Three donors pay off remaining debt for rehab of Old, Old Jail

Three donors pay off remaining debt for rehab of Old, Old Jail

Photo: from left, Emily Magid, Calvin LeHew, Marilyn LeHew.


The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN has received its get out of jail free card thanks to the generous support of Calvin and Marilyn Lehew and Emily Magid.

The long-time friends and preservationists will donate more than $900,000 to pay the balance of the note on the Old, Old Jail, which will soon be named the Lehew Magid Big House for Historic Preservation.

“We are overwhelmed by the generosity of the Lehews and Emily Magid, and it is only appropriate that the home of preservation be named for these visionaries,” said Bari Beasley, CEO of the Heritage Foundation. “We are grateful to all those who have supported the revitalization of the Jail, including those who have given monetary gifts and gifts of time.”

The Lehews are staunch preservationists.

In 2014, their lead gift of $1 million was instrumental in the rehabilitation of the Old, Old Jail. Calvin and Marilyn Lehew were iconic leaders in the preservation of Main Street, where they owned numerous buildings and operated the popular restaurant, Choices. Additionally, the Lehews were instrumental in saving The Factory at Franklin in 1996 by purchasing and renovating the property, all while preserving many of The Factory’s original features and architecture.

This husband and wife team continues to build a legacy for preservation throughout the community. The Lehews said, “This town has given us so much by supporting our businesses and beyond. It is only right that we give back to the community. We don’t have children, but the people of Franklin are our family, and we are proud to give back to continue efforts of preservation.”

Emily Magid is often referred to as the angel of the Franklin Theatre. Her monetary donation allowed the Heritage Foundation to purchase the historic Franklin Theatre on Main Street. Magid recalled her childhood spent at the theatre and could not imagine Franklin without this iconic building.

She continues to be an active member of the Franklin Theatre’s Board of Governors and the Heritage Foundation Board. Magid commented, “I’ve always said my motto is, ‘you can’t take it with you.’ I have the opportunity to give back to the community, and I believe in preservation and the mission of the Heritage Foundation.”

David Garrett, president of the Heritage Foundation added, “Emily, Marilyn and Calvin are longtime friends and preservationists, and it speaks to this community that they have joined forces and finances on behalf of the Heritage Foundation. Franklin’s Award Winning Main Street would not be what it is today without the vision and commitment of Calvin and Marilyn. I also can’t say enough about Emily’s generosity and her commitment to the Heritage Foundation, not only monetarily, but as a volunteer at the Heritage Foundation office for more than 20 years.”

In addition to the naming of the building, the Lehews and Emily Magid will be honored through a permanent display of their preservation legacy in the entrance hallway at the Big House. A celebration for the naming of the building will soon be scheduled for all donors to the building.

For additional information about the Heritage Foundation, visit

About the Heritage Foundation: Since 1967, the nonprofit group has been dedicated to protecting and preserving Williamson County’s architectural, geographic, and cultural heritage of Williamson County and to promote the ongoing revitalization of downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation.

About The Author

Brooke Wanser is the associate editor for the Franklin Home Page, and can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @BWanser_writes or @FranklinHomepg.

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