MACON, Ga. — There will be a parade of homes around Tattnall Square Park as three historic homes are relocated from Coleman Avenue to Oglethorpe Street to make room for Phase II of the Lofts at Mercer Village. All three homes are owned by Mercer University and will be restored and sold as part of Historic Macon’s neighborhood revitalization work in Beall’s Hill. The relocation has been set for Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 22 and 23. The parade will begin at 7 a.m. Saturday in Mercer Village, and the general public is encouraged to go to Tattnall Square Park to watch the relocation in action.
The parade will take an impressive feat of coordination and engineering to move the homes, including the temporary relocation of power, cable and telephone lines, as well as the removal of two traffic signals. Each of the homes will be perched atop massive steel beams to for the move.
The homes are currently located at 1658, 1674 and 1690 Coleman Ave. and will be relocated to 1035, 1065 and 1071 Oglethorpe St. On Saturday, the homes will travel east on Coleman Avenue past College Street where it turns into Ash Street, then north on Ross Street to the block between Hazel and Oglethorpe Streets, where they will sit overnight. On Sunday morning, the move will continue from Ross Street north, then east onto Oglethorpe Street where the houses will be placed on their foundations.
“This process is a great example of how preservation and progress can work in synergy to remind us of our past and guide us toward a vibrant future,” said Historic Macon Executive Director Josh Rogers. “Mercer should be applauded for investing in College Hill’s revitalization and for preserving these historic buildings. It’s a win for preservation and a win for the community.”
The development of Mercer Village has made it an attraction for homeowners moving to the historic neighborhoods around Mercer, as well as Mercer students. When the opportunity arose to build on the success of the first phase of the Lofts at Mercer Village by launching a second phase across the street, Mercer President William D. Underwood volunteered to relocate the three homes that would be affected by the development, Rogers said.
“Mercer has enjoyed a productive partnership with Historic Macon over the last few years in the revitalization of Beall’s Hill and other historic neighborhoods around the campus,” Underwood said. “The opportunity to once again work with Historic Macon on this ambitious project continues to advance the missions of both entities while adding to the vitality of the College Hill Corridor.”
The second phase of the Lofts at Mercer Village will be four stories, with three retail spaces on the first floor and student apartments on the top three floors. The look will be similar to spaces in the first phase of the Lofts. The second phase will have a slightly smaller footprint and include space for 72 more student residents. Phase two will sit atop much of the existing parking lot for Mercer Village, so the plans also call for the renovation of the parking areas, as well as the inclusion of new parking on Johnson Avenue, resulting in a gain of more than 100 parking spaces to serve Mercer Village retailers, as well as loft residents.
Once moved, the houses will be restored and sold to homeowners. Historic preservation easements will be reserved to ensure that the homes are always owner-occupied and maintained to preserve them for the future. The homes will be placed in the same order with the same distances from the street and between the houses to preserve their relationships with the street and each other.
The three homes have held the memories and lives of Maconites since 1897. Wholesale grocers, yeast distributors, cotton oil foreman, coffee salesmen and court solicitors all called these historic treasures home. They will now be preserved and restored for a new generation of Maconites — perhaps web developers, computer programmers or even a modern coffee shop worker — to care for, enjoy and pass down for the next generation.
The homes are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, were built as part of the planned development of the Huguenin Heights neighborhood and are Queen Anne-style, two-story frame residences. Much of the detailing was mass-produced by local and national millworks. George F. Barber’s “Victorian Cottage Architecture,” published in 1891, suggests detailing on the homes. An imagined “Residence at Macon, GA” in this work shows much of the millwork on these buildings and probably directly inspired the types of decoration used on the homes.
About Historic Macon Foundation
Historic Macon Foundation is a nonprofit organization that advocates for Macon’s historic and architectural heritage facilitates preservation and revitalization efforts in the community and educates and inspires appreciation for Macon, Ga. The Middle Georgia Historical Society and the Macon Heritage Foundation merged in 2003 to create Historic Macon Foundation. The Foundation maintains and promotes the Sidney Lanier Cottage, which is open for public visitation Monday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Historic Macon Foundation’s offices are located in the Sidney Lanier Cottage at 935 High St., Macon, GA 31201. For more information, visit www.historicmacon.org or call 478/742-5084.
About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,200 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at four regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.