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Discover Historic Macon,Georgia
MACON, once known as a "river town," has hosted ancient Indian tribes, explorers, river traders, cotton kings and presidents. In the early 1800's the city fathers designed Macon after the ancient Gardens of Babylon (see this old map circa 1732). It is purely by design that Macon, with all of her beautiful parks and scenic spots, is known as a "City in a Park."
Macon's rolling green hills embrace the gently flowing Ocmulgee River. Nestled at the end of the Piedmont Plateau and the beginning of the Coastal Plain, Macon enjoys a temperate climate. Visitors have delighted for centuries at Macon's natural charm and well preserved heritage.
National Recognition - Due largely to the efforts of the Middle Georgia Historical Society & the Macon Heritage Foundation, 5,500 individual structures and 11 historic districts are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In fact, Macon has more acreage listed on this prestigious Register than any other city in the south. A historic Zoning Ordinance has been established as an aid to preserve Macon's great architectural, historical, cultural, and aesthetic heritage.
Macon, Georgia is located on the state's fall line, where millions of years ago, Paleozoic sea waters lapped the shores of what is now a thriving southern city. When these sea waters receded to the Atlantic Ocean, this area was left with some of the world's largest kaolin deposits, making it easy to find prehistoric fossils, sand dollars and shark's teeth in the area.
From Macon, the Piedmont Plateau slopes northward to the mountains and southward to the Coastal Plains, extending almost 200 miles to Georgia's Golden Isles. As you will notice the city is in a lush valley between plateau and the plains.
Archaeological excavations at Macon's Ocmulgee National Monument indicate that early Indian tribes settled here about 10,000 years ago. Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto recorded the first Christian baptism on the new continent in 1540 when priests in his expedition baptized two Indians from the nearby mounds in a ceremony on the banks of the Ocmulgee River.
In 1823, Macon was incorporated on the west bank of the Ocmulgee River. City founders devised a plan to follow the design of the ancient Gardens of Babylon, providing for large squares of garden parks and wide streets. This design is evident today in Macon's attractive business district, and perpetuates the early dreams as The city of Parks.
Macon was toasted in the 19th century as the "Queen Inland City of the South", as trade and the economy boomed and bustled on the river and railroad. Wealthy planters and businessmen built elaborate mansions and charming cottages. Many of which have been preserved and restored.
Macon's history provides a fascinating journey for visitors into the South's colorful antebellum past and energetic, progressive present.
Terminal Station - 200 Cherry Street
Once the Southeast's railroad center, Macon's Terminal Station (c. 1916) is formal Roman classical in style and spreads 520 feet wide. During World War I and II, troops thronged the Terminal and at its height, the building saw some 100 passenger trains a day. Today, the Terminal Station houses the Downtown Welcome Center and Georgia Power Company's Macon offices.
Tubman African American Museum - 340 Walnut Street
Dedicated to preserving the African American history of Macon and the nation, this museum features quality visiting exhibits and permanent acquisitions, including a wall mural documenting the journey "From Africa to America."
Hay House - 934 Georgia Avenue
After a four-year European honeymoon, William Butler Johnston took five years to construct and furnish this magnificent Italian Renaissance Revival mansion. A National Historic Landmark, it was completed in 1860 with luxuries far ahead of their time.
Old Cannonball House & Confederate Museum - 856 Mulberry Street
The only house in Macon hit by Union Forces, this authentic Greek Revival home was struck by a cannonball during an attack in July, 1864. Built in 1853, it now features two recreations of meeting rooms used by the world's first two secret societies for women. Also, a Confederate Museum in the former servants' house contains relics of Macon and the Confederacy. Headquarters of the Sidney Lanier Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Grand Opera House - 651 Mulberry Street
Built in 1884, this beautifully restored theater once boasted the largest stage south of the Mason-Dixon line. It remains active with "The Season at the Grand," featuring professional productions, as well as local performances and events year-round.
Downtown Historic District
Blossoming with restoration and preservation projects, nearly all of the areas surrounding downtown have been proclaimed National Historic Districts with 48 buildings and homes cited for architectural excellence and listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition, some 575 structures have been noted for their architectural significance. In total, Macon has more acreage listed on the National Register than any other Georgia city.
Museum of Arts & Sciences and Mark Smith Planetarium - 4182 Forsyth Road
Macon's "Window on the World" welcomes visitors as The Museum opens its new, three story "Discovery House" and its unusual "Backyard" featuring a Scientist's Workshop, an Artist's Garret, a Humanist's Study, a simulated fossil dig, and live animals in habitats. The Mark Smith Planetarium, one of the state's largest, uses quadraphonic sound and exciting special effects to bring astronomy to life.
Rose Hill Cemetery - 1091 Riverside Drive
Established in 1839, Rose Hill remains one of the oldest surviving public cemetery parks in the U.S. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Rose Hill's terraced slopes contain the final resting places of many noted citizens including Duane Allman and Berry Oakley, two late members of the popular Allman Brothers Band. Confederate Square encloses some 600 Confederate and Union soldiers' markers.
Sidney Lanier Cottage - 935 High Street
Famous Georgia poet Sidney Clopton Lanier was born in this Victorian cottage in 1842. Among Lanier's best known poems are "The Marshes of Glynn" and "Song of the Chattahoochee." The cottage, now headquarters for the Middle Georgia Historical Society, features period furnishings and gardens.
Woodruff House - 988 Bond Street
Built in 1836 by Macon's master architect and builder Elam Alexander, the house has been owned over the years by several prominent citizens including Col. Joseph Bond, who in 1857 made the world's largest record setting cotton sale: 2,200 bales for $100,000. It served as Union General Wilson residence in 1865 and hosted Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his family in 1887. Restored by the city of Macon and the Robert Woodruff Foundation, it is now owned and operated by Mercer university.
Ocmulgee National Monument - 1207 Emery Highway
Journey into the ancient past at the largest archeological development east of the Mississippi. Witness about 12,000 years of native American Indian heritage, including a prehistoric earthlodge and artifacts from six distinct Indian groups who occupied the site.
Neel Reid Garden Center - 730 College Street
One of famous architect Neel Reid's hometown creations, this 1907 mansion is headquarters for Macon's Federated Garden Clubs. Beautifully decorated and landscaped, the Center hosts several important flower shows, teas and community events throughout the year.
Wesleyan College - 4760 Forsyth Road
The first college in the world chartered to grant degrees to women, founded in 1836 - Wesleyan College has occupied this 240 acre site since 1928 when it moved from its original location on College Street.
Lake Tobesofkee Recreation Area - 6600 Moseley Dixon Road
Three parks and 1800 acres of fresh water make Lake Tobesofkee the Macon visitor's choice for outdoor fun. Tennis, fishing, boating, skiing, picnicking and sun-bathing are all available just four miles from major shopping, dining and lodging.
Georgia Music Hall of Fame - 200 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
This state of the art interactive museum keeps Georgia's rich musical heritage on your mind. Country, gospel, symphony, blues, big band and southern rock'n roll are all represented and explored through a fantastic array of media, including: a perpetual music festival; satellite capable video theaters; a 12,000 square foot exhibition hall; Georgia music library and archives; vintage listening rooms.
The Douglass Theatre - 355 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
This restored historic theatre has hosted many greats from Cab Calloway to Otis Redding, who was discovered in the Theatre's Saturday Talent Shows of the 1960's. It highlights the impact of African Americans on our musical, dramatic and film heritage.
YEAR ROUND FESTIVALS
The Macon Cherry Blossom Festival
A Top 20 Event in the Southeast, this March festival fills two weeks with events, performances, exhibits and southern hospitality. A backdrop of more than 170,000 blushing Yoshino cherry trees makes Macon the Cherry Blossom Capital of the World!
MidSummer Macon - A three-week program of arts education, participation and exhibition sponsored by the Center for the Arts at Wesleyan College, this event offers entertainment from late June through mid-July.
Southern Jubilee - A Top 20 Event in the Southeast, this celebration of Macon's heritage coincides with Georgia Music Week and features concerts, special tours, performances and a huge street party in the hometown of such famous musicians as Otis Redding and the Allman Brothers Band.
Georgia On My Plate - The home of Southern Hospitality and good cooking welcomes visitors with a taste of true Georgia food and friendliness, pulled all together in one place. Fresh Georgia produce displays and samplings, Southern dishes and meals, cooking contests, celebrity chef demonstrations, children's events, packaged Georgia products, Southern cookbook and souvenir store, and juried art exhibit.
Arrowhead Arts & Crafts Festival - The last weekend of October brings two days of fun on the banks of Lake Tobesofkee with more than 100 crafters and artists, food vendors and entertainment for all ages.
White Columns & Holly, Christmas In Macon - A Top 20 Event in the Southeast, this November/December celebration of the holiday season features special performances, tours of private and historic southern homes, and a city alive with festive lights and beautiful decorations.
First Night Macon - A family-oriented evening designed to ring in the new year with musical, theatrical, magical and spiritual events throughout Downtown. The grand finale includes a dazzling fireworks display over the city to the music of symphony orchestra.
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