Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cherokee Heights

Cherokee Heights (31204)

Cherokee Heights was one of Macon’s first “automobile suburbs”. Located just south of the Vineville neighborhood, and west of Pio Nono Avenue, its place on a time-line extends from just before World War I to a few years after. The neighborhood is the depository of some of Macon’s best 20th century architecture, from Arts and Crafts bungalows, small and large, to fine Georgian edifices. The renowned Georgia classicist architect Neel Reid designed a number of these charming houses, as did any number of other early 20th century architects.

The main streets are Cherokee, Hillcrest and Suwannee Avenues, which intersect with Courtland, Hilyer and Crescent Avenues, among others. This neighborhood was built by and for Macon’s professional class and was home to doctors, lawyers and educators in its heyday. Most of the larger houses are of masonry construction and almost all featured screen porches and outside terraces in the pre-air-conditioning era. The grounds and gardens of the houses were important in this area and the streetscape “rhythm” still remains with room to breathe between the houses.

Cherokee Heights had always been a stable and desirable neighborhood but the persistent “outward” push of developing ever newer areas of town in the mid-20th century seemed to have resulted in its marginalization until some “urban pioneering” types joined forces with some of the original stalwarts to revitalize this important historic Macon enclave. With its large yards, sidewalks, handsome architecture and convenient location Cherokee Heights is well-poised for further revitalization as it enters its second century.