If youve ever wondered how serious Macon is about safeguarding its architectural treasures -- ones you may have never even noticed -- consider the story of the wineglass.
The wineglass used to sit on a kitchen counter in a century-old house at 1658 Coleman Ave.
The people who left it there lived in the house until about a year ago.
The house, a two-story Queen Anne, and two others next door to it, for now, still belong to Mercer University. Last October, to make room for a parking lot at some new loft apartments along Montpelier Avenue, the houses were loaded onto giant haulers and towed to Oglethorpe Street on the other side of Tattnall Square Park.
In the 1960s, the houses had barely dodged Interstate 75 when it pushed through. Now theyre poised for revival.
The hope is that their restoration will spread to others in their new neighborhood. Since the 1ate 1890s they had faced northeasterly on Coleman, the Mercer campus at their backs. Now they look southwest over Oglethorpe, just down from the Bears Den restaurant, up the street from the county jail.
The uprooted houses are in better shape on the inside than they are on the outside. Porches are rotted in spots, and some of the siding looks like it tried to leap off on the ride over from Coleman.
Historic Macon will soon take ownership of the houses, which Mercer is donating, and during the next couple of years the group will either oversee repairs or hand the houses over to suitable owners.
To get them rehabilitated and occupied, thats our mission, Josh Rogers, executive director of Historic Macon, said Friday. The easiest and fastest way we can do that is what were gonna take.
In the past, the organization has turned similar houses over to owners with the resources to rehab them to our standards within two years, Rogers said. We deal exclusively in owner-occupied housing. ... They have to show us that they have the financial ability to do it.
Anyone interested in fixing up the houses should keep an eye on Historic Macons website for when and where to send proposals for the dwellings.
I expect within six months to 24 months, Rogers said, all three will look better than they ever did on Coleman.
No matter how long it takes, though, one of them -- the one that used to reside at 1658 Coleman Ave., the one now nearest a cactus patch and the corner of Calhoun Street -- might still have a wineglass on its kitchen counter.
Because even as the house was jacked up and carted to its new address, the glass didnt budge.
It was still sitting there, completely unrattled, upright. It was astounding, Rogers said. Just think what subtle rattles it would have taken to jostle that thing onto its side or roll it off the counter.
Like much of this citys well-preserved past, for now at least, the glass is still there.