Historic Macon exhibit offers look at Macon's past

Trey Smith / Cluster Staff

Throughout the month of August, the Jack Tarver Library, located on Mercer University’s Macon campus, hosted the Historic Macon Foundation’s Macon Then and Now exhibit. The exhibit is a series of photos that show what historical buildings in Macon looked like in the past, and shows how they look now.

“What they’ve done is they’ve taken before and after photos of historic places in Macon. So sometimes there’s a photo of a building that existed back then, and that same building may exist now, maybe it’s gone through some renovations,” said Lee Twombly, outreach and assessment librarian at Tarver Library. She went on to say, “In other cases, that house may no longer exist, or the building may no longer exist.”

The exhibit features around 25 photos in total. The photos show several locations including residential houses on Forsyth Street, Mulberry Street, College Street and Orange Street.

Some of the buildings have undergone major alterations, or been replaced by completely different buildings. Some of the buildings that have been replaced or altered include Mount de Sales, located at 851 Orange Street, as well as several of Macon’s residential houses.

According to Twombly, the point of the exhibit is, “just to show people a sense of history of Macon, and the importance of preservation.” The exhibit shows what Macon looked like in the past, and is meant to let people see a piece of its history.

According to Twombly, the Historic Macon Foundation approached the university around a year ago about displaying the exhibit on its campus. The foundation spoke with several different places about displaying the exhibit.

Twombly said that she hoped more people would come to view it while it was at Mercer, or while it was at another location. “I’m very supportive of it. I grew up into a Victorian house. I understand the efforts that go into fixing it up,” said Twombly.

Mercer’s library is not the first or the last location in Macon to host the exhibit. The exhibit opened in the Sidney Lanier Cottage in March, and the Historic Macon Foundation planned to have it travel to several different locations in the city.

The first location after the Sidney Lanier Cottage to hold the exhibit was Macon’s City Hall, then the Washington Memorial Library featured it and Mercer held it for the month of August. In September, the exhibit will move to Carlyle Place, and will be at Middle Georgia State College in October. A location for November has not yet been determined, but the Historic Macon Foundation plans to locate one.

The Knight Neighborhood Challenge funded the Macon Then and Now exhibit. The challenge is a project of the James L. Knight Foundation, the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, and had special assistance from the Middle Georgia Camera Club.