The Not-so Fading Five

It’s hard to believe that it has been almost an entire year since Historic Macon Foundation opened nominations for our inaugural endangered places list, Macon’s Fading Five. But what a year it has been! When we first asked for public input, we had no idea what an impact listing these properties would have on our community. In the first list, Macon’s Fading Five helped all four individual properties listed find new owners who are interested in rehabilitating those buildings so future generations can continue to enjoy them. As we prepare to open nominations again, only the Cotton Avenue District will remain on the list from last year.

Many preservation organizations have endangered property lists, but it can sometimes be hard to see what impact listing really has on those places. Not so with Macon’s Fading Five. Take for example, the Bonnybrae-Bedgood House, historically known as the Scott-Johnston House.

 Bonnybrae-Bedgood House at 1073 Georgia Avenue

Bonnybrae-Bedgood House at 1073 Georgia Avenue

 

This soaring Greek Revival structure had been on the market for years when it was announced as part of the inaugural Macon’s Fading Five list. As new, sensitive owners purchased almost every other high-style mansion in the College Hill Corridor, this house continued to be a highly visible eyesore on the edge of downtown. It seemed the once renowned Bonnybrae would never find a new owner, much less one who wanted to use this structure for its original purpose – a family’s home.

Then came the first announcement of Macon’s Fading Five, including the Bonnybrae-Bedgood House. Within days, a local family expressed interest in acquiring the property, not as an office space, which many people believed was the only viable use for this sprawling structure, but as their home.  That interest turned into a purchase, and today the owners are undertaking an incredible project to restore this home to its former glory utilizing historic tax credits.

The Bonnybrae-Bedgood House would not have ever been listed in Macon’s Fading Five, and thus found its new owners, if someone had not taken the time to fill out the Fading Five nomination form. Nominations to this year’s Fading Five are live, and we encourage everyone to participate if they know of an important place in Macon in need of preservation. And if you don’t believe something as simple as filling out an online nomination can help with Macon’s revitalization, well, we’d encourage you to just drive down Georgia Avenue, and see what impact you can have for yourself.