In Going Home, the faces behind CIRCA share our personal stories of the old houses and historic places that have shaped our lives. Today Chelcey takes us on a tour of the beautiful (and cheap, cheap, cheap!) old houses for sale in her hometown of Macon, Georgia. (Photo above shows the Woodruff House on the Mercer Campus College and is by Lamar.)
When one thinks of the old South, one envisions streets teeming with plantation-style homes and all the elegance of a lost time. My charming little hometown of Macon, Georgia, has all of that and then some. As a child who grew up in a subdivision located in a neighborhood where every other house looked exactly the same, I remember being in complete awe when we would go to the historic city on the weekends. I eventually moved to Macon for college and lived downtown, smack-dab in the thick of the city’s historic housing stock. And what a stock it is! If you act fast, you can snag an Antebellum home there for a song.
St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in downtown Macon. Photo courtesy of the InTown Macon Neighborhood Association.
Snapshot of Macon’s history: Settled in 1822, cotton manufacturing was the driving force behind Macon’s economy. Centrally located between Atlanta and Savannah, Macon is also conveniently next to the Ocmulgee River, which meant easy access to steamboats, stagecoaches, and eventually trains. The town was a major thoroughfare and known as the ‘Heart of the South.’
One of the many beautiful homes along majestic College Street.
Much like my current home of Brooklyn, today Macon retains a large historic downtown. Its numerous main streets are all built of brick. (I’m convinced it’s where the art of brick corbelling was unofficially mastered). It has a musical history that’s still palpable, home to Otis Redding, Allman Brothers Band, Little Richard, and the founding members of REM, to name just a few. Macon is walkable and bike-friendly. There are three schools of higher education, parks everywhere, delicious eateries and a bar for every type, with my personal favorite being the Humming Bird. Its proximity to Atlanta (at just over 90 minutes away) makes it very attractive to commuters.
The biggest difference between Macon and Brooklyn? Well, for one, Macon is AFFORDABLE! Though, the housing prices are steadily increasing, so act fast.
Ahem, we don’t have buildings like this in Brooklyn:
The Swoon-worthy Johnston-Felton-Hay House. Photo courtesy of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.
… or this:
Each time I visit Macon, I hear more and more about the amazing revitalization happening downtown. I’ve kicked myself before for not scooping up a couple of mansions each time I’m there. If a big ol’ mansion is not your cup of sweet tea, then hold on to your Warby Parkers: Lofts, lofts, and more lofts – am I speaking your language yet? Many of these beautiful spaces once played a role in success of the city’s cotton manufacturing industry — think massive old wooden beams securing heart pine ceilings.
The Sterchi Lofts on Cherry Street. Photo courtesy of Live Downtown Macon.
We’ve all heard the story before: Historic urban centers suffered from post-war, post-industrial decline. Suburbanization and the “mallification” of America pushed out mom-and-pop shops, leaving behind a slew of neglected industrial buildings and storefronts in our country’s cities. Fortunately for Macon, the city is experiencing a period of reinvestment; people and businesses are moving back downtown. As a self-proclaimed history nerd obsessed with 19th-century architecture, I get very inspired when I think about Macon’s future.
There are even efforts to attract more ‘makers’ downtown. (Hey Etsy, new southeast headquarters?) Groups like NewTown Macon, College Hill Alliance and Historic Macon have made it their mission to restore and reinvigorate downtown. National companies like Benjamin Moore are also getting involved, giving Second Street a new paint job under their “Main Street Matters” competition.
As an historic preservationist and a former resident of Macon, my hat goes off to those organizations fighting to make the city a more attractive, livable place. While I gawk from afar at cheap real estate listings galore (see below for more of that) I am proud to toot Macon’s horn and advocate for you to check it out. Thank me later for all the eye candy below, in the form of a crisp mint julep served from your so-very Southern wrap-around porch. You can click the top photo of each listing to be taking to the listing site.
2082 Vineville Avenue, $198,499
1073 Georgia Avenue, $275,000
3007 Ridge Avenue, $99,900
165 Cleveland Avenue, $79,500
2327 Clayton Street, $76,900
123/127 Cleveland Ave, $72,500
167 Pierce Avenue, $54,900
1012 Tattnall Street, $52,000
134 Rogers Avenue, $44,900
144 Culver Street, $39,900
2525 English Avenue, $31,900
119 Hines Terrace, $409,000
1275 Linden Avenue, $250,000
969 Nottingham Drive, $259,900
758 Orange Terrace, $129,900
423 Spring Street, $279,500
1035 Oglethorpe Street, $99,900
2448 Clayton Street, $298,000
381 College Street, $309,000
808 College Street, $109,900
424 Orange Street, $219,500
416 Orange Street, $214,900
340 College St, $725,000
1088 Magnolia Street, $199,900
303 College Street, $495,000
206 Buford Place, $198,000
1464 Twin Pines Drive, $689,000
2353 Vineville Avenue, $159,500
3438 Ridge Avenue, $154,175
158 Euclid Ave, $149,900
116 Stonewall Place, $144,500
136 Cleveland Avenue, $139,900
132 Alabama Avenue, $133,900
206 Albermarle Place, $329,000
979 Highland Terrace, $119,000
590 Wimbish Road, $109,500
147 Forest Avenue, $90,000
Chelcey’s passion for old houses sparked from growing up in Georgia, surrounded by antebellum homes constructed of the local heart pine. Now, while working professionally to preserve the beautiful character of New York’s Upper West Side, Chelcey co-authors the website The Wooden House Project, a community for owners and fans of Brooklyn’s underappreciated but very lovable wood-framed row houses.