Macon , officially Macon–Bibb County, is a consolidated city-county in the U.S. state of Georgia. It lies near the state's geographic center, about southeast of Atlanta—hence the city's nickname, "The Heart of Georgia".
Located near the fall line of the Ocmulgee River, Macon had a 2020 population of 157,346. It is the principal city of the Macon Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a population of 233,802 in 2020. Macon is also the largest city in the Macon–Warner Robins Combined Statistical Area (CSA), a larger trading area with an estimated 420,693 residents in 2017; the CSA abuts the Atlanta metropolitan area just to the north.
In a 2012 referendum, voters approved the consolidation of the governments of the City of Macon and Bibb County, and Macon became Georgia's fourth-largest city (just after Augusta). The two governments officially merged on January 1, 2014.
Macon is served by three interstate highways: I-16 (connecting the city to Savannah and coastal Georgia), I-75 (connecting the city with Atlanta to the north and Valdosta to the south), and I-475 (a city bypass highway).
The city has several institutions of higher education, as well as numerous museums and tourism sites. The area is served by Middle Georgia Regional Airport and Herbert Smart Downtown Airport.
Macon was founded on the site of the Ocmulgee Old Fields, where the Creek Indians lived in the 18th century. Their predecessors, the Mississippian culture, built a powerful chiefdom (950–1100 AD) based on the practice of agriculture. The Mississippian culture constructed earthwork mounds for ceremonial, burial, and religious purposes. The areas along the rivers in the Southeast had been inhabited by indigenous peoples for 13,000 years before Europeans arrived.
Macon developed at the site of Fort Benjamin Hawkins, built in 1809 at the fall line of the Ocmulgee River to protect the community and to establish a trading post with Native Americans. The fort was named in honor of Benjamin Hawkins, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Southeast territory south of the Ohio River for more than 20 years. He lived among the Creek and was married to a Creek woman. This was the most inland point of navigation on the river from the Low Country. President Thomas Jefferson forced the Creek to cede their lands east of the Ocmulgee River and ordered the fort built. (Archeological excavations in the 21st century found evidence of two separate fortifications.)
Fort Hawkins guarded the Lower Creek Pathway, an extensive and well-traveled American Indian network later improved by the United States as the Federal Road from Washington, D.C., to the ports of Mobile, Alabama and New Orleans, Louisiana. A gathering point of the Creek and U.S. cultures for trading, it was also a center of state militia and federal troops. The fort served as a major military distribution point during the War of 1812 against Great Britain and also during the Creek War of 1813. Afterward, the fort was used as a trading post for several years and was garrisoned until 1821. It was decommissioned about 1828 and later burned to the ground. A replica of the southeast blockhouse was built in 1938 and still stands today on a hill in east Macon. Part of the fort site was occupied by the Fort Hawkins Grammar School. In the 21st century, archeological excavations have revealed more of the fort's importance, and stimulated planning for additional reconstruction of this major historical site.
As many Europeans had already begun to move into the area, Fort Hawkins was renamed "Newtown." After the organization of Bibb County in 1822, the city was chartered as the county seat in 1823 and officially named Macon. This was in honor of the North Carolina statesman Nathaniel Macon, because many of the early residents of Georgia hailed from North Carolina. The city planners envisioned "a city within a park" and created a city of spacious streets and parks. They designated for Central City Park, and passed ordinances requiring residents to plant shade trees in their front yards.
The city thrived due to its location on the Ocmulgee River, which enabled shipping to markets. Cotton became the mainstay of Macon's early economy, based on the enslaved labor of African Americans. Macon was in the Black Belt of Georgia, where cotton was the commodity crop. Cotton steamboats, stage coaches, and later, in 1843, a railroad increased marketing opportunities and contributed to the economic prosperity of Macon. In 1836, the Georgia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church founded Wesleyan College in Macon. Wesleyan was the first college in the United States chartered to grant degrees to women. In 1855, a referendum was held to determine a capital city for Georgia. Macon came in last with 3,802 votes.
During the American Civil War, Macon served as the official arsenal of the Confederacy manufacturing percussion caps, friction primers, and pressed bullets. Camp Oglethorpe, in Macon, was used first as a prison for captured Union officers and enlisted men. Later it held officers only, up to 2,300 at one time. The camp was evacuated in 1864.
Macon City Hall, which served as the temporary state capitol in 1864, was converted to a hospital for wounded Confederate soldiers. The Union General William Tecumseh Sherman spared Macon on his march to the sea. His troops had sacked the nearby state capital of Milledgeville, and Maconites prepared for an attack. Sherman, however, passed by without entering Macon.
The Macon Telegraph wrote that, of the 23 companies which the city had furnished the Confederacy, only enough men survived and were fit for duty to fill five companies by the end of the war. The human toll was very high.
The city was taken by Union forces during Wilson's Raid on April 20, 1865.
In the twentieth century, Macon grew into a prospering town in Middle Georgia. It began to serve as a transportation hub for the entire state. In 1895, the New York Times dubbed Macon "The Central City," in reference to the city's emergence as a hub for railroad transportation and textile factories. Terminal Station was built in 1916.
In 1994 Tropical Storm Alberto made landfall in Florida bringing of rain, which resulted in major flooding in Georgia. Macon was one of the cities to suffer the worst flooding.
On May 11, 2008, an EF2 tornado touched down in nearby Lizella. The tornado then moved northeast to the southern shore of Lake Tobesofkee then continued into Macon and lifted near Dry Branch in Twiggs County. The tornado produced sporadic areas of major damage. Widespread straight-line wind damage was also produced along and south of the track of the tornado. The most significant damage was in Macon along Eisenhower Parkway and Pio Nono Avenue where two businesses were destroyed and several others were heavily damaged. Middle Georgia State College was also damaged by the tornado, snapping or uprooting around 50% of the campus trees and doing significant damage to several buildings on campus, with the gymnasium sustaining the worst damage. This tornado varied in intensity from EF0 to EF2 with the EF2 damage and winds up to occurring near the intersection of Eisenhower Parkway and Pio Nono Avenue. Total path length was with a path width of .
On July 31, 2012, voters in Macon (57.8 percent approval) and Bibb County (56.7 percent approval) passed a referendum to merge the governments of the city of Macon and most of unincorporated Bibb County, based on the authorization of House Bill 1171, passed by the Georgia General Assembly earlier in the year; four previous consolidation attempts (in 1933, 1960, 1972, and 1976) had failed.
Under the consolidation, the governments of Macon and Bibb County were replaced with a single mayor and a nine-member countywide commission elected to office by county districts. A portion of Macon that had extended into nearby Jones County was disincorporated from Macon. Robert Reichert was the first mayor of Macon-Bibb after the election in September 2013 and a runoff with C. Jack Ellis in October.
The Ocmulgee River is a major river that runs through the city. Macon is one of Georgia's three major Fall Line Cities, along with Augusta and Columbus. The Fall Line is where the hilly lands of the Piedmont plateau meet the flat terrain of the coastal plain. As such, Macon has a varied landscape of rolling hills on the north side and flat plains on the south. The fall line, where the altitude drops noticeably, causes rivers and creeks in the area to flow rapidly toward the ocean. In the past, Macon and other Fall Line cities had many textile mills powered by the rivers.
Macon is located at (32.834839, −83.651672).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , of which is land and (0.82%) is water.
Macon is approximately above sea level.
Macon has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa). The normal monthly mean temperature ranges from in January to in July. On average, there are 4.8 days with + highs, 83 days with + highs, and 43 days with a low at or below freezing; the average window for freezing temperatures is November 7 thru March 22, allowing a growing season of 228 days. The city has an average annual precipitation of . Snow is occasional, with about half of the winters receiving trace amounts or no snowfall, averaging ; the snowiest winter was 1972−73 with .
Surrounding cities and towns
Macon is the largest principal city of the Macon-Warner Robins-Fort Valley CSA, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Macon metropolitan area (Bibb, Crawford, Jones, Monroe, and Twiggs counties) and the Warner Robins metropolitan area (Houston, Peach, and Pulaski counties), which had a combined population of 411,898 at the 2010 census.
As of the official 2010 U.S. Census, the population of Macon was 91,351. In the last official census, in 2000, there were 97,255 people, 38,444 households, and 24,219 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,742.8 people per square mile (672.9/km2). There were 44,341 housing units at an average density of 794.6 per square mile (306.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 67.94% African American, 28.56% White, 0.02% Native American, 0.65% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.46% from other races, and 0.77% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 2.48% of the population.
There were 38,444 households, out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.0% were married couples living together, 25.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.0% were non-families. 31.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.08.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 26.9% under the age of 18, 11.3% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 79.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 72.8 males.
According to the 2010 Census, the median household income in the city was $28,366, as compared with the state average of $49,347. The median family income was $37,268. Full-time working males had a median income of $34,163 versus $28,082 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,010. About 24.1% of families and 30.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 43.6% of those under age 18 and 18.4% of those over 65.
Malls include The Shoppes at River Crossing, Macon Mall, and Eisenhower Crossing. Traditional shopping centers are in the downtown area, and Ingleside Village.
Robins Air Force Base, the largest single-site industrial complex in the state of Georgia, is just 10 miles south of Macon on Highway 247 next to the city of Warner Robins.
The headquarters of the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Georgia Army National Guard is located in Macon.
Arts and culture
Macon is the birthplace or hometown of musicians Emmett Miller, The Allman Brothers Band, Randy Crawford, Mark Heard, Lucille Hegamin, Otis Redding, Little Richard, Mike Mills, and Bill Berry of R.E.M., as well as more recent artists like violinist Robert McDuffie and country artist Jason Aldean. September Hase, an alternative rock band, was discovered in Macon. Capricorn Records, run by Macon natives Phil Walden and briefly Alan Walden, made the city a hub for Southern rock music in the late 1960s and 1970s. Composer Ben Johnston was born in Macon.
The Macon Symphony Orchestra, a youth symphony, and the Middle Georgia Concert Band perform at the Grand Opera House in downtown Macon.
The Georgia Music Hall of Fame was located in Macon from 1996 to 2011.
Points of interest
Macon is home to the Mercer Bears, who compete at the NCAA Division I level in sports that include soccer (men's and women's), football, baseball, basketball (men's and women's), tennis, and lacrosse. Central Georgia Technical College also competes in men's and women's basketball. Wesleyan College, an all-female school, has teams in basketball, soccer, cross country, tennis, softball, and volleyball.
Parks and recreation
The city maintains several parks and community centers.
Prior to 2013, the city government consisted of a mayor and city council. Robert Reichert was elected the first mayor of the consolidated Macon-Bibb County in October 2013. There are also 9 County Commissioners elected from districts within the county.
On March 15, 2019, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged the former County Manager, Dale M. Walker, with fraud.
Bibb County Public School District operates district public schools.
Public high schools include:
Georgia Academy for the Blind, operated by the state of Georgia, is a statewide school for blind students.
Also operated by Bibb County Public Schools:
Private high schools
State public charter schools
Colleges and universities
Approximately 30,000 college students live in the greater Macon area.
Macon has a substantial number of local television and radio stations. It is also served by two local papers.
Newspapers and magazines
References in popular culture
In "Bart on the Road", the Season 7 episode of The Simpsons, character Nelson Muntz suggests the boys take a road trip to Macon. Later he reminds the group that none of their trouble would have happened had they chosen Macon over Knoxville, Tennessee.
Gone with the Wind
In Margaret Mitchell's novel Gone with the Wind, Aunt Pittypat's coachman, Uncle Peter, protected her when she fled to Macon during Sherman's assault on Atlanta.
U.S. Senator Augustus Bacon, of Georgia, in his 1911 will, devised land in Macon in trust, to be used as a public park for the exclusive benefit of white people. The park, known as Baconsfield, was operated in that manner for many years. In Evans v. Newton, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the park could not continue to be operated on a racially discriminatory basis. The Supreme Court of Georgia thereupon declared “that the sole purpose for which the trust was created has become impossible of accomplishment” and remanded the case to the trial court, which held cy-près doctrine to be inapplicable, since the park's segregated character was an essential and inseparable part of Bacon's plan. The trial court ruled that the trust failed, and that the property reverted to Bacon's heirs. The Supreme Court of Georgia and the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed. The 50-acre (20 ha) park was lost and commercially developed.
Telltale's The Walking Dead
The city of Macon is visited in two different The Walking Dead spinoff games by Telltale Games: The Walking Dead: Season One and The Walking Dead: 400 Days.
In Season One, the city is portrayed as a small rural town and is visited by the main characters as they temporarily set up camp in the city. The city is the hometown of the game's main protagonist and the playable character throughout the game, Lee Everett. He and the other survivors barricade themselves inside his family's pharmacy as they are besieged by zombies. After one of the survivors dies, the group heads to a motel on the outskirts of Macon where they set up camp for two more episodes, before eventually deciding to leave the city for Savannah.
In 400 Days, the city is briefly shown in the episode "Vince's Story" as a flashback to when the episode's main character, Vince, fatally shoots an unseen and unnamed resident of the city before fleeing into the night before the apocalypse began. This murder would ultimately lead to Vince's arrest and the events that occurred at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse.
The Macon Transit Authority (MTA) is Macon's public-transit system, operating the Public Transit City Bus System throughout Macon-Bibb County. Most commuters in Macon and the surrounding suburbs use private automobiles as their primary transportation. This results in heavy traffic during rush hour and contributes to Macon's air pollution. The MTA has a total of 10 city bus routes and an express bus that serves suburban Warner Robins just south of the city.
Macon Transit Authority has a tourist trolley system. The trolleys have offered tours of the downtown Macon area since 1999. The tours consist of all of the major historical sites such as the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, the Hay House, and the Tubman Museum. There are three trolleys holding up to 39 passengers.
Intercity bus and rail
Greyhound Lines provides intercity bus service.
Macon grew as a center of rail transport after the 1846 opening of the Macon and Western Railroad. Two of the most note-worthy train companies operating through the city were the Central of Georgia Railway and the Southern Railway. The city continued to be served by passenger trains at Terminal Station until 1971. The Frisco Railroad's Kansas City–Florida Special served the city until 1964. The Southern's Royal Palm ran from Cincinnati, through Macon, to Miami, Florida until 1966. (A truncated route served to Valdosta, Georgia until 1970.) The Central of Georgia's Nancy Hanks ran through Macon, from Atlanta to Savannah until 1971.
Since at least 2006 Macon has been included in the proposed Georgia Rail Passenger Program to restore inter-city rail service but as of 2020 Georgia lacks any inter-city passenger rail service other than the federally funded inter-state Amtrak services. In 2022, Amtrak announced a new fifteen year plan to expand its services, which Macon was included in.
Pedestrians and cycling
Macon has six sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI):
This page uses material from the Wikipedia article MACON, GA, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0. Township-6t4ab-c4u-75d-ef78-iy9