touch of famous Franklin charm.
Nearby, at 512 Boyd Mill Rd., is the Schroer House, a Cape Cod-revival home built in 1937 by S.E. Farnsworth. 
This prominent builder constructed several homes in Franklin in the pre-World War II era. 
Owners John and Marianne Schroer restored the home without changing the floor plan.
Much attention was paid to the 1930s architectural detail just one of the reasons this home is so special. During the restoration, the Schroers were careful to blend new materials with old in a way that preserved the residence’s original character.
Two doors away at 436 Boyd Mill Rd., the Johnson-Cheney home is another example of Farnsworth’s craftsmanship. 
The brick Cape Cod-style home remained in the Johnson family until 2000 when it was sold to the Underwood family, and a few years later to Mike Ford. 
In 2010, Elena and Jim Cheney purchased the home. 
Two aspects of this home caught the attention of Elena Cheney—the home office and the acre lot.
“Imagine having an acre lot in Franklin this close to downtown,” she said. 
“The layout, especially with the office, was very progressive for that time, considering it was built in 1939.”
Adding to the appeal for the Cheney family was the house’s original hardwood floors, windows and period doors and finishes. 
Also, having four bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths—not common in smaller homes during that era—were features the Cheney family needed. 
Earlier this year, the Cheneys changed the layout a bit when they added 850 square feet, enlarging the house to about 3,000 square feet by creating a larger kitchen, a family room, bedroom and another bathroom. The smallest original bedroom became a hallway within the addition. 
Next door to the Cheneys at 432 Boyd Mill Ave., is the Langfitt home, owned by Porter and Dana Langfitt. This is a new home that blends well with the neighboring early 20th century designs.
Although challenged by the narrow but deep lot, “We are overwhelmed how well the house fits the neighborhood,” Porter said. “Some even think it was an old house fixed up. Boyd Mill has a lot of different architectural designs. We tried to draw from the architecture on the street.”
The 3,000-square-foot, American farmhouse/Gothic-revival home received honorable mention in the category of “New Residential Construction” at the Heritage Foundation’s 2012 Preservation Awards.
“We came from a larger house in College Grove,” Porter said. “We wanted to downsize, but we also wanted the same features — a decent size office, four bedrooms, three baths.”
The couple did have to exchange a dining room for a breakfast room, but the area still allows for plenty of entertaining.
Hardwood floors, nine-foot ceilings and antiques scattered throughout the house give it that cozy, early 20th century ambience. 
An 80-year old Magnolia transplanted to the backyard because it stood in the way of the new construction also provides a sense of belonging and demonstrates the Langfitt’s commitment to preservation. 
Across the street at 431 Boyd Mill Ave. is the Akin-Rogers House and at 435 Boyd Mill Ave., the Coleman-Duncan House. 
The Akin-Rogers House was built in 1919. It is also known as “Stone Oaks” for the stone walls Jimmy Akin, the father of current co-owner Damon Rogers, built around the columned two-story house, trees and gardens. 
“Its not a big house, but it is a tall house,” Damon said.
In 1966, Jimmy and Pug Akin moved from their farm in Brentwood to the Boyd Mill Avenue house, which was the parsonage for the Fourth Avenue Church of Christ.
In November, just months after the move, fire damaged a portion of the house.
 “A squirrel chewed wires in a wall near my bedroom,” Damon said.
“What didn’t burn was damaged by water. I lost everything,” she said of her childhood possessions, including her beloved dollhouse. 
The family took up temporary residence “up the street” while longtime builders Carl Haury and Reese Smith rebuilt the damaged portion of the house. 
After 30 years traveling with the U. S. Navy, Damon and Mark Rogers settled into the guesthouse that Damon’s parents had built as a future place to live.
Damon and Mark moved into the main home in 2000 when Jimmy passed away. Pug decided it was time to move into the guesthouse.
“After 22 moves with the Navy, this was the hardest move because we had to walk everything across the yard to the house,” Damon said.
Visitors will also be invited to tour these two out buildings.
The guesthouse has been dubbed “Pug’s House.” 
And the second outbuilding that once served as Jimmy’s office and then Damon’s office is today a studio, so comfortable that Damon jokingly said that her husband Mark wants to move in.
“I think the studio was built as my doll house—or Mark’s dog house,” she quipped.
The two-story Colonial-style Coleman-Duncan House at 435 Boyd Mill Ave. is the home of Michael and Emmely Duncan. 
It was built in 1978 using new and vintage materials, which give it an historical look. 
The house is furnished with antique pieces, and the walls are painted using the trompe l’oeil technique that creates a three dimensional illusion.
Candlelight tour tickets are $25 in advance and $30 beginning Dec. 6. They may be purchased online at or in person at the Carter House, 1140 Columbia Ave. or at Carnton Plantation, on Eastern Flank Circle off Lewisburg Pike. 
Online tickets will be held at the Carter House or Carnton and may be picked up beginning Dec. 6.
Organizers request that visitors to the Boyd Mill and Glass Lane homes park at Jim Warren Park, located at 705 Boyd Mill Ave. 
For those who prefer to walk, the homes are about a block away; however free shuttle service will also be provided beginning at 5:50 p.m. each night with pickup ongoing throughout the tour session. The last shuttle will leave Boyd Mill Avenue at 9:45 p.m. both evenings.

Posted on: 12/1/2013


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