Now, anyone anywhere with an internet connection and computer can tour some of the city’s most prominent historic landmarks with the click of a mouse. 

Miles of trails at the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park, Rose Hill Cemetery, Fort Hawkins and Amerson River Park are now available to tour on Google Maps. 

"You can walk to the top of the mounds and so forth .... (and see) a 360-degree view of the place you’re walking," Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park Superintendent Jim David said. "I've been very pleased with it." 

David said there were plans to put a computer in the park’s visitors center “so disabled visitors could do virtual tours," but the area’s internet connection is not sufficient to allow it. 

The views on the virtual tours were captured in April 2016 with a Google Street View Trekker¬ a 45-pound wearable backpack with an attached pole that’s topped with a green sphere that holds eight cameras. 

The contraption was on loan from Google to the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park Association, a nonprofit that aims to bring recognition to the 700-acre park that has been occupied by humans since the Ice Age. 

"I saw that other national parks in other cities were doing this to try to encourage tourism," said Billie Coleman, a volunteer for the park’s association who came up with the idea to apply for the Google Street View Trekker. "I thought it would be a great way to showcase a lot of the mounds so people could experience what it was like to be there even if they were never able to come experience this site here."

At the behest of Google, employees of NewTown Macon and the Macon-Bibb Parks and Recreation department helped trek the other sites, in all, 15 miles of trails.

Google quietly published the virtual tours online about a year after the trails were trekked. 

Valerie Bradley, director of communications for the Macon-Bibb County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said Friday she was unaware that the tours were already available online. 

"Anytime there is an additional tourism offering for people who are visiting, as well as residents of Macon, I think is great," she said. "We are excited to be able to promote it."
Sights worth seeing
Sights at Rose Hill Cemetery on Riverside Drive include magnificent mausoleums, obelisks and wrought-iron-ringed plots. Though it looks more like a park, it is the final resting place for some of Macon's most prominent residents, including some of the original members of the Allman Brothers Band, famous architects and masons.

Fort Hawkins, on Emery Highway, was built in 1806, when Georgia was still mostly frontier wilderness, for protection against Native Americans and invasions by the Spanish, British and French, according to Telegraph archives. It was where militiamen and federal troops were trained for battle, and it is often referred to as the birthplace for modern-day Macon. 

Amerson River Park, off Riverside Drive, was still being developed when images of it were captured in 2016. The area, on the banks of the Ocmulgee River, was once home to the city’s water treatment plant, which was destroyed in the flood of 1994.