History

Macon, Georgia has a rich and diverse history whose origin is traced back over 17,000 years ago, as different tribes of Native Americans lived on the site that is now the Ocmulgee National Monument. In 1806, Fort Benjamin Hawkins was established by President Thomas Jefferson as a protective fortification and a trading post between the U.S. Government and the Muskogee Creek Indians living at the Ocmulgee Oil Fields. Trading activities brought in new settlers and Fort Hawkins was renamed "Newtown." Bibb County was formed in 1822 and the city of Macon was chartered as the county seat in 1823. Macon is named after North Carolina statesman Nathaniel Macon.

Macon’s Civil War history includes:

  • Serving as the official arsenal of the Confederacy
  • Camp Oglethorpe (a prison for captured Union officers and enlisted men)
  • Macon City Hall: The temporary state capital in 1864 and also served as a hospital for injured soldiers.
  • Cannonball House: The house received its name due to a Union cannonball that crashed into it during the Battle of Dunlap Hill on July 30, 1864. The left middle column of the house was destroyed by a cannonball fired from across the Ocmulgee River. According to eyewitnesses, the cannonball went through the column and into the house itself after bouncing off the sand sidewalk in front of the house.

Fortunately, Macon was spared as the Union troops led by General William Tecumseh Sherman bypassed Macon on their March to the Sea. Since Macon’s city structures and architecture remained intact, we now have 14 historic districts that are home to over 6,000 historic homes and buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

We invite you to come visit Macon’s historical sites and make your own Macon history!