Macon – Bibb County – Time to visit more great antebellum homes in Macon, including a couple that are always open to the public for tours! This week we will see more white columns, a mansion that could not be given away, find out about a secret room, and a house hit by a cannonball. If you missed last week’s houses, you can see them here:
The Cowles-Bond House below has many stories. Over the years, this hilltop home has been home to several prominent families, served as a private school for nearly 20 years, was owned by Mercer University, then the city of Macon, then Mercer again…
The house has a commanding view of the surrounding area, and was seized when Macon was occupied in 1865. Henrietta Bond, a widow, was told her house was being seized. She advised she was putting her valuables in the dining room closet, and expected them to be there when she returned! According to the family, her valuables were still there.
This Macon antebellum mansion could not even be given away!
During the 20th century, the last owners tried to give the house away – but no takers, imagine the upkeep on this mansion. In 1960, it became Stratford Academy, a private school. In 1978, Mercer acquired it and deed it to the City of Macon. In a nutshell the city couldn’t afford the restoration of this mansion and gave it back to Mercer. The Woodruff Foundation stepped in and it was restored to its former glory.
The Judge Asa Holt built this house in 1853, and it’s better known as the Cannonball House. Best of all, it is a house museum. You can check out their site here. I got a SENIOR DISCOUNT when I toured the house (hey, it saved me $2 so I am good with it!). It is well worth a tour if you are in Macon. Now how did it get its name? A cannonball was fired in 1864 and ricocheted off the second column, through the front parlor – and landed in the hallway. It never exploded!
Entry hall of Cannonball House – that is one huge mirror, nearly to the top of the 12 foot ceilings. The 1850 Weber Square grand piano was donated by the Old Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville. The last family descendent made an apartment upstairs, and the downstairs was used for functions. She stayed in her upstairs apartment, and would lower a key to the house in a wicker basket for people to come in!
One of the parlors in the house below gives you an idea of how grand this home is.
The mansion below was known for many decades as “Bonnybrae”, and it has many names associated with it over the years. Prominent architect Neel Reid created a huge addition to the home, including a ballroom with 20 ft high arched ceilings. Over the years it was converted to apartments, served as a clinic, and then back to a single family home. It was sold to a family from North Macon and they are in the midst of the massive renovation of this showplace! Can’t wait to see this when it is finished.
Macon’s “Bonnybrae” has 18 columns, 22 fireplaces, and 32 rooms
Neel Reid lived in this home during the years he lived in Macon. This house was built for Dr. Richard Randolph, one of the pioneers of Macon (remember, Macon was established in 1821). Inside this home are double pocket doors that open up to a total of 12 feet wide. This hilltop beauty was built for entertaining!
The North-Tinsley house below did not want to be photographed – but even from what we can see, this is one beautiful Mississippi Delta-Style home. Neel Reid did renovations to this house as well. I would love to see this one inside, with its 14 foot ceilings.
Now this antebellum home, built between 1855-1859 has been called the palace of the south. I took this picture a while back when I toured the house. Operated by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, it is open for tours. You can find all the details here. They offer a behind the scenes tour, and you get to see every bit of this mansion – all the way to the very top! Secret room here? There is an alcove on the landing of the stairs that opens to a hidden linen closet. Many stories about this room, gold being hidden here, etc. If you get a chance, it really is a great tour.
The original owner of the Beall-Jordan-Dunlap house wouldn’t recognize it today. Originally built in the Italianate style, it was renovated in the early 1900s to the current trend of Classic Revival. The 18 columns were added at that time. There are 15 fireplaces in this mansion. I couldn’t figure out why there weren’t windows on the right side of the house? Turns out there is a huge staircase against that wall inside. Over the years this house became a boarding house, tea room, then a restaurant, then restored….lots of changes to this home!
Often times people think of antebellum homes and picture Greek Revival homes with white columns. There were many of those, but also the Italianate style was becoming popular during this time as well – the arched windows and porches on this 1860 home are trademark Italianate style. And – the Allman Brothers first album cover was photographed here.
Finally we are looking at Sylvan Lodge. built around 1841. This home, like one we looked at last week, originally faced Vineville Avenue. With a new street in the early 1900s running alongside the house, the owner wanted the house to face it…but you can’t just pick up and move a brick and stucco home. The Small-Napier mansion across the street was turned to face the street. Here they created the front entrance on what had been the side of the house. The columns are said to have been moved from the original front of the house.
Thanks so much for taking this trip to see a few more antebellum homes in Macon. I really appreciate you reading the blog!