The Old, Old Jail – Preserving history in all its glory


These days, if something doesn’t work well or doesn’t look good, it’s likely to be thrown out and replaced with something new. Some things, however, like old buildings steeped in history, cannot be so easily replaced, nor should they be.

Fortunately, the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County in Tennessee understands this and tries to preserve historical sites. Their mission is “To preserve the communities and cultural heritage of Williamson County. We work with area leaders to continually care for historic spaces, treasured landmarks, and cherished local businesses. In short, we save the places that matter in Williamson County, Tennessee.”

Their latest success story is the renovation of the old, old Franklin Jail located at 112 Bridge Street in Franklin. It’s called the “old, old” jail because there were once three jails on Bridge Street.

Built in 1941 for $25,000, the two-story jail was a no-frills steel and concrete edifice to house prisoners. Some of these inmates included Better Burge, the first woman in Tennessee sentenced to death in the electric chair, and convicted murderer Willie York, who became rather infamous as being the inspiration behind a song by Johnny Seay, a country music singer and neighbor. Titled “Willie’s Drunk and Nelly’s Dying”, it was released in 1970.

The jail was eventually closed after a newer one was built in 1973, and afterwards it served many purposes such as book storage for the school system, an employment office, and a highway patrol outpost. Eventually, due to its deteriorating condition, it became vacant in 2008. The roof eventually leaked, leaving all the metal inside with a coating of rust. The art deco style building had no working electricity or plumbing, and was filled with asbestos, mold and lead paint. It was literally in ruins.

Even with all these issues, the Heritage Foundation saw its potential and knew that saving and restoring the building could be the biggest challenge they ever faced. Though it was scheduled to be demolished, they persevered and bought the building in 2013 for $25,000 dollars with a donation from FirstBank, knowing they would have to raise millions to bring it back to life.

And so, they rolled out their Big House for Historic Preservation fundraising campaign, and for the next three years worked to raise the necessary money to turn the dilapidated structure into modern, usable office space. All in all, it would take $2.8 million to complete the renovations.

The grand opening of this beautifully restored and environmentally-friendly building with its cut-stone foundation and grand stairway took place in May of 2016 and became the permanent home of the Heritage Foundation. Now called the LeHew Magid Big House for Historic Preservation, it serves not only as the headquarters for the foundation, but also as a resource for historic preservation issue.

“It is fantastic that the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN is headquartered in the LeHew Magid Big House for Historic Preservation in historic Franklin. I am grateful to the leaders who came before me and had the vision and determination to save this building. We host guests almost daily for tours, and we enjoy telling stories of the many characters who spent time in the Jail throughout the years,” said Bari Beasley, the CEO of the foundation.

Along the restored stairwell hang almost 200 historic photographs of the city. The old graffiti, etched into the concrete and steel walls by former prisoners, has also been preserved.

“When the Heritage Foundation saved the Old, Old Jail, it was truly like making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. No one wanted the white elephant because it was leaky, mold-ridden, costly to make livable yet a solid piece of concrete and steel. The project was a win-win situation. The Foundation found a home and a county landmark was saved,” said Rick Warwick, the county historian.

Written for Franklin Lifestyle in Tennessee (March 2019 issue)

Spotlight on Time and Again Galleries


Time and Again Galleries can help you buy and sell everything from paintings and rugs to costume jewelry and more. They have the expertise to determine the value of a variety of goods, both modern and antique.

Jeff Zimmerman, the CEO, has seen the business expand from the New York Tri-State area to the international stage. When asked what makes him stand out from other buyers and sellers, Jeff said “My honesty, my integrity and my knowledge. I developed a following of people who trust what I say and what I do which I found to be a good business model.”

If you are in the market to buy something specific, he will do his very best to find it. Likewise, if you are looking to sell something but aren’t sure of its worth, Jeff is an experienced appraiser who is readily available to assess the value of your items. You can make an appointment or even email images of your items. “The cost for a verbal appraisal is $100 and if they decide to sell through us or to us that money is refundable,” said Jeff.

For appraisals of large quantities or high-value items, he will travel across the country. And his buyers come from not only the U.S., but all over the world. Time and Again Galleries once auctioned a pair of Chinese vases that turned out to be much older and more valuable than originally thought. They ended up selling for $160,000. The buyers, from Shanghai, traveled to the U.S. to pick them up personally. Jeff can also ship merchandise wherever it needs to go.

Many of the items he buys and sells come from family estates, attics, storage facilities and garage sales, to name just a few. “People need to know what it is they’re selling. They need to be careful what they sell and do research before they sell something,” said Jeff.

Besides dealing with single items, Time and Again Galleries offers complete and partial buyouts and cleanouts of estates. They offer top dollar for your property and are proud of the service they provide.

Jeff mentioned that the business has changed dramatically over the years. Antiques are much less desirable and more modern items are in. “Younger people are much more interested in simple and modern furniture,” he said.

He also stated that collectibles, such as Hummel’s, Royal Doulton, Roseville pottery, carnival glass and other similar items have greatly depreciated in value. Traditional French furniture that once used to be so popular has been greatly devalued as well.

Besides the items already mentioned, Jeff also buys and sells gold and silver, fine porcelain, decorative arts, bronzes, antiques and other high quality items. Auctions are held every year at different locations.

Time and Again Galleries is recognized by the Certified Appraiser Guild of America and Jeff is a certified appraiser and a member of the New Jersey State Society of Auctioneers (NJSSA.) If you have something to buy or sell, Jeff Zimmerman is confident that he can provide the best service and most accurate appraisals to ensure that you get your money’s worth.

To contact Time and Again Galleries, call 908-862-0200 or email To find out more, go to

Written for The Showcase Magazine

Local Lowdown: John O. McManus

When John O. McManus decided to become a lawyer, his father, John B. McManus, gave him some great advice right from the start. Being an active volunteer in his community and at church, he raised John in an environment of outreach and service, and told him to be a lawyer that helps unite families, not divide them. Thus, after watching his family get involved in a multi-year struggle over his grandfather’s estate, he decided to become an estate lawyer and founded McManus & Associates nearly 30 years ago.

John has found other ways to help families as well, especially those in care of children and the elderly. In 2005, he joined the Board of Directors of the Somerset County YMCA (SCYMCA), and has raised almost $280,000 for those in need.

John is currently the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Board Governance Committee. He has also served on the Financial Development Committee and Capital Campaign Leadership Cabinet. In November, he was elected as the Board Chair for 2019.

Due to his hard work and dedication, John was awarded the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance 2018 Social Responsibility Champion Award in October. This award is presented to a leader dedicated to Giving Back and Providing Support to Our Neighbors.

When asked what makes him such a successful fundraiser, he said “the people you raise money with have to become your friends, even if they don’t start out that way.” Plus, you have to be an unselfish friend, give people what they need, and you have to give in order to get. It’s also important to form relationships with donors so they learn what is important about the Y and help them understand the story behind the mission.

John’s wife, Rosemary, not only helps raise money for scholarships for students going to college, but she also judges scholarship distributions. The awarding of these scholarships acknowledges the students’ hard work and shows appreciation for their talents.

The money raised also helps to offset childcare costs for families having difficulty making ends meet, and helps defer costs of membership fees so their children can exercise and be healthy.

Summer camps are also financed with this money so parents can continue to work and support their families while their children have a rich and positive experience.

John credited his success to others, such as David Cerciri, the CEO of SCYMCA, who John believes transformed the Y into an efficient and charitable organization. His other role model, current Board Chair Mark Irwin, has an enduring, unmatched everyday commitment to the Y.

As his father raised him to give to others, John and Rosemary of Basking Ridge have raised their children the same way. Their eldest daughter, Allie, a graduate of Johns Hopkins, has spent time in Africa and South America assisting people there. Their middle child, Emmie, is in undergraduate school at the University of Notre Dame. She has received the President’s Volunteer Gold Service Award and plans to become a human rights lawyer. Their youngest son, Matthew, attends the Pingry School and this year will receive the President’s Volunteer Gold Service Award for his commitment to the community, including the Y.

You do have to give in order to get, and with this award, John is getting the recognition he deserves.

Written for The Showcase Magazine