Williamson County Historian Rick Warrick is passionate. His passion - the history of Franklin, Tennessee and Williamson County. He knows everything about Franklin's rich history, including the Civil War, but he also knows the stories of generations of families who have lived in the many lovely old homes in downtown Franklin. His memory is astounding. Not only is he a genius, but he’s hilarious. Yet another reason to meet this Franklin gem.
When asked what got him interested in history, Rick laughed and said, “Well, it was about the only subject I was good at in school." His father had been a carpenter, and he said he knew he didn’t want to do that. So during his senior year of high school, he decided to go to MTSU and
major in History and Library Science.
Rick’s first teaching job was 6th grade history. His wife, Elaine taught 4th grade. Both of them were school teachers in the Millersville, Tennessee school system. A few years later, they decided to leave their home in Hendersonville and move to Franklin in 1970.
Elaine got a job in Fairview teaching 2nd grade, and Rick went back to MTSU to get his Masters. Rick then took a job teaching high school history and civics at Hillsboro School in Leiper’s Fork. The next year he began working as the school librarian and stayed in that position
for many years.
After his retirement from Hillsboro, Rick took on the role of Williamson County Historian for the Heritage Foundation. He was the perfect choice for this important position. Since then, Rick has worked over 20 years without pay. What an honorable contribution he has been to the county.
The city of Franklin is historically significant because it was the location of The Battle of Franklin, fought on November 30, 1864. Rick explains that the Battle of Franklin is considered the “Gettysburg of the West.” In four hours, the battle left almost 10,000 soldiers wounded, captured or killed. It was one of the worst disasters for the Confederate Army in the Civil War.
To help us learn about Franklin’s fascinating history, Rick has collected thousands of photos of Williamson County. In addition, he has written several books including Franklin’s Public Square: A Pictorial History, A Walk Down West Main Street, North and East of Franklin’s
Public Square: A Pictorial Tour, plus many others.
The city of Franklin is so much more than her past. Yes, understanding and appreciating her past is essential. But appreciating who she is today is equally important. Our thriving downtown is known as “America’s Favorite Main Street.” There are so many bustling shops, restaurants
and attractions to make for a weekend get-away or a week’s full of fun. You can find Rick every morning for coffee with his buddies at Merridee’s Breadbasket. For over 40 years, he and his wife Elaine, have lived in a 1831 cedar log home on Warwick’s Knob off Southall Road.
As Franklin continues to grow, see more farms sold, and new construction continue, we are grateful to have people like Rick Warwick who are a Tennessee treasure. His service to the county, and his commitment to teaching and preserving its history is unparalleled. When asked how he would describe his beloved Franklin, he said, “It’s a historic town located on the banks of the Harpeth River. It’s the capital of Williamson County, and it’s a great place to live and rear a family.”
Stop by the Heritage Foundation to tour the old jail at 112 Bridge Street in Franklin. If you have the opportunity to meet Rick Warwick, let him
know how much he means to all of us.You can pick up a copy of one of Rick’s books and see the many old photos he has collected
showcasing Williamson County's rich heritage. If you’re lucky, you might even get to see Rick. Rick Warwick is yet another reason to love Franklin!