Summer Intern Perspective -Sara Doll

 Elaine and I sharing a moment of accomplishment.

Elaine and I sharing a moment of accomplishment.

 #MaconisPreservation at my shotgun

#MaconisPreservation at my shotgun

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.

Summer Intern Perspective -Elaine Sullivan

 A corner of the potential Historic District we surveyed.

A corner of the potential Historic District we surveyed.

My time at Historic Macon Foundation has been filled with many different learning opportunities and experiences. There were historic tax credits, a National Register district survey, easements, and various field trips to name a few. Most of all, I was given to opportunity to see how effective HMF is at preservation and revitalization throughout the area. I was initially drawn to Historic Macon Foundation because of how active it seemed to be within the preservation scene locally. The idea of revitalizing the community with the goal of encouraging renewed and diverse neighborhoods was something that I was most excited about and hoped to be a part of.

One of the little glimpses into Macon’s history and revitalization I was given the opportunity to experience was in the form of a biking tour brochure. The whole concept was based on bringing attention to the Industrial District and the history it had to offer.

 In honor of my Railroad Depot research, here's the engine at the entrance to Central City Park.

In honor of my Railroad Depot research, here's the engine at the entrance to Central City Park.

For this project, a particular topic I took an interest in involved the vast amount of railways and depots that were once a part of the area and how it shaped the landscape. Since the railroads are an integral part of Macon’s history, I enjoyed learning the history behind all of the rail lines and depot locations. Observing how the commerce of the area worked hand in hand with the railroads to become the backbone of Macon’s economy made me excited for what the future of preservation and revitalization of the Industrial District has to hold.

If I’ve learned anything at HMF, it's the power of taking an opportunity to intentionally hone your effort to research and preserve history. A little encouragement and knowledge goes a long way.

 The City Directories, aka the only books I looked at in the library.

The City Directories, aka the only books I looked at in the library.

Mill Hill: The Art of Revitalizing a Neighborhood

 Michael Phillips, Historic Macon's Preservation Carpenter, prepares for work in  Mill Hill

Michael Phillips, Historic Macon's Preservation Carpenter, prepares for work in Mill Hill

For the first time in our 52 year history, we are working simultaneously in two (three, if you count Downtown), neighborhoods. Our experience taught us that focusing on neighborhoods block by block, street by street, house by house bears the most impact on revitalization. We’ve seen this success in Hugenin Heights, Tattnall Square Heights, and now Beall’s Hill. That being said, when opportunities present themselves to do more good, we’re always interested.  

In 2012 I spoke on a panel at a statewide preservation conference in Kentucky. One of the other panelists spoke about how Paducah, KY had married arts and neighborhood revitalization with splendid results. That session always stuck with me knowing that artists have pushed the boundaries of revitalization in cities across the country.

Last year, a contingent of Maconites visited Bradenton, Florida. From that visit, the Mill Hill Arts Village was first conceived. Since 1999 Bradenton’s Village of the Arts (VOTA) has been wildly successful by creating a thriving community of residents and businesses that support a creative spirit. True to Macon’s entrepreneurial spirit, the delegation quickly set to work creating a similar arts endeavor in our community.

As with all successful ventures, Mill Hill: East Macon Arts Village is a partnership. HMF was invited to participate to develop the housing portion of Mill Hill. Our organization will do what we do best –fix up dilapidated houses and bring back vibrancy to the area. Thankfully we’ve been able to hire an additional staff member, Michael Philips, who is overseeing our work in the neighborhood. Sabrinna Cox has also joined our staff as the new Preservation Designer. Under the leadership and direction of the Urban Development Authority (UDA) and the Macon Arts Alliance we are bound to succeed.  

I hope this isn’t the first time you’ve heard about Mill Hill. This may be the first you’ve heard about HMF’s involvement, but you’ll hear more as construction continues in earnest this summer. We anticipate completing the first phase of three houses by the end of April and will host a walking tour in May for National Preservation Month.  

Needless to say, it’s thrilling for HMF to be working in concert with the Macon Arts Alliance and the UDA on a new endeavor in East Macon. More importantly, we’re excited to demonstrate a new approach to neighborhood revitalization, one that capitalizes on creativity. The East Macon Arts Village is one more example of how successful we can be as a community, when organizations collaborate. 

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.

Steals, Deals, & Unreals

The College Hill Corridor is full of steals, deals and unreals. And Historic Macon properties are no exception. Historic Macon actively fulfills its mission of preserving our community by preserving architecture and sharing history through targeted neighborhood revitalization. Meaning we work in a concentrated geographic area, rehabbing houses and building in-fill housing on vacant lots block-by-block and street-by-street.

This approach means our organization offers housing options for everyone. We are a non-profit that is committed to providing a diversity of housing options to increase the number of owner-occupants living in Macon’s historic neighborhoods. We offer beautifully rehabilitated historic homes with modern finishes, including new plumbing and HVAC systems. All at affordable prices.

Did we mention that all of our properties in Beall’s Hill are eligible for Mercer University’s down-payment assistance program? And that every Historic Macon comes with 2 bicycles through the Bikes for Beall’s Hill program? Just a few extra deals to make our properties steals that are unreal.

If you’re interested in purchasing a property from Historic Macon or just want to want to learn more about our mission-related work, sign up for our monthly real estate eBlast call "Steals, Deals, & Unreals". We’ll keep you up to date on purchasing information, projects under construction and the many benefits of buying from Historic Macon.

Sign up here!

Favorite Things: Ash Street Edition

We all are familiar with “favorite things.” From Oprah’s annual favorite things list to Maria Von Trapp’s infinity for “raindrops on roses,” making a list of your favorite things is like writing your Christmas list, but better. Historic Macon decided to make a list of our favorite things about the four newly constructed Beall’s Hill homes on Ash Street. Obviously, we could talk all day about our favorite things on each of these houses, but we’ve narrowed it down to one favorite thing for each property.

1304 Calhoun Street – Open Concept Plan

There are so many things I love about this open concept space that I don’t even know where to begin. First, let’s talk about the white and gray granite countertops in the kitchen. These countertops enhance the contemporary design features of this home, especially with the added polished brass accents. Second, that light fixture will look amazing with a mid-century modern dining room table, or any table for that matter. Finally, it’s refreshing at times to have white walls to serve as an empty canvas for all the photos, arts, and accents you will add to make this house your home.

932 Ash Street – Kitchen Cabinets

Forget the wood-stained or white kitchen cabinets. These gray cabinets are absolutely stunning. Not only do these kitchen cabinets make a bold statement in the kitchen, but they offer a lot of storage space. Whether you use your kitchen while channeling your inner Julia Child or while dialing your favorite take-out place, this kitchen will easily accommodate.

924 Ash Street – Tile

All of our houses incorporate modern design trends, and this bathroom is no exception with the use of subway tile. This entire house has a more contemporary approach to its design elements, and here in the Master Bath, white subway tile with a darker grout definitely adds to the contemporary aesthetic.

1311 Jackson Street – Porches

Yes, you read that correctly: “porches” as in more than one. There’s the front porch, a side screened-in porch, and a back porch. What could you do with all those porches? The possibilities are absolutely endless. I for one would use the screened in porch for spring cocktail hour, where you won’t have to worry about pesky mosquitoes annoying you. The back porch is a great spot for a grill, and the front porch is definitely a statement piece for all visitors coming through the front door.

Interested in touring these houses to make your own favorite things list? Contact Historic Macon today to schedule a tour.