DC attorney donates easement, preserves 200 acres at Franklin


Retired Moderator
Honored Fallen Comrade
Aug 20, 2008
Expired Image Removed

Battle of Franklin site expands with new conservation easement


Rod and Kay Heller have donated the conservation easement for their Franklin home Windermere and the 40 acres around it to the Land Trust for Tennessee. The home is near Carnton Plantation and the city of Franklin's Civil War park. / KEVIN WALTERS/THE TENNESSEAN

FRANKLIN - The man who preserved the land now used as Franklin’s Civil War park is adding to the local historic properties he’s preserving.

Rod Heller, a Washington, D.C. attorney, announced Thursday night he and his wife Kay donated a conservation easement on their historic home on Carnton Lane known as Windermere as well as 40 acres around it to the Land Trust for Tennessee, a state land conservation group.

The easement is a legal document preventing the property from ever being developed. The Hellers’ 40-acre donation means that a total of 200 acres is preserved around historic Carnton Plantation, including what now is known as the Eastern Flank of the Battle of Franklin Park.

Windermere, which was also called Martlesham Heath after a British village. was the house where Carrie McGavock died. She is famous for ensuring that the Confederate dead from the Battle of Franklin were given a proper burial.

Heller, a McGavock descendant, came to local prominence in 2005 when he bought the 110 acres of the former Franklin Country Club which the city and other national Civil War group later purchased for $5 million.

Heller, 74, called his purchase of Windermere “an outgrowth of the purchase of the golf course.” The Hellers split their time between Franklin and Washington, D.C.

“(The golf course) really was the trigger to our involvement here,” Heller said. “We bought this with the expectation of protecting it as well.”

City and tourism officials hope that the park will eventually be a draw for historic tourists while giving Franklin residents another local park. The recession curbed the city’s plans for the park but the Civil War project got a jolt of financial support last year.

Gov. Bill Haslam approved giving Franklin a $500,000 grant to build an access road off Lewisburg Pike and directly into the park. In October, the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area will give Franklin a $240,000 grant to buy the kiosks, signs and brochures needed to help bring more visitors to the city's Civil War battlefield park.

Contact Kevin Walters at (615) 771-5472 or kewalters@tennessean.com


(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)