Macon Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
The Allman Brothers Band is one of the best-loved groups in rock and roll history and they considered their early association with Macon integral to their success. For nearly five decades visiting the gravesite of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley at Rose Hill Cemetery has been a pilgrimage for many of their most devoted fans. In recent years, iron fencing has been placed around the graves to prevent vandalism and other unwelcome activities.
Tragedy first struck the band on 29 October 1971, when Duane Allman died as the result of a motorcycle crash at the intersection of Hillcrest Avenue and Bartlett Street.
Just over a year later, on 11 November 1972, Berry Oakley met the same fate within blocks of where Duane had crashed.
After years on the road leading the band and doing his own solo projects, Gregg Allman died on 27 May 2017. It was always his wish to be reunited with Duane and Berry in Rose Hill. A formal memorial has yet to be placed, but plans have been made to expand the fencing to incorporate his gravesite.
Many fans have already visited and left souvenirs and remembrances.
To visit the site, turn right inside the gate and drive down to the Old Hebrew Burial Grounds, marked by a brick and wrought iron arch. You can usually park by the large oak tree and walk a bit down the hill to your left to reach the graves. Be warned, though, that driving in the cemetery is difficult due to very narrow lanes.
Rose Hill Cemetery, National Register of Historic Places
Inez Hill and Louise Hudson, affectionately known as Mama Hill and Mama Louise, opened their H & H Restaurant on the corner of Hayes and Third Street in 1959, moving to Cotton Avenue for a time before finally settling at the present Forsyth Avenue location. The establishment soon became a Macon favorite and would go on to acquire iconic status for its association with the Allman Brothers Band. In their struggling early days, the band members came into H & H and were so broke they had to share plates. Mama Louise, sensing they were hungry, made them all their own plates, free of charge. The musicians never forgot her act of kindness and promised to make it up to her when they made it big. In 1972, they took her on tour.
For serious fans of the Allman Brothers Band, no trip to Macon would be complete without a visit to H & H. It was the hospitality of Mama Louise that helped put the place on the map and nearly fifty years later people still make their way here to feel a connection to rock history. The memorabilia-lined walls never fail to amaze. The Marshall Tucker Band, Wet Willie, and countless others were H & H regulars in Macon’s musical heyday of the early 1970s. It was also an important meeting place for Macon’s civil rights leaders and activists.
Of course, people come for the history and legend but return for the excellent food. Known as Macon’s “fried chicken specialist”, H & H also offers items like country fried steak, fried fish, oxtails, and more. The meats are great, but the sides are even better. I’m not a fan of collards, but I like H & H’s. Their mashed potatoes are creamy (not runny) and the squash casserole is as good as you’ll find anywhere. They top it with cheese to make it perfect.
Mama Hill collapsed while working in the restaurant in 2007 and died the next day at the age of 92. H & H briefly closed in 2013 but reopened in early 2015. It’s been called Georgia’s most iconic restaurant and while it fits the bill, it’s not a pretentious place. You’ll feel right at home when you walk in the door, with locals and tourists alike. The staff are some of the best you’ll find anywhere and the food will not disappoint.
Entrance to Earth Lodge
Archaeologists have determined that human habitation at this Mississippian site, formerly known as the Ocmulgee Old Fields and now the Ocmulgee National Monument, dates back at least 17,000 years.
Interior of Earth Lodge, with Eagle Platform
The Earth Lodge was uncovered by Dr. A. R. Kelley in 1934. It was reconstructed between 1933 and 1938. It served as a Mississippian Council House. The original clay floor, with the raised eagle platform, was exposed by employees of the Civil Works Administration and Work Projects Administration under the direction of James A. Ford. The Mississippians had burned the lodge, perhaps as an act of ritual cleansing or something entirely different. The charred remains of the construction, dated to 1015 AD, were arrayed in a spoke pattern and protected the original floor. The roof was not originally covered with sod, but it has been employed today to preserved the site.
Rear View of Earth Lodge
One should keep in mind that during the Mississippian Period, these mounds were not covered in grass but rather in the natural clay of the landscape.
Great Temple Mound
This is Early Mississippian flat-topped temple mound, 300 feet wide by 270 feet long by 40 feet high, is one of several in widely scattered locations across Georgia. It dates to circa 900-1100 AD. It was the principal religious structure at the Ocmulgee site till at least 1200 AD. A lesser mound (not pictured) stands adjacent to this one.
Excavations on this site uncovered parallel rows of charred corn cobs dating to circa 900AD-1200AD, indicating an early agricultural use. At some point, the field was transformed into a mound. The mound is 90 feet wide by 160 feet long by 6 feet high.
These trenches can be found in several locations around Ocmulgee National Monument. These, near the Cornfield Mound, are 18 feet wide by 7 feet deep. It is unclear as to whether they were defensive in nature or if they were borrow pits for the mounds.
Ocmulgee National Monument Visitors Center
Constructed between 1938-1951, the Streamline Moderne visitors center is a landmark in its own right. It houses a wonderful collection of artifacts collected on the site.
Designed by Elam Alexander for Judge Cadwallader Raines in the shape of a modified Greek cross with rooms branching out in four directions from a central octagonal hall, this is one of Macon’s finest homes. A spectacular spiral staircase originates in the foyer and leads to the octagonal cupola. The porches originally ran alongside the rooms, conforming to the shape of the house, but were later changed to their current circular fashion.
Judge Raines died in 1856 and his wife in 1860, leaving no heirs. The house was sold to Central Bank of Georgia president John E. Jones in 1869 and later came into the possession of Dr. George T. Miller before being purchased by Robert Joseph Carmichael.