Culture & Heritage
Dance to ancient Native American rhythms, sip mint juleps on the veranda of an antebellum mansion, hear the stories of escape from slavery, get your groove on in an authentic music mecca or stroll down avenues lined with architectural jewels.
Macon's wealth of history, culture and heritage can transport you from the days when Native Americans claimed this land "where man first sat down" to the city's 1800s settlement and growth, through the Civil War, to African American contributions and influence and into the music of some true American icons.
Millions of years ago, visitors to Macon would have been near the beach. When the waters receded, this place was left perched on the edge of the Piedmont Plateau, with gently rolling hills, along a beautiful river. It was the perfect place for man to settle some 17,000 years ago, beginning the ebb and flow of various cultures that would lead to modern-day Macon, GA.
Native American Heritage
Native Americans lived here from about 15,000 BC until their forced removal in 1836. Ocmulgee National Monument, established in 1936, preserves and shares that rich history today, especially during its annual Ocmulgee Indian Celebration, held the third weekend of September.
The city of Macon, founded in 1823, grew primarily thanks to the railroad and cotton industries to become a city of opulent homes, grand blocks of brick buildings for commerce and the gracious living portrayed in pre-Civil War Gone with the Wind style.
Today Macon's wide avenues and wealth of National Register buildings, some open for touring, offer a glimpse of that bygone era, such as the National Historic Landmark Hay House or the birthplace of poet/lawyer/musician/linguist Sidney Lanier.
Civil War Heritage
Macon's role in the American Civil War remains visible today at sites such as Ocmulgee National Monument, where the Battle of Dunlap Hill was fought, and from whence the only Union ordnance to strike the city was fired. That one shell crashed into a white columned mansion now called Cannonball House. Other sites of Civil War importance include the historic Rose Hill and Riverside Cemeteries, Woodruff House on Coleman Avenue, Hay House, and Macon City Hall.
African American Heritage
Monuments throughout the city honor leaders who made significant contributions to the community, and museums chronicle the lives of beloved Maconites, from music legends Little Richard and Otis Redding to Viet Nam War hero Sgt. Rodney M. Davis and escaped slave turned educator Ellen Craft. Sites to explore for an African American Macon tour experience are indicated on a suggested itinerary here, including the Tubman African American Museum, Douglass Theatre and Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
Some people say there's something in the water here that ignites the creative spark in people. Who knows? People have been making music here for thousands of years. From ancient drum beats to today's top country hits, the list of musicians to come out of Macon reads like a who's who: blind street singer Reverend Pearly Brown, "Little Richard" Penniman, Lena Horne, soul legend Otis Redding, Capricorn Records, the Allman Brothers Band, Marshall Tucker Band, Wet Willie, violin virtuoso Robert McDuffie, REM founding members Bill Barry and Mike Mills, rapper Young Jeezy and CMT Artist of the Year Jason Aldean. Great places to check it out: The Allman Brothers Band at The Big House, Historic Grant's Lounge, and The Big O Foundation and Otis Redding Mini-Museum.