Top 5 Hidden in Plain Sight Part 2
Sometimes, you barely need to scratch the surface to unearth some of Macon's hidden history. There is an abundance of narratives all over this city that you can walk right past without noticing. You can find some of the city's best stories in the depths of the alleys, in unmarked buildings, and on the street—you just have to know where to look.
Here is part Two of our Top 5 Hidden in Plain Sight.
1. 580 cherry street
On what should have been the most exciting day for aviation history in Macon, became a day of tragedy. Dare-devil aviators from all over the country had landed in Miller airfield in Macon for the inaugural Southeastern Air Derby in 1928. Buck Steele, one of the air derby show’s organizers, solicited a young student pilot named Lucky Ashcroft to ride along with him in an eleventh hour attempt to promote and advertise the show. “Buck and Lucky climbed into Buck’s bi-plane with a supply of small aerial bombs…Buck to buzz the city at a low altitude while Lucky lit the bombs and threw them out over the downtown area to get people’s attention and advertise the air show.” As Lucky’s bombs began to explode over the city, spectators looked to the sky, and witnessed a third bomb explode close to Lucky and the plane. The explosion of the third bomb sent the nose of the plane into a horizontal dive directly into the concrete on Cherry Street killing both Buck and Lucky. The weight of the plane’s mangled debris along with to the hundreds of spectators that flocked to the scene caused the sidewalk to collapse. No signs of the tragedy remain today aside from a small plaque with a propeller.
2. 651 Mulberry St
When the Grand was built in 1883-84, its 58’ x 90’ stage was the largest in the southeast. At the time, the house seated 2,418 – almost one-fifth of Macon’s 15,000 population. At the turn of the century, the front of the old building was removed and replaced with the seven story Grand Building with shops in storefronts along the street. It was reopened in 1905 as The Grand Opera House. During the summer of 2005, The Grand underwent a much needed repair and renovation. Among the work completed was the removal and replacement of the original stage floor, while preserving Houdini’s original hidden trap door.
3. 934 Georgia avenue
Located on the stairwell landing between the main and bedroom levels, the Secret Room is cleverly hidden behind a decorative niche that is actually a hinged door. Key features of the Italian Renaissance Revival style of architecture are asymmetry and balance. In the Hay House’s example, the niche has an urn that disguises the Secret Room and is visually balanced with a matching niche on the opposite wall. The small nook was traditionally used as a linen closet, appropriate considering its convenient location between the areas of entertainment on the Main Level and the Bedroom Level. Legend has it that the treasury of the Confederacy was stashed here and removed via secret tunnels to the nearby Ocmulgee River. According to the Hay House staff, it is simply a linen closet and there are no tunnels.
4. 562 mulberry street
Located in the quaint alley between Mulberry Street and Cherry Street and 2nd Street and 3rd Street, is an exquisite little building that for many years has been home to The Downtown Grill; an English Steakhouse that specializes in fine dining. But back in the 1970’s as Macon became the nucleus of Southern rock ’n’ roll, Capricorn Records co-founder Frank Fenter opened a restaurant in this same exquisite little building that would cater to the city’s energetic music scene. Fenter’s restaurant, Le Bistro, opened in September 1974. Le Bistro’s menu introduced its patrons to continental dishes and booth seating with curtains for private dining. And in 1975, it was in one of those curtain draped booths, Greg Allman proposed to Cher.
5. 200 cherry street
Macon's Terminal Station, built in 1916 at the foot of Cherry Street in downtown Macon, is Georgia's grandest surviving railroad station. The 13-acre station was owned by the Macon Terminal Company and handled as many as a hundred arrivals/departures each day. When the Terminal Station closed, there was talk of razing the building and the four impressive sized Eagles perched on columns that stood watch over the station's main entrance were removed and were re-homed at Stratford Academy. When discussions began to save the Terminal Station, Stratford Academy generously gave back the eagles and they were returned to their original perches atop the renovated Terminal Station.