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Fort Hawkins, Macon, Georgia

Summer is the best time for family activities and what better way to spend the summer than exploring Macon’s historical landmarks.  It’s not only a way to spend quality time with the family, but allows a way to engage parents and their children in learning the rich history that is available and to discover the heritage that is shared.

Here are the Top 10 landmarks to visit in Macon, Ga.

  1. Macon City Auditorium was built in 1925 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  Located in Downtown Macon it has one of the world’s largest copper covered domes.
  2. The Oldest Firehouse in Macon still retains some of it’s original architecture.  In 1913, when the horse-drawn fire engines were retired, Macon was the first city fire department in the nation to have all-motorized fire engines.
  3. Cannonball House was built in 1853 as a planter’s townhouse.  During the War Between the States, it sustained damage from cannonballs and was renamed as the Cannonball House.
  4. Fort Hawkins was established in 1806 by President Thomas Jefferson and Indian Agent Col. Benjamin Hawkins as an official U.S. Army Fort and Indian Factory for trading and meeting with Native Americans.  It is considered the “birthplace of Macon”.
  5. Hay House, an 18,000-square-foot mansion that spans four levels and crowned by a three-story cupola, was completed in 1859.  It is considered one of Georgia’s most distinguished structures and was called  “Palace of the South,” due to the Italian Renaissance Revival architecture and was decorated with fine porcelains and sculptures collected by the only three families that lived there.
  6. Sidney Lanier Cottage is the birthplace of musician and poet, Sidney Lanier.  He suffered from tuberculosis during the latter part of his life, and continued writing poetry and playing music, along with teaching English literature.  His greatest work are “The Marches of Glynn” and Song of the Chattahoochee.
  7. Ocmulgee National Monument is a collection of 17,000 years of human habitation on the Macon Plateau.  In 1934 when the Archeological treasures were unearthed, a bill was passed by Congress to authorize establishment of a 2,000-acre Ocmulgee National Park.  The archeological effort was the largest excavation ever undertaken in this country.
  8. Harriett Tubman Museum, the largest museum in the Southeast dedicated to African American art, history and culture, was named in honor of Harriet Tubman, the courageous African American woman, also known as the “Black Moses”, who led hundreds of other slaves to freedom and served as Union spy, scout, and nurse during the Civil War.
  9. Rose Hill Cemetery, a 19th century rural cemetery park established in 1840 by Simri Rose, is the resting place for Duane Allman, Civil War Heroes, and the victims of the most infamous murder in nineteenth-century Georgia.
  10. Museum of Arts & Sciences is where you can view works of fine art, exotic live animals, and explore the wonders of outer space.

Article first published as 10 Family Activites for a Historical Summer in Macon on the Examiner.com on June 24, 2011

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