Macon is Preservation

Macon is Preservation. Macon is preservation. MACON IS PRESERVATION.

 Students from the McDuffie Center for the Strings play a tune in front of the newly renovated Beall House.

Students from the McDuffie Center for the Strings play a tune in front of the newly renovated Beall House.

These three simple words tell the story of preservation in our community. Historic Macon is a leader nationally when it comes to community revitalization through preservation efforts. We’ve led the state the past two years in the number of historic tax credit applications submitted. Over the course of 30 years, we’ve rehabilitated over 150 properties in Macon’s historic districts and downtown. In the past 5 years alone we’ve restored 27 historic buildings and built 16 new homes. Building by building, neighborhood by neighborhood, Macon is being transformed and our historic structures are finding new uses.

These statistics are not just the work of Historic Macon, they’re backed by an entire community. That’s why our work is so successful, because Macon is preservation. You may be a preservationist and not even know it. That’s why Historic Macon decided to launch an advocacy campaign to show the diversity of preservation efforts in Macon and to show that everyone can be involved.

After the demolition of Tremont Temple and the Douglass House in 2014, Macon experienced a huge loss. These preservation defeats exposed the flaws in our local zoning and design codes. Further, these two cases showed buildings can be torn down despite the community fighting for their preservation.

The Macon is Preservation campaign is an opportunity for Historic Macon to show preservation efforts in a positive light. Preservation groups are often seen as reactionary rather than proactive when it comes to advocating for historic properties. With help from the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, Big Hair Productions, and Maryann Bates Photography, Historic Macon staff came up with the idea to show the diversity of preservation efforts that happen every single day in our community by creating a 30-second video and series of photographs.

 Tabitha Walker and Stephanie Shadden from Big Hair Productions and Maryann Bates from Maryann Photography take a break during a busy day of shooting.

Tabitha Walker and Stephanie Shadden from Big Hair Productions and Maryann Bates from Maryann Photography take a break during a busy day of shooting.

Macon is fortunate to have a wide array of incredible historic structures, from all periods and styles. This is something for Maconites to be proud of! As a staff, we started to think about those buildings that we pass everyday on the way to work, or the dog park, or to a ballgame or those buildings where we go to learn or grab a bite to eat. Then we began to think about the people and the stories behind those buildings. What we came up with was a list much too long to cover in a 30 second video but we think this PSA is a great start to rethinking what preservation looks like.

Preservation is all around us and this video tells that story. You’re participating in it everyday when you go to H&H, recently named the most iconic restaurant in Georgia. Seeing the Allman Brothers and Southern rock posters while enjoying Mama Louise’s famous fried chicken is an act of preservation in and of itself, you’re keeping history alive. When you drop your kids off at Alex II, Georgia’s first magnet school, you’re furthering the vision of Elam Alexander. Preservation isn’t just about buildings. It’s saving the structures that tell the story of our community and continuing to use them.

The Macon is Preservation campaign is more than this 30 second video that will premiere during our annual meeting on Tuesday, May 5. Check our Facebook page regularly to see #maconispreservation in action.

 The H & H crew serves up some smiles for the Macon is Preservation campaign.

The H & H crew serves up some smiles for the Macon is Preservation campaign.