Touring Macon, Georgia - NevaSpellPhotography

Macon, Georgia: The Hay House
934 Georgia Ave., Macon

The Hay House is one of the finest antebellum homes in America, and a must see if you visit Macon. Open to tours, this unique, elegant Italian Renaissance Revival Villa mansion contains 18,000 square feet on four levels in 24 rooms, crowned by a three-story cupola. When it was finished in 1859 after five years of hard labor, it was declared "The Palace of the South." A sophisticated water system allowed the house's three indoor bathrooms to have hot and cold running water. Gas lighting illuminated the interior, and an ingenious ventilation system kept the house cool in the summer, while a central heating system, along with 19 fireplaces, warmed the house in the winter. The house also had an elevator and intercom system. Furnished with many treasures of fine art, furnishings, and antiques, the house features some of the finest decorations of the day with stained glass windows, exquisite plasterwork, gold leafing, grained woodwork and some of the country's finest examples of marbleized and trompe l`oeil finishes. The builder of the house, William Butler Johnston, was a successful banker. He is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery.

In 1862, the Confederate Treasury established a major depository at Macon, and Johnston was the receiver of Confederate deposits. Macon became the most important depository in the South, second only to Richmond. Legend states that a hidden room in a staircase in the house stored the Confederate gold. When Stoneman fired on Macon, he aimed at the prominent cupola on the Hay House. The shot instead hit the Holt House, now known as the Cannonball House. The Hay House is open to tours and has a bookstore and gift shop.

I-75 South to I-16. Take the Spring St. exit and take a right onto Spring St. Follow Spring up the hill.

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