Crimson Clover was first planted in Franklin County, Tennessee in 1892 by Mr. John Ruch of the Belvidere Community. He received a peck of crimson clover seed (regarded as a soil building legume) from Commissioner Essary of France. Possibilities of the crop were not realized until ten years later, in 1902 when Lee Ruch decided to seed a field of crimson clover again. In the following years crimson clover was grown extensively here and seed was sold on a large scale.
However, it was during World War I when the importation of the seed was sold on a large scale, that importation of the seed from its native France was prohibited, and American seed men turned to Franklin County to secure their supply. It is ironic that such a tragic period for our county could prove so beneficial for our county.
The production of the seed as a cash crop, often called "The Crimson Mortgage Lifter" is only one of the uses of crimson clover. It is infinitely more valuable as a winter pasture crop that will fatten livestock and make dairy cattle erosion, and it is highly rated by agricultural experts as a soil builder when turned under. Actually, its value as a cash crop is the least important of its virtures, since a very small area devoted to the production of its seed could supply the whole United States - which is virtually what Franklin County did. There were eleven festivals honoring this once strong cash crop of the area held from 1936-1954. Today the Chamber of Commerce is continuing the tradition by hosting an annual Crimson Clover Ball that is always held in May when our beautiful crimson clover fields are in full bloom.


The Southern Middle Tennessee Pavilion is located in Winchester, Franklin County, Tennessee. From the square in Winchester, follow Highway 64 West for approximately 2 miles and turn right on Joyce Lane. There will be a sign with Southern Middle Tennessee Pavilion at the intersection of Highway 64 West and Joyce Lane. Once you turn right on Joyce Lane go through the first stop sign and turn right at the next paved drive which is the driveway of the Southern Middle Tennessee Pavilion.

The building is very versatile. It can be used for concerts, rodeos, flea markets, arts & crafts fairs, farm expositions and auctions, all types of horse shows, 4-H events, team roping, tractor pulls, etc.

The size of the building is 280.4 feet x 205.4 feet. The building has an indoor dirt ring approximately 238.30 feet x 101 feet. The building has stationary bleachers that will seat approximately 950 people. With more bleachers or chairs brought in, the building will seat 3,000 people. The building is equipped with a full concession stand. The building is heated, but is not air-conditioned.

Contact Jimmy Stewart, Manager of the Pavilion, for full details on how to rent the building and for upcoming events. She can be reached at (931) 967-3888 (work) or (931) 967-3211 (home).


The Franklin County Library is open 6 days a week: Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday, 9:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M.; Tuesday and Thursday, 9:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. Approximately 40,000 volumes are housed in a 9,000 square foot building. Other services include: tax forms, audio-visuals, newspapers, periodicals, on-line catalog, FAX and copy service and special summer programs for children. The local history and genealogy department includes an extensive cross-indexed collection of family histories, census, maps, microfilm, marriage and cemetery records. An active "Friends" organization sponsors a yearly home tour and book sale. For more information, call 931-967-3706; FAX 931- 962-1477; Historical Society, 931-962-1476, 105 S. Porter Street, Winchester, TN 37398.