Work is underway to expand the Allman Brothers Band members’ grave site that continually lures fans from all over the world to Rose Hill Cemetery.
In about a month, a new memorial site will be complete near the resting place of Gregg Allman, who was buried in June of 2017 across a walkway from his older brother, Duane, and the band’s original bass player, Berry Oakley.
All three are founding members of the group that rose to fame while living in Macon in the early 70s.
Duane Allman was the first to die following his 1971 fatal motorcycle accident. The next year, Oakley met the same fate in a motorcycle crash about three blocks from Duane’s wreck.
A makeshift shrine has emerged on Gregg Allman’s grave in the 14 months since he died at age 69 of complications from cancer.
Soon, a marble slab is expected to be placed to match those on the graves of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley.
In recent months, additional plots have been purchased next to Gregg Allman, and the walkway that separated the final resting place of the Southern Rock legends has been removed. A new wall is being built, and stairs will be added along the edge of Gregg Allman’s expanded plot, Macon-Bibb County Parks and Beautification Director Sam Kitchens said.
“It is the family’s design in a private plot, and it is all funded by them,” Kitchens said.
Exact plans for the site are closely guarded, and no one associated with the project will confirm whether relatives or other band members will be buried there.
Gregg Allman’s manager Michael Lehman did not immediately return messages seeking comment about the plans.
If desired, there is ample room to inter the remains of band co-founder Butch Trucks, who died in January of 2017, and the Allmans’ mother, Geraldine, who died in 2015.
The Allman graves overlooking the Ocmulgee River have long been a tourist draw at the cemetery that was a popular hangout for the band members during their Macon days on their rise to stardom.
The three band mates are buried about 100 yards away from the resting place of Elizabeth Reed, the namesake of the song written and composed by Dickey Betts.
Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson and Betts are the only surviving members of the original band.
Local contractor Roscoe Ross, who is doing masonry work for the project, said there was a steady stream of people coming to the graves last weekend.
In addition to fans, the grave sites also have attracted vandals.
A few years after the deaths of Duane Allman and Oakley, stone angels were stolen from their plots. Others disrespected the site by leaving trash and chipping away at the markers over the years.
About 20 years ago, Oakley’s sister erected a tall fence with razor wire to protect the graves. It was taken down on mayor’s orders.
Since then, an iron fence to complement the historic cemetery was erected and a viewing platform installed in 2007 through private donations.