Macon Georgia

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Macon (/ˈmeɪkən/ MAY-kən), officially Macon–Bibb County, is a consolidated city-county in the U.S. state of Georgia. Situated near the fall line of the Ocmulgee River, it is 85 miles (137 km) southeast of Atlanta and near the state’s geographic center — hence its nickname "The Heart of Georgia.”

Macon’s population was 157,346 in 2020. It is the principal city of the Macon Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had 234,802 people in 2020. It also is the largest city in the Macon–Warner Robins Combined Statistical Area (CSA), which had approximately 420,693 residents in 2017 and abuts the Atlanta metropolitan area to the northwest.

Voters approved the consolidation of the City of Macon and Bibb County governments in a 2012 referendum. Macon became the state’s fourth-largest city after Augusta when the merger occurred January 1, 2014.

Macon is served by three interstate highways: I-16 (connecting to Savannah and coastal Georgia), I-75 (connecting to Atlanta to the north and Valdosta to the south), and I-475 (a city bypass highway). The area has two airports: Middle Georgia Regional Airport and Herbert Smart Downtown Airport.

The city has several institutions of higher education and numerous museums and tourism sites.

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 agriculture-based chiefdom (950–1100 AD). The Mississippian culture constructed earthwork mounds for ceremonial, religious, and burial purposes. Indigenous peoples inhabited the areas along the Southeast’s rivers for 13,000 years before Europeans arrived.

Macon was developed at the site of Fort Benjamin Hawkins, built in 1809 at President Thomas Jefferson’s direction after he forced the Creek to cede their lands east of the Ocmulgee River (Archeological excavations in the 21st century found evidence of two separate fortifications.) The fort was named for Benjamin Hawkins, who served as Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Southeast territory south of the Ohio River for more than 20 years, had lived among the Creek, and was married to a Creek woman. Located at the fall line of the Ocmulgee River, the fort established a trading post with Native peoples at river’s most inland point navigable from the Low Country.

Fort Hawkins guarded the Lower Creek Pathway, an extensive and well-traveled American Indian network that the U.S. government later improved as the Federal Road, linking Washington, D.C., to the ports of Mobile, Alabama and New Orleans, Louisiana. Used for trading with the Creek, the fort also was used by state militia and federal troops. It was a major military distribution point during the War of 1812 and the Creek War of 1813. After the wars, it was a trading post and garrisoned troops until 1821. Decommissioned around 1828, it later burned to the ground. A replica of the southeast blockhouse was built in 1938 and stands on an east Macon hill. Fort Hawkins Grammar School occupied part of the site. In the 21st century, archeological excavations have revealed more of the fort, increasing its historical significance, and led to further reconstruction planning for this major historical site.

With the arrival of more settlers, Fort Hawkins was renamed "Newtown." After Bibb County's organization in 1822, the city was chartered as the county seat in 1823 and officially named Macon, in honor of Nathaniel Macon, a statesman from North Carolina, where many early Georgia residents hailed. City planners envisioned "a city within a park" and created a city of spacious streets and landscapes. Over 250 acres (1.0 km2) were dedicated for Central City Park, and ordinances required residents to plant shade trees in their front yards.

Because of the beneficial local Black Belt geology and enslaved African American labor, cotton became the mainstay of Macon's early economy. The city's location on the Ocmulgee River aided initial economic expansion, providing shipping access to new markets. Cotton steamboats, stagecoaches, and the 1843 arrival of the railroad increased marketing opportunities and contributed to Macon's economic prosperity.

Macon's growth had other benefits. In 1836, the Georgia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church chose Macon as the location for Wesleyan College, the first U.S. college to grant women college degrees. Nonetheless, Macon came in last in the 1855 referendum voting to be Georgia's capital city 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 was established as a prison for captured Union officers and enlisted men. Later, it held only officers, at one time numbering 2,300. The camp was evacuated in 1864.

Macon City Hall served as the temporary state capitol in 1864 and 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 sacked the nearby state capital of Milledgeville, and Maconites prepared for an attack. Sherman, however, passed by without entering Macon.

The Macon Telegraph reported the city had furnished 23 companies of men for the Confederacy, but casualties were high. By war end, Maconite survivors fit for duty could only fill five companies.

The city was taken by Union forces during Wilson's Raid on April 20, 1865.

Because of its central location, Macon developed as a state transportation hub. In 1895, the New York Times dubbed Macon "The Central City” because of is emergence as a railroad transportation and textile factory hub.Terminal Station was built in 1916. In the twentieth century, Macon grew into a prospering town in Middle Georgia.

Macon has been impacted by natural catastrophes. In 1994 Tropical Storm Alberto made landfall in Florida and flooded several Georgia cities. Macon, which received 24 inches (61 cm) of rain, suffered major flooding in Georgia.

On May 11, 2008, an EF2 tornado hit Macon. Touching down in nearby Lizella, the tornado moved northeast to the southern shore of Lake Tobesofkee, continued into Macon, and lifted near Dry Branch in Twiggs County. The storm’s total path length was 18 miles (29 km), and its path width was 100 yards (91 m).[citation needed] The tornado produced sporadic areas of major damage, with widespread straight-line wind damage along its southern track. The most significant damage was along Eisenhower Parkway and Pio Nono Avenue in Macon, where two businesses were destroyed and several others were heavily damaged. The tornado also impacted Middle Georgia State College, where almost half of the campus’s trees were snapped or uprooted and several buildings were damaged, with the gymnasium suffering the worst. The tornado’s intensity varied from EF0 to EF2, with the EF2 damage and winds up to 130 miles per hour (210 km/h) occurring near the intersection of Eisenhower Parkway and Pio Nono Avenue.

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. The vote came after the Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 1171, authorizing the referendum earlier in the year; Four previous consolidation attempts (in 1933, 1960, 1972, and 1976) failed.

As a result of the referendum, (i) the Macon and Bibb County governments were replaced with a mayor and a nine-member county commission elected by districts and (ii) a portion of Macon extending into nearby Jones County was disincorporated. Robert Reichert was elected the first mayor of Macon-Bibb in the September 2013 election, which required 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°50′05″N 83°39′06″W / 32.834839°N 83.651672°W / 32.834839; -83.651672 (32.834839, −83.651672).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 56.3 square miles (146 km2), of which 55.8 square miles (145 km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) (0.82%) is water.

Macon is approximately 330 feet (100 m) above sea level.

Macon has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa). The normal monthly mean temperature ranges from 46.3 Â°F (7.9 Â°C) in January to 81.8 Â°F (27.7 Â°C) in July. On average, there are 4.8 days with 100 Â°F (38 Â°C)+ highs,[a] 83 days with 90 Â°F (32 Â°C)+ highs,[b] 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 45.7 inches (1,160 mm). Snow is occasional, with about half of the winters receiving trace amounts or no snowfall, averaging 0.7 inches (1.8 cm); the snowiest winter was 1972−73 with 16.5 in (42 cm).

Macon is the largest principal city in 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) with a combined population of 411,898 in 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 inhabitants 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 aged 18 and over, there were 72.8 males.

The 2010 Census listed Macon’s median household income as $28,366, below the state average of $49,347. The median family income was $37,268. Full-time working males had a median income of $34,163, higher than the $28,082 for females. The city’s per capita income 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[clarification needed] shopping centers are in the downtown area and Ingleside Village.

Macon is the headquarters of the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Georgia Army National Guard.

The largest single-site industrial complex in Georgia,Robins Air Force Base, is 10 miles south of Macon on Highway 247, just east of Warner Robins.

Macon has been home for numerous musicians and composers, including Emmett Miller, The Allman Brothers Band, Randy Crawford, Mark Heard, Lucille Hegamin, Ben Johnston, 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.[clarification needed]Capricorn Records, run by Macon natives Phil Walden and briefly Alan Walden, made the city a Southern rock music production center in the late 1960s and 1970s.

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.

Macon is home to the Mercer Bears, with NCAA Division I teams in soccer (men's and women's), football, baseball, basketball (men's and women's), tennis, and lacrosse. Central Georgia Technical College competes in men's and women's basketball. Wesleyan College, a women’s school, has basketball, soccer, cross country, tennis, softball, and volleyball teams.

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:

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.

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.

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.[100] In Evans v. Newton,[101] 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[102] and the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed.[103] The 50-acre (20 ha) park was lost and commercially developed.[104]

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.


U.S. Routes:

State Routes:

The Macon Transit Authority (MTA) is Macon's public-transit system, operating the Public Transit City Bus System throughout Macon-Bibb County. As of 2022, the MTA has a total of 10 city bus routes, operating out of the Terminal Station hub.[109]

Greyhound Lines provides intercity bus service. In 2019, they moved from a stand-alone bus station to the Terminal Station to be in the same hub as the local mass transit busses.[110]

Macon grew as a center of rail transport after the 1846 opening of the Macon and Western Railroad.[111] 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.[112] 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.[113]

Macon has six sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI):[114]

Published in 19th century

Published in 20th century


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