In the late 1850s, a German immigrant named Johann Albert Lotz put the finishing touches on a house that he had built in Franklin, Tennessee. A skilled carpenter and piano maker, Lotz used his new home to showcase his work to potential clients. A few short years later, on Nov. 30, 1864, 20,000 Union soldiers fighting in the Civil War marched into Franklin, constructing barricades a mere 100 yards from Lotz's home. The Lotz family sought refuge from the battle in a neighbor's basement, and the ensuing battle raged for 17 hours, becoming the bloodiest day of the entire Civil War.
The Lotz family survived the deadly battle, but they were so scarred from the human wreckage that they relocated to California. Lotz's young daughter, Matilda, went on to become a renowned artist with works still today displayed in prominent venues across the country. The Lotz House was added to the National Historic Register in 1976, and today, the house is a converted museum, telling the story of the Battle of Franklin through the eyes of a family whose story is as compelling as they come.