Macon Metro

About Macon, GA

Macon (/ˈmkən/), officially Macon–Bibb County, is a consolidated city-county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. Macon lies near the geographic center of the state, approximately 85 miles (137 km) south of Atlanta, hence the city’s nickname “The Heart of Georgia”.

Located near the fall line of the Ocmulgee River, Macon had a 2017 estimated population of 152,663.[4] Macon is the principal city of the Macon metropolitan area, which had an estimated population of 228,914 in 2017. Macon is also the largest city in the Macon–Warner Robins Combined Statistical Area (CSA), a larger trading area with an estimated 420,693 residents in 2017; the CSA abuts the Atlanta metropolitan area just to the north.

In a 2012 referendum, voters approved the consolidation of the governments of the City of Macon and Bibb County, and Macon became Georgia‘s fourth-largest city (just after Columbus). The two governments officially merged on January 1, 2014.[5]

Macon is served by three interstate highwaysI-16 (connecting the city to Savannah and coastal Georgia), I-75 (connecting the city with Atlanta to the north and Valdosta to the south), and I-475 (a city bypass highway).

The city has several institutions of higher education, as well as numerous museums and tourism sites. The area is served by the Middle Georgia Regional Airport and the Herbert Smart Downtown Airport. The mayor of Macon is Robert Reichert, a former Democratic member of the Georgia House of Representatives. Reichert was elected mayor of the newly consolidated city of Macon–Bibb, and he took office on January 1, 2014.[6]

Economy

According to the 2010 Census, the median household income in the city was $28,366, as compared with the state average of $49,347. The median family income was $37,268. Full-time working males had a median income of $34,163 versus $28,082 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,010. About 24.1% of families and 30.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 43.6% of those under age 18 and 18.4% of those over 65.[63]

Demographics

Macon is the largest principal city of the Macon-Warner Robins-Fort Valley CSA, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Macon metropolitan area (Bibb, Crawford, Jones, Monroe, and Twiggs counties) and the Warner Robins metropolitan area (HoustonPeach, and Pulaski counties), which had a combined population of 411,898 at the 2010 census.[2]

As of the official 2010 U.S. Census,[2] the population of Macon was 91,351. In the last official census, in 2000, there were 97,255 people, 38,444 households, and 24,219 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,742.8 people per square mile (672.9/km2). There were 44,341 housing units at an average density of 794.6 per square mile (306.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 67.94% African American, 28.56% White, 0.02% Native American, 0.65% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.46% from other races, and 0.77% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.48% of the population.

There were 38,444 households out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.0% were married couples living together, 25.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.0% were non-families. 31.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the city, the population was spread out with 26.9% under the age of 18, 11.3% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 79.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 72.8 males.

 

History

Macon was founded on the site of the Ocmulgee Old Fields, where the Creek Indians lived in the 18th century. Their predecessors, the Mississippian culture, built a powerful chiefdom (950–1100 AD) based on the practice of agriculture. The Mississippian culture constructed earthwork mounds for ceremonial, burial, and religious purposes. The areas along the rivers in the Southeast had been inhabited by indigenous peoples for 13,000 years before Europeans arrived.[7]

Macon developed at the site of Fort Benjamin Hawkins, built in 1809 at the fall line of the Ocmulgee River to protect the community and to establish a trading post with Native Americans. The fort was named in honor of Benjamin Hawkins, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Southeast territory south of the Ohio River for over 20 years. He lived among the Creek and was married to a Creek woman. This was the most inland point of navigation on the river from the Low Country. President Thomas Jefferson forced the Creek to cede their lands east of the Ocmulgee River and ordered the fort built. (Archeological excavations in the 21st century found evidence of two separate fortifications.)[8]

Fort Hawkins guarded the Lower Creek Pathway, an extensive and well-traveled American Indian network later improved by the United States as the Federal Road from Washington, D.C., to the ports of Mobile, Alabama and New Orleans, Louisiana.[8] A gathering point of the Creek and U.S. cultures for trading, it was also a center of state militia and federal troops. The fort served as a major military distribution point during the War of 1812 against Great Britain and also during the Creek War of 1813. Afterward, the fort was used as a trading post for several years and was garrisoned until 1821. It was decommissioned about 1828 and later burned to the ground. A replica of the southeast blockhouse was built in 1938 and still stands today on a hill in east Macon. Part of the fort site is occupied by the Fort Hawkins Grammar School.[8] In the 21st century, archeological excavations have revealed more of the fort’s importance, and stimulated planning for additional reconstruction of this major historical site.

In 1994 Tropical Storm Alberto made landfall in Florida bringing 24 inches (61 cm) of rain, which resulted in major flooding in Georgia. Macon was one of the cities to suffer the worst flooding.[19]

On May 11, 2008, an EF2 tornado touched down in nearby Lizella. The tornado then moved northeast to the southern shore of Lake Tobesofkee then continued into Macon and lifted near Dry Branch in Twiggs County. The tornado produced sporadic areas of major damage. Widespread straight-line wind damage was also produced along and south of the track of the tornado. The most significant damage was in Macon along Eisenhower Parkway and Pio Nono Avenue where two businesses were destroyed and several others were heavily damaged. Middle Georgia State College was also damaged by the tornado, snapping or uprooting around 50% of the campus trees and doing significant damage to several buildings on campus, with the gymnasium sustaining the worst damage. This tornado varied in intensity from EF0 to EF2 with the EF2 damage and winds up to 130 miles per hour (210 km/h) occurring near the intersection of Eisenhower Parkway and Pio Nono Avenue. Total path length was 18 miles (29 km) with a path width of 100 yards (91 m).[citation needed]

In 2012, voters in Macon and Bibb County approved a new consolidated government between the city and county, making the city’s new boundary lines the same as the county’s and reversing the annexation of a small portion of the city that once lay in Jones County.[5]

Consolidation