Bike tour showcases history of Macon's industrial district

MACON, Ga. (AP) - A self-guided bike tour is being developed in Macon's industrial district to showcase the neighborhood's rich history.

Mercer University students mapped the fairly flat terrain with cyclists in mind, The Telegraph reported (

Many of the long and low buildings on the tour were built to accommodate railcars in this hub of activity in the 19th century.

Stops include the birthplace of Crisco shortening; Coca-Cola Bottling Co.; and Capricorn Studio now anchoring a major loft project on the site of the old Union Depot.

Brochures are available highlighting nearly two dozen landmarks off the beaten path for those interested in the self-guided tours.

Historic Macon's preservation and education coordinator, Kim Campbell, led dozens of people past many of the historic buildings during a recent trolley tour of the area.

George McCommon grew up in Macon and remembers Sunday driving with his dad, looking at all the old brick buildings.

The city veterinarian often drove through those streets headed to the old animal shelter, riding right past the old stockade with its art deco adornments.

"It is a great piece of Macon," McCommon said. "I'm excited that Historic Macon is embracing it."

Nearly at the dead end of Seventh Street, Campbell noted the architectural pedigree of the Modern Grocery Co.

Bernard A. Webb Jr., a Georgia Tech-trained designer who worked with the acclaimed Ellamae Ellis League, fashioned the modern supermarket in 1969.

"Here's this guy who's designing internationally acclaimed hotels and offices and he builds a grocery store," Campbell said over the trolley speakers.

Webb, who was internationally lauded for his work on the Town Pavillion Hotel in town, capped the store's entrance way with a brick arch.

Alison Evans, who moved to Macon a few years ago as CEO of the Methodist Home, learned of the recent trolley tour through social media.

The 30-minute trolley ride gave her a greater understanding of the city's past and efforts to preserve that heritage.

"It was excellent. It was well done and it was free," Evans said.

McCommon encourages people to explore the district.

"I'm just excited people get to see this because so many don't know all this is here."