17 Preservation Reads for the Summer

Looking for a good summer book to read on the beach, in the mountains, or on the road? Historic Macon's staff has you covered! We’ve made a list of our favorite reads about architecture, local history and a few things in between.

1.  A Field Guide to American Houses by Virginia Savage McAlester

Considered the bible for historic buildings. With the detailed illustrations, descriptions, and images, anyone can determine the architectural style and features of their home.

2.  How to Read Buildings: A Crash Course in Architectural Styles by Carol Davidson Cragoe

Buildings hold many clues that create a story. Cragoe explains the origins of architectural elements and what they can tell us about a building's past and purpose.

3.  Uppark Restored by Christopher Rowell and John Martin Robinson

"This book covers the extensive restoration of Uppark, an English country house, after a devastating fire. Someone once recommended to me that all preservationists should read this at least once a year to serve as motivation to not "give up the good fight." Although it's England, it's still a good read." -Recommendation from Lauren Mauldin, HMF Loan Fund Manager

4.  The English Railway Station by Steven Parissien

Although extraordinarily fascinating to us, railway stations in England are as ubiquitous as the American bus station. This book reminds us to look at the architecture we pass by every day.

5.  Ghosts of Grandeur by Michael W. Kitchens
[Available in the Sideporch Store of the Sidney Lanier Cottage!]

This book depicts Georgia's lost antebellum homes and plantations and includes great photographs and illustrations, some of had never been published before appearing in this book.

6.  The Hidden White House: Harry Truman and the Reconstruction of America's Most Famous Residence by Robert Klara

Headed to our nation's capital for a summer jaunt? Learn about the fascinating preservation story of the White House. America's most famous residence was on the verge of collapse until the Truman administration reconstructed the building.

7.  Living Macon Style by James E. Barfield and Walter Elliott
[Available in the Sideporch Store of the Sidney Lanier Cottage!]

The good life in 21st Century Macon, as expressed in 25 examples of domestic architecture and style, has been beautifully captured in James Barfield and Walter Elliott's book. Enjoy the magnificent beauty and the subtle wonder of Macon's houses, their grand interiors and their colorful gardens.

8.  A Tour through Time: An Architectural Guidebook to the Houses of Macon, GA by David Frazer Lewis [Available in the Sideporch Store of the Sidney Lanier Cottage!]

This book serves as an introductory guidebook to the architectural styles featured in historic Macon, Georgia. Architectural historian David Frazer Lewis takes you on your own tour through time, featuring hand sketches of architectural details, elaborate photography of many homes in central Georgia and a driving tour with maps to accompany you on your next trip to Macon.

9.  There Is More than One Way to Spell Wiener: The Story of Nu-Way by Ed Griasmore

"Fair warning about reading this book: you will want to eat Nu-Way hotdogs while reading it, which is a problem if you have a tendency to read right before going to bed like me. Bonus: you can hear from the author at the next Sidney's Salon on Tuesday, July 14." -Recommendation from Kim Campbell, HMF's Preservation and Education Coordinator

10.  Images of America: Macon by Stephen Taylor and Matthew Jennings

Matt Jennings and Stephen Taylor tell the history of Macon through photographic images and compelling caption. Learn something new about Macon's past as you flip through this beautiful book. Bonus: Matt and Stephen will talk about their experience of curating the images for this during September's Salon.

11.  A Peculiar Tribe of People: Murder and Madness in the Heart of Georgia by Richard Jay Hutto [Available in the Sideporch Store of the Sidney Lanier Cottage!]

The sleepy town of Macon was awakened by the news of murder in 1960. Chester Burge's wife was found dead while Burge recovered from surgery in the Macon hospital. When Chester is charge with his wife's murder, the trial uncovers stories of homosexuality and interracial relationships in the segregated South.

12.  Homeowner's Handbook to Historic Houses published by Historic Macon
Hardcopies available for free at the Sidney Lanier Cottage or for digital download.

Planning a staycation and need to do some work around your historic home? Check out Historic Macon's Homeowner's Handbook for tips about the preservation resources available in Macon and maintenance.

13.  The House on Tradd Street by Karen White

Although not related to Macon, the book is set in Charleston and the historic house could be considered a main character; especially since a lot of the plot revolves around its restoration and long history. If you get hooked on this one, it's part of a series, so you can get your historic house fiction in for the summer.

14.  The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews

A great summer read. The book revolves around a historic house and a woman's return to her small hometown (and her childhood home).

15.  The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay

Set in Paris, a woman who fights to save her historic Paris home in the 1860's when historic buildings were being torn down to create a "modern day" Paris.

16.  If Walls Could Talk by Juliet Blackwell

Looking for a series to get you through the rest of the summer? This is the first in a mystery series and the main character remodels historic houses in San Francisco.

17. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story by John Berendt

Set in Savannah, Berendt introduces readers to a colorful cast of characters. There's something for everyone in this captivating read - preservation, deception, and murder. And hey, Macon is mentioned a few times throughout the book as well.