By Paige Atwell
Driving to downtown Franklin, particularly from Franklin Road, it’s hard to miss the wrought iron gates and stone columns that sit nestled across from Battle Ground Academy’s lower school. Behind the gates, between the stupendous, flowy greenery that lead towards the Harpeth River, you’ll find Riverview: An architectural treasure of Williamson County.
Looking at the house today, with its stern, white columns, sleek hardwood floors and grand staircase, it’s hard to imagine that it all started over 100 years ago as a modest, two room, two story home with a library below and master bedroom above. In 1901, Henry Hunter Mayberry purchased the property to expand it into the grand manor we see today. One short year later, he surprised his wife with the finished, renovated home. While we consider it to be a historical feature today, it was quite the modern advancement at the time. Riverview was the first home in Franklin to have a water works system, Delco lighting and central heat.
Emulating splendor, the home was adorned with floor to ceiling linen closets, fireplaces in every room, an enclosed back porch and ceilings decorated with gold leaf masks. The property also housed a bowling alley, tennis courts, a library, billiard room and grand ballroom to entertain guests, something the Mayberry’s were known to do often.
In 1940, the home underwent a new, but smaller series of renovations. The barn was ordered out of a Sears & Roebuck catalog and added to the back, the spiral staircase was updated, a 200-year- old cabin was moved from Kentucky to accompany the space and what originally served as a carriage portal was converted into a window-filled sunroom with black and white marble floors.
If you were to walk into Riverview today, you would find that almost all of those original designs are still intact thanks to current owners Jeff Bethurum and Amy Smith Heinz Bethurum. Jeff’s paternal grandmother, Mary Smithson Bethurum was a direct descendant of Timothy Demonbreun. His family has lived here for generations. Jeff vividly remembers driving by the home all throughout his childhood. In fact, at just eight-years-old, he decided that one day, he was going to own that home himself. Years later, after completing his surgical training in Memphis, Jeff moved back to Franklin and purchased the home in 1977 and has proudly called it home ever since.
“Our entire family helps with the upkeep of the house and property,” explains Amy. “It certainly takes a village as far as general upkeep and landscape work goes, and we choose our battles when it comes to major renovations.”
And those renovations have been scarce. Throughout the years, it’s been important to both Jeff and Amy that they preserve the history and as much as the original architecture of the home as possible. With the exception of the kitchen, which had to be completely remodeled in 2015 due to a flood caused by a broken pipe, most of the original home has remained the same.
Matching the historical feel, Jeff and Amy wanted the décor to compliment not only the homes architectural roots, but also their shared passion of its past. “Our vision for decorating the house is to live and enjoy the atmosphere and heritage that each room possesses,” says Amy. “Each original piece of furniture has its own unique story, including the three-piece dining room set which won the 1898 Chicago World's Fair Expo, a kissing couch, entrance hall settee with mirror and a beautiful red velvet armchair. Each piece of furniture shares similar features in the carving of the wood.”
With its magnificent presence, historical roots and undeniable charm, it’s easy to understand why Jeff made it his mission at eight-years-old to own Riverview one day. But the best part according to Amy? It’s less than a five-minute walk to the beloved vibrancy of downtown Franklin.
Soon, you can enjoy this prime location for yourself! Splendor Ridge, a luxury living, downtown Franklin neighborhood is coming soon! These custom-built homes border the Little Harpeth River and a walking trail right next to Franklin Road. There are nineteen lots available; make one your future home today!