The Cotton Avenue Historic District Taylor Drake - Mercer University

On November 14th 2016, leaders in Macon's black communities gathered together to discuss the Cotton Avenue Historic District. On November 16th, 2016, the same leaders gathered together to begin the process of reviving what used to be considered "the mecca of Macon's black community." This series of photos will take you through the district's past and the history of the the Cotton Avenue Historic District.

The Steward AME Church has been an integral piece of Macon's black community.

According to the Historic Macon Foundation, in the 1800's, Cotton Avenue quickly became a place where businesses and trade thrived.

Steward African Methodist Episcopalian Church sits on 887 Forsyth Street and has sat here for almost 200 years.
The Walton Building is named after Dewit T. Walton Senior. Walton was a prominent dentist and civil rights activist. Walton was the first black member to be elected to the Bibb County Board of Education.

In the 1900's, Jim Crow laws forced African American business owners to create their own business districts. Cotton Avenue became one of those districts.

The First Baptist Church was one of the first and only churches to have both black and white members in it's congregation.

First Baptist Church was integrated over a hundred years before slavery was abolished. Over the years, it's congregation has grown to over 2000 members.

The steps leading up to the church tell you everything you'd want to know about the roughly 181 year old building.

The recently reopened H&H Restaurant has been providing Macon with unforgettable soul food since 1959, according to the Historic Macon Foundation.

The H&H restaurant on 807 Forsyth Street.

Built in 1838. Macon's City Hall has come along way. The hall was first the Monroe Railroad and Banking Company, then a cotton warehouse. It wasn't until 1860 that building was bought by the City Council and turned into an official government building. The city hall set the stage for many protests during the Civil Rights Movement.

The Macon City Hall rests at 700 Poplar Street. The hall has witnessed several important events throughout Macon's history.

Now different developers are working on ways to revitalize and renew the district. Repairs are already being made to Capricorn Records.

Construction workers work on Capricorn Records roofing on a Thursday afternoon.

The Cotton Avenue District is under tremendous pressure to allow commercial buildings. Some buildings in the area have been torn down in order to make way for new businesses. However, the district is still a place of extreme historical significance and importance to Macon's black community.

The Sidney Lanier House is the birthplace and former home of Sidney Lanier. The Lanier house is now a museum and home to the Historic Macon Foundation.
Art work by Heidi Clinite decorates the divider that hides the construction of Capricorn Records.
From Left to Right: The Allman Brothers Band eating lunch at H&H Restaurant; The Walton Building on Walton Sr. Way; The Steward AME Church (top right); First Baptist Church (bottom left); The old Capricorn Records Building.

Photo Credit: Middle Georgia Archives, The Allman Brothers Band Museum and Historic Macon Foundation.

The Cotton Avenue Historic District matters.

To Be Continued...

Other moments captured in Macon, GA.

"We come out here when we can just to make sure nobody comes in here and messes with the anyone that walks in here. It's a casual, watchdog kinda thing."
Mercer student Taylor Palmer out, about and enjoying Tattnall Square Park's Magnolia trees on an August day.
At the Hummingbird Stage & Tap Room's last Drag Queen Bingo. Performer and Queen Akasha Giselle Vidalle performs her Rhianna number complete with red wig and yellow jumpsuit.
Jordan Ruby, fellow Macon Mayhem teammates and coaches watch first period game action from the sideline.
Sun setting over halftime at Five Star Stadium. Mercer football was able to bring in a win over Furman (27-24) for the final game of the season.
A permanently closed Bibb Music Center sits on Cotton Avenue on a quiet Sunday. The center officially closed in 2013 but provided all kinds of musical assistance for Maconites for over 50 years.
The now permanently closed Bibb Theater sits abandoned on a rainy Tuesday.

The River Walk at Ocmulgee is still under construction. The trail is set to connect to Walnut Creek.

The Grand Opera House on Mulberry Street has been a musical staple of Macon for over 135 years.
Mercer education student Vivian Goodwin prepares for the ominous and fast approaching finals week.
Created By
Taylor Drake

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