Go See: The Cannonball House 856 Mulberry Street, Macon, Georgia
There are three distinct things Macon, Georgia is known for: Cherry Blossoms, Legendary Music, and Antebellum Architecture.
It is the birthplace of the kazoo, Otis Redding, Little Richard, the Allman Brothers Band and… me!
Not far off of the interstate stands one of the most beautiful examples of Antebellum architecture, and that is the Cannonball House. Our first stop on Destination Unknown happens to be the museum I am the Executive Director for. In other words, you’ve got the inside scoop!
This home was built in 1853 for Judge Asa Holt. It got its name for damage sustained during the War Between the States. It is what you would call a planter’s townhouse. Located in Macon, Georgia, The Cannonball House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is an example of authentic Greek Revival architecture and contains fine period furnishings.
The house is also the repository for the Founders’ parlors of the Adelphean (ΑΔΙΙ) and Philomathean (ΦΜ) societies, recreated from Wesleyan College, where they began in 1851 and 1852. In other words, Phi Mus and ADPis around the nation visit the home to see the original items belonging to their organizations.
It is also home to several collections which contain important historical pieces, including a Civil War and General Museum and the Servant’s Quarters.
At the rear of the Cannonball House stands a quaint two-story kitchen built of hand-molded brick. The upper level of this house formerly served as quarters for the house servants. Few structures of this type remain in the South today.
The first thing you will notice about the House is the beautiful wrought iron gate surrounding the property. Even the house’s logo contains the intricate details of the front gate.
The front porch contains four flouted Ionic columns and drawn-wire fencing. A second floor porch features the same ironwork. The style of the home is very typical of the homes that Georgia planters often built for themselves “in town” during the Antebellum period. Most visitors enjoy sitting in the rocking chairs on the front porch, or taking pictures with the cannon that stands in the front lawn.
As one walks on the porch, they can only imagine what it may have been like to attend a ball or dinner, back when hoop skirts and top hats were common attire. When you enter the front door, you notice how high the ceilings are and how broad the staircase is. You can almost envision the host or hostesses descending to the doorway to meet you.
Off to the side of the entryway you will have double parlors with pocket doors, something that was very common in the 1850s. These two rooms are showstoppers! Historically, one side would have been used by the ladies, while the other room would have been where the men retired to, to smoke cigars and chat about politics. In those rooms, you will see the ornate detail. There is the beautiful plaster cornices, ceiling medallions and hand-carved window trim. All of the furnishings, including the interior shutters, marble mantels, stained glass transoms and chandeliers were brought from Wesleyan College. Now the room is a lovely reminder of a time long since past, however, the museum uses it for special events, including Millie’s Story Time the fourth Saturday of each month. It’s a low cost event ($1) for children, and free for parents.
The Dining Room is now used quite often for events. However, when touring the home, you will notice a small corner table. It contains an inscribed silver tray presented to Varina Howell Davis, wife of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. In October of 1887, President Davis attended a reunion of over ten thousand veterans in Macon. His health was quickly failing and this was the last time Davis was to address the former Confederate Army. The ladies of Macon donated any items of silver they were able to give and fashioned an honorary tray for Mrs. Davis. In the 1970’s a descendant of Jefferson Davis graciously returned the tray to the city of Macon.
Of particular interest in the Dining Room are the copper and bronze gasoliers, which hung originally in the two parlors. Guests can get the chance to dine and celebrate this beautiful room on the second Saturdays most months. The Miss Elizabeth’s Tea parties takes place at 4pm, and reservations are required.
Upstairs are the gentleman’s and lady’s bedrooms, as well as sitting area and a small Civil War Museum. If you are into vintage uniforms and weaponry, then the museum upstairs is a must see! Out back, the rare, fully-intact servants quarters are a highlight of the tour. Cora Lundy served the family from 1880 until her death in December of 1921. She served as the cook for the Canning family and was paid 25 cents a week.
Now, the space is used for cooking classes and bourbon tastings, however, it can be toured during the day.
The gardens are an integral part of the architecture. In 1997, with a generous financial gift, part of the parking lot was dug up to rebuild the garden to its original hay day! A brick wall and foundation was added around the back. The back garden was covered in thick Bermuda and St. Augustine grass.
One corner was sunken, and in it, planted with American Boxxwood, Wintergreen Boxwood, Apple and Pear trees, and forty other various perennials. The upper garden has a privacy hedge of Leyland Cypress running along the property line. Oleander cascades out of the trees nearest the back door and to the left of the door is a small patch of mint. The education coordinator has created a teaching herb garden for various programs.
The space is a wonderful location for a bridal tea, reception, wedding, or private party. Speaking of private parties, the Cannonball House hosts an annual event, the second Saturday of April each year, called Beards, Bourbon, and Bacon. This year is going to be incredible! If you are thinking of making a trip to see the house, this particular night would be well worth the drive and money!
Tickets are on sale now for this wildly popular event.
$25 for a Basic Ticket
$50 for a VIP Ticket
All tickets include:
– Front Parlors dedicated to the Art of Manliness. Everything from beards, to style, to concerns for distinguished gentleman.
– Formal Dining Room will host a decadent array of bacon inspired dishes. From sweet to savory, feast on an unlimited amount of scumptious delicacies.
– Enjoy live music with a saloon style sing-a-long in the foyer.
– Growing a beard? Show off your scrub in our wildly popular beard and mustache contest. Fabulous prizes for each category.
– Have a passion for good drink? Join your friends in the original 163 year old brick kitchen for a top of the line bourbon tasting sponsored by the Bourbon Bar of Macon.
– Dance the night away or simply relax under the stars in the Victorian Garden, complete with a signature cocktail and bar.
– Cigar aficionado? Bring your favorite with you and relax in the cigar grotto.
– Grab your date and take a picture in our photo booth, complete with props!
-After Party will be held at the Bourbon Bar of Macon (more on that later!) Your Beards, Bourbon & Bacon ticket will get you special goodies. Stay tuned for more!
All proceeds go to programs and preservation of the historic Cannonball House, a premier attraction for Macon.
VIP Tickets include:
1 Free signature drink
Private early Bourbon Tasting at 5:30
Specials later at the Bourbon Bar
No beards required. Women are invited also! 21 and over only.
Tickets – Space is limited.
Want to see what last year’s event looked like?
Interested in the paranormal? Like to hear a good ghost story? Then in November, make plans now to attend our Candlelight Apparitions. This past year, we highlighted the 19 deaths to take place in the home. (PS – two were suicides and one was a murder!) The house is lit only by candlelight and oil lamps, while re-enactors do their best to convey the story. It’s a wonderful treat each year.
The Cannonball House is opened Monday – Saturday from 10am until 3:30pm. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $4 for students and free for under 4.
You can learn more at: http://www.cannonballhouse.org
The Cannonball House is devoted to acquiring, conserving, interpreting, and exhibiting artifacts reflecting Georgia’s heritage from the antebellum through reconstruction eras. We strive to engage and inspire community members and visitors by presenting authentic and entertaining educational programs, exhibits, and special events through a wide range of history.
At the end of the day, the Cannonball House is quintessential old Macon. You want the real deal, and to see what life was like during the Civil War? Then this is the stop for you. And if you do come in, make sure to ask for me, Nicole. Anyone who mentions this article in this blog will receive $3 off of their admission. Just show this article.
Hope to see you real soon!