Historic Macon Foundation is all about celebrating the past and highlighting its relevance to the present. That is why we are proud to hang this modern depiction of our beloved city in our new downtown location! Artist Jennifer Beck of Modern Map Prints provides a bird's eye view of Macon in both black&white and orange. Feel free to stop by our offices at 338 Poplar Street to say hey and check out our orange map. If you want a modern Macon map of your own, use our link to purchase one. This allows you to celebrate your love of Macon in a modern way while also helping our foundation preserve the history that makes Macon the treasure that it is.
Built in 1840, the cottage located at 935 High Street in Macon, Georgia was the birthplace of poet, musician, and soldier, Sidney Lanier (1842-1881). Subsequently dubbed as the Sidney Lanier Cottage, this location has been home to Christmas celebrations, countless weddings and receptions, and Historic Macon Foundation's most recent office. During our transition this fall to a downtown location, HMF's staff reminisces on some of our favorite moments and memories in the quaint cottage that will forever have a place in our community and in our story as an organization.
First Impressions by Ethiel Garlington
The Cottage will always have a special place in my heart. When Michelle and I came to Macon in February 2014 for the interview weekend, the Cottage was the main venue. Starting on Saturday afternoon with my presentation for the hiring committee in the double parlor to the reception with Trustees later that evening (complete with Bernard bartending from behind the Dutch door) - the Cottage was our introduction to Macon. We were smitten.
As the staff continued to grow over the next couple of years it was clear that the Cottage could no longer house our bustling organization. As we begin our move to the new HMF headquarters on Poplar Street it's hard not to miss features of the Cottage. I'm delighted that HMF continues to own and operate the Cottage. I look forward to many more events and memories at the beloved Sidney Lanier Cottage.
Lifelong Friends by Trish Whitley
Saying goodbye to the Cottage is definitely bitter-sweet. In 1971 my parent’s had their wedding reception at the Sidney Lanier Cottage. I attended summer day camps at the cottage in the 80s. As a young adult, fresh out of college, I promoted the Cottage as a tourist attraction in my job at the Convention & Visitors Bureau. And now, I’ve spent the past three years upstairs in the Cottage with some of the best co-workers in middle Georgia, working to preserve Macon’s historic buildings and share the history of these places and their historic neighborhoods.
It’s been an exciting time for the staff of Historic Macon and an interesting, kind of quirky, time for the Cottage. I’m sure the pioneers of the Middle Georgia Historical Society and Macon Heritage Foundation never imagined an upstairs full of computers, desks, filing cabinets, and so many people. The work we’ve accomplished from the Cottage's second floor has been remarkable and we’ll continue that excellence – just a little further down the hill!
The Cottage Tour that was Stranger than Fiction by Kim Campbell
My favorite memory of the Sidney Lanier Cottage begins on a hot summer’s day in 2015. I was on site in the middle of doing field documentation, when I received a call from an unknown number with a foreign area code. Remembering our newest co-worker at the time is originally from South Georgia, I answered.
Upon saying hello, Lauren immediately launched into asking me if I could come back to the Cottage. I was quite frankly concerned something was seriously wrong based on her breathless demeanor. Lauren then said, “there’s this group of Germans here, and they want a tour. Emily’s trying to stall right now, but how soon can you be here?” That’s right, there was a group of Germans who showed up for a tour of the Sidney Lanier Cottage without warning, and there was no docent present to lead a tour. I hopped in the car and drove (faster than I will admit) back to the Cottage.
Sure enough when I flew through the back door there were 30 or so Germans and their translator waiting, not so patiently, for a tour while Emily told them facts about Sidney Lanier. Not wanting to keep the group waiting any longer, I immediately launched into my tour narrative. I had hardly finished welcoming the group before the translator/group leader said, “You must speak slower for me to translate.” While this request makes perfect sense, I already talk rather slowly. However, I did my best to do as the translator asked.
The tour proceeded as my Cottage tours generally do, with the exception of the fact that I continually had to speak in smaller and smaller increments until it really felt like a sit-com. “This. . . portrait. . . is of. . . Mary. . . Day. . . Lanier. . .” After taking about twice as long as we usually do, we finally made it to the last room and time for questions. One gentleman asked me about the unusual size of the rocking chair in the room. When I had finished answering, the man looks at me and says in English, “You know, her translation of what you’re saying is totally wrong. She even used the wrong word for ‘rocking chair’!”
You may be asking why this seemingly wasted tour with what turned out to be a German Alcoholics Anonymous groups is my favorite memory of the Sidney Lanier Cottage. The answer is simple. Although I think only four or five people understood what I was saying that day, it was absolutely worth the time and effort to share this place with those few people. Some truths are stranger than fiction and always worthwhile to share; the stories of the Sidney Lanier Cottage, not to mention this particular tour, certainly fit that category.
Besides, how many people can say they’ve given a random group of Germans a tour of the Cottage?
A Haiku by Rachelle Wilson
Rocking chairs in front
Cars and donations behind
Short and Sweet by Caity Hungate
The Sidney Lanier Cottage will always be dear to me. While we've only been acquainted a short time, I made several cherished memories. I will always remember being greeted by Sidney the cat each morning. I will never forget the time that I found a stray turtle walking down the driveway. I am fortunate that future education events, like Sidney Salons, will bring me back to the Cottage on a regular basis.
Captivating by Latachia Clay
When I think about the Sidney Lanier cottage, what comes to mind is my first encounter with Sidney’s black and white guard cat. I was absolutely terrified when I arrived on my first day and found him sitting at the door, looking at me as if I was an uninvited guest. I was so terrified of the cat that I spent many mornings thereafter sitting frozen in my car in the back parking lot that I could barely navigate myself out of when it was time to leave. I guess it came as no surprise to my co-workers that I became acquainted with the on street parking in front of the beautiful Sidney Lanier cottage with the white rockers.
What captured my attention inside of the Sidney Lanier cottage, aside from the over-sided rocking chair that read Sidney’s chair, was the mirror in the double parlor. I just love the mirror and have spent many days passing by it purposely. It is truly hard to single out one memory about the cottage. I have had encounters with Sidney himself, indirectly of course. Days when I would be left alone that I constantly yelled, “is anybody there?” The wonderful moments spent on the front porch with my fabulous co-workers as we discussed everything from how the week went to plans for the weekend. Despite any fears I initially had, I have to say that I grew to love all of them.
After spending almost three years at the cottage, it has been like a second home. Even though our new location was needed to fit our growing needs, there will always be a special place in my heart for the Sidney Lanier Cottage, and I believe a part of my spirit, like Sidney’s spirit, will always remain there.
Memories by Sabrinna Cox
What comes to mind when I think about the Sidney Lanier Cottage are Fridays on the porch in rocking chairs with co-workers; encounters with the Cottage ghost waiting for laundry to dry; the hazing delivered by the Education Committee my first week on the job (I totally believed there were going to be bouquets of bacon); the Cottage cat, Sidney, greeting me in the garden to ask for breakfast; the loose spindle that helped me up and down the stairs after a sprained ankle; the sound of squirrels in the walls; the post-event gossip in the kitchen. All those moments come to mind but what is seared on my visual memory is the asymmetrical, yellow wallpaper with rows of diamonds and sprays of foliage that greets you when you walk through the front door!
Gratitude by Lauren Mauldin
The Sidney Lanier Cottage has seen a lot throughout its 160+ years – births, celebrations, history, and lately, the home of Historic Macon Foundation. Not only has the Cottage witnessed a lot, but in a few short years, it’s seen this organization grow into a national leading preservation organization. The Cottage was our home when we received a $3 million investment from Knight Foundation, continued neighborhood revitalization efforts in Beall’s Hill, introduced Macon’s Fading Five, created Historic Macon’s Music Registry Plaque Program, and expanded to include 10 incredibly talented staff (just to name a few accomplishments). The Cottage was home to the organizations responsible for the preservation of Middle Georgia’s history and heritage, and its legacy will continue for years to come. As we transition into our new home on Poplar Street, I can’t help but be thankful for what the Cottage represents – our past achievements and growth – and am excited to see how the new office represents our ongoing success and continued growth.
Thank you for joining us in honoring the Sidney Lanier Cottage. We'd love to hear your favorite memories of the cottage in the comments below!
It's time once again to prepare for Historic Macon's annual Flea Market. The Flea Market is Historic Macon's largest fundraiser of the year and brings in over $40,000 in funds each year. This is made possible through our generous and hard-working volunteers. They clean, sort, price, and pick-up inventory for months prior to the Flea Market.
There are many reasons to be a Flea Market volunteer. Read on for nine good reasons or check out a post from last year for more.
1. Family bonding time.
The Flea Market is a family affair for many of our volunteers. Mothers and daughters, sons and fathers, sisters and brothers -all these folks volunteer at the Flea Market. They have the opportunity to form that extra special bond over uncovering weird donations and picking up heavy furniture during pick-ups.
2. You think you don’t need anything else, but you’ll find some really special items you can’t live without (bonus: you can purchase said items during the volunteer pre-sale and luncheon on Friday, November 4).
Just ask one of our dedicated volunteers. They sort through boxes and boxes of donated items every year, wondering how anyone could have so much stuff. But our donations are pretty great so it's hard to resist taking at least something home.
3. Flea Market friends are lifelong friends.
The act of sorting through donations and working the Flea Market creates interesting conversations and bonding moments, resulting in lifelong friendships. Our volunteers see each other every year during workdays and the sale, strengthening their bond one Flea Market at a time.
4. You might see some really cute babies....
5. .....and Santa!
He's always watching. So you better be nice.
6. You’ll burn a few calories working in our new location
That's right, the Flea Market has a new home at 357 Oglethorpe Street. The 10,000 square foot warehouse is filling quickly with donations and this year's sale will be better than ever!
7. And you can treat yourself to a locally made brew after you burned those calories at the Macon Beer Company.
Our new location comes with the added bonus of great new neighbors, including the Macon Beer Company and the Macon Water Authority. Which will make for fun Saturday workdays and a great Preview Party.
8. Those green aprons though....
Yes, you get to wear one of the coveted green aprons. Which means you have some authority on the day of the sale. And it looks good on everyone. Especially after you’ve burned those calories during the work days. Right?
9. At the end of the day you can kick your feet up and know you made a difference.
93¢ of every dollar spent at the Flea Market does right back to Historic Macon. Those funds allow us to do what we do best: revitalize our community by preserving architecture and sharing history.
It's easy to volunteer.
If you're convinced that working at Historic Macon's Flea Market is one of the best volunteer gigs in Macon, we'd love to have you on board. Start by coming to weekly workdays on Wednesdays and Fridays of every week from 8am to 11am.
If those times don't work for you, sign up to work during the Flea Market November 3-5, 2017.
Have questions? Want to be added to the Flea Market volunteer email list? Email Rachelle Wilson at email@example.com or call 478-742-5084.
On Tuesday, August 9, two chipper youths and their advisor arrived to the Sidney Lanier Cottage with a large check in tow from the Watson-Brown Foundation. The Watson-Brown Foundation Junior Board of Trustees awarded Historic Macon a $10,000 grant to help fund the listing of Napier Heights as a district in the National Register of Historic Places.
Historic Macon applied for the grant from the Watson-Brown Foundation in March of 2016 to list the area commonly known as Napier Heights in the National Register. Napier Heights is roughly bounded by Interstate 75, Montpelier Avenue, Pio Nono Avenue, and Roff Avenue, though the exact boundaries of a National Register district are determined after research is complete. The area's wonderful building stock and the neighborhood’s excellent location between Mercer University, the Vineville Historic District, and the Cherokee Heights Historic District make it an excellent candidate not only for National Register listing, but also for revitalization.
Historic Macon staffers took the Junior Board of Trustees on a tour of the proposed district in early spring. The trustees asked many questions about the project and were intrigued by Historic Macon's commitment to revitalizing our community through historic preservation. The trustees saw the merit in listing Napier Heights as a historic district and awarded Historic Macon with $10,000 to get the job done.
Historic Macon will use the funds to conduct the extensive research required for the district proposal. The listing of the economically depressed neighborhood of Napier Heights in the National Register of Historic Places allows Historic Macon to employ its proven block-by-block, street-by-street revitalization approach to the neighborhood. Historic Macon anticipates a time in the near future when our neighborhood revitalization work in the Beall's Hill neighborhood will be complete. Napier Heights is be the ideal area to extend Historic Macon's nationally recognized real estate and preservation tactics, creating a more vibrant neighborhood for long-term residents.
Historic Macon appreciates the recognition and trust of the Watson Brown Foundation Junior Board of Trustees in this project. Continue to follow our blog for updates on the Napier Heights listing and our many other projects.
My summer spent working in Macon turned out to be quite different than what I expected. I went to Macon with the idea that I was getting away from Missouri to partake in an internship over the not-so-thrilling topic of tax credits. Little did I know what awaited me. My spring 2016 school semester was my first introduction to historic tax credits, and what I gathered was they were complicated and pretty boring. However, right from the start Historic Macon Foundation (HMF) showed the potential of utilizing tax credits to help improve the city through historic districts. I never imagined the outstanding improvements possible through historic tax credits without experiencing it on a larger scale. It was not an experience you can get in the classroom.
Preservation is a team effort. Not only did I witness first-hand the importance of communication between the staff at Historic Macon Foundation, but also with their clients, members, volunteers, and fellow preservation foundations, just to name a few. All of these groups were factors in making sure each project or event ran smoothly. It’s always stressed in grad school that you should be a team player in preservation, but until you see it in action the concept is often taken for granted. I knew communication was important coming into my internship, but seeing the benefits of working together to make something happen really showed me the power of collaboration.
Tax credits are only a small part of historic preservation. Without communication between the individuals involved in each scenario, it would be impossible to achieve goals. Even though tax credits can be daunting, the finished projects are always incredible and well-worth the process it takes to make them happen.