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History & Culture

Macon Made: Rich History and Culture Lives Here

On the shores of the Ocmulgee River, tracing its origins back to the 1806 Fort Hawkins trading post, Macon is steeped in history. Inheriting a unique namesake from North Carolina statesman Nathaniel Macon, this city began to thrive as the county seat of Bibb County in 1823. Thanks to its key location on the Ocmulgee River and the addition of the railroad in 1843, Macon began to prosper economically. Drawing in people from all corners of the nation with the vision of a “city within a park,” Macon city planners created a city rich with greenery, parks, and wide-open streets. 

Looking ahead to the 1900s, Macon’s musical heritage began to flourish with big names like Little Richard, Otis Redding, the Allman Brothers Band and more. Often called the “birthplace of Southern Rock,” Macon’s deep musical roots highlight the city’s sense of community among residents. Jason Aldean’s album “Macon” proves that the city continues to inspire modern musicians, too.

Ocmulgee Indian Festival in Macon.
There's more culture where that came from. Explore Macon’s diversity.
  • Attractions
  • Historic Macon Foundation
  • Culture

Enhance Your Knowledge

Macon embraces its storied past, vibrant present, and promising future

As a city filled with rich history, there’s so much to discover and learn in Macon. Museums, tours and specialized programs just scratch the surface of available resources that bring Macon’s history to life. To see architectural majesty, visit the Johnston-Felton-Hay House, which was constructed from 1855 to 1859 and was declared a National Landmark in 1974. This immaculate, 18,000-square-foot mansion was home to two different families over three generations and is sure to amaze you. The Douglass Theatre is one of Macon’s most-visited gems, with history dating back to the 1920s. Having hosted jazz and blues icons like Ida Cox, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey and many more, the Douglass Theatre was also an important venue for early African American films – produced for and by Black audiences. The Douglass Theatre is still thriving today, celebrating 100 joyful, musical years.

Exhibit in Macon Downtown Visitors Center.

Preserving and Protecting Macon

Serving the Macon community for over 50 years

The Historic Macon Foundation continues to be a leader in the region’s preservation since 1964. Every day, the foundation moves one step closer to their goal: to become the nation’s premier preservation organization. Historic Macon revitalizes communities by sharing history and preserving architecture. Working in the areas of real estate, state and federal tax credit consulting, advocacy efforts, and low interest loan programs, the Historic Macon Foundation works to save historic places and reshape communities. Since 2014, this foundation has attracted $5.8 million in investments for one of Macon’s strongest neighborhoods, Beall’s Hill.


Strong cultural ties and community bonds create Macon’s foundation

Culture is important to any town, place, region, or country – and Macon is no exception. Here, we take pride in who we are and strive to share it with the world. The Tubman Museum is the largest museum in the nation with a mission to provide education on the art, culture, and history of African Americans. Hoping to ignite positive change, the Tubman Museum aims to be a center of civic and social engagement and a safe space to connect with the past. To learn more about Macon’s commitment to arts and culture, read the Macon Cultural Plan, based on a county-wide discussion on local art, culture, and opportunity.