As the LAMAR Institute began its research, the Fort Hawkins Commission realized immediately three very important facts:1)secure the site to prevent the prevalent looting; 2) don’t rebuild the fort anytime soon; and 3) more archaeological research was going to be necessary.Fortunately, their initial 5-week dig revealed enough of the original Fort Hawkins to help guide the necessary development of the site and produce this long needed development plan.The archaeological research documented clearly where we could and should develop the site with the majority of the city block remaining green space as a sensitive archaeological dig site.
The basic layout of the property for development is best and simply represented by the four levels or terraces mentioned earlier (Appendix IV).The first level or top terrace is the elementary school site and therefore the most sensitive area with little or no development allowed with the fort ruins beneath the school’s three to five feet of fill dirt. The second terrace appears as an old service road and is close to the original fort level and therefore will require investigation before permanent visitor service developments would be made.The third terrace contains the school era reflecting pool, the former asphalt basketball courts, and a former service station that is not currently Fort Hawkins property.The fourth and final terrace is the six-lane Emery Highway, U.S. Highways 80 and 23, Georgia Routes 19 and 22, and Alternate U.S. 129 – a major and vital transportation artery in Middle Georgia.
The third level of the fort site is the most heavily damaged area archaeologically due to the expansion of Emery Highway, the construction of the reflecting pool and playground/basketball court, and the construction first of a home and then a service station at the corner of Emery Highway and Fort Hill Street.The unfortunate destruction of these archaeological resources is actually fortunate for the sake of successfully developing the Fort Hawkins site and opening it to the public daily.While this area is best suited for the most site development and not requiring extensive archaeological research, all areas of the site, when disturbed, should be carefully and diligently examined as any development progresses.The resulting development equation for the entire fort city block is approximately ¾ sensitive with ¼ ready for development now.
First and foremost, Fort Hawkins is a valuable national archaeological resource as so clearly documented by the LAMAR Institute research.Before any full-scale reconstruction of the fort can be considered, over a full acre of fort land must be carefully studied and evaluated.The evidence thus far has indicated multiple fort configurations over the years, which will further hamper a definitive or authentic fort reconstruction.Thus it would appear that rebuilding Fort Hawkins will be an impossible task, when in fact, both the fort rebuilding and the continued
archaeological research may coexist wonderfully at Fort Hawkins with this development plan.Nevertheless, the Fort Hawkins Commission has been correct in the extreme importance of archaeology and should pursue an active and on-going archaeological program while “rebuilding the fort.”
The Fort Hawkins Commission has already funded the beginning of the Outer Palisade Wall documentation dig, which was conducted in October 2007.At the same time, the Commission found a local sponsor, Montgomery Tree Service, willing to supply the logs to rebuild a demonstration outer palisade wall.The entire east wall and ¾ of the south wall have been thoroughly investigated by the LAMAR Institute and are ready for such a palisade reconstruction.The next planned dig for October 2008 will last four weeks and finalize the complete outer palisade wall of Fort Hawkins if funding becomes available. The reconstruction of a demonstration native pine palisade wall would greatly educate the public about the real Fort Hawkins and provide a vivid and bold new historical view in Macon of the1806 American frontier.
The reconstruction of the demonstration palisade wall will eventually lead to its required rebuilding when a more permanent palisade solution is found.The successful use of concrete in the 1930’s blockhouse replica could foreshadow a future polymer or composite that could permanently recreate the outer palisade wall.The very use of concrete in the blockhouse replica will forever complicate a completely authentic rebuilding of Fort Hawkins, unless the 1930’s replica was torn down, which is not considered an option and perhaps never should.Further complicating a faithful reconstruction is the precarious location of the northwest blockhouse and north palisade wall near or even in Woolfolk Street and the northeast fort corner jutting into Maynard Street.With at least three different fort configurations now known, which Fort Hawkins would be rebuilt?
However, by reconstructing the original outer palisade wall, c.1806, the fort’s exterior would reflect a historical accuracy while inside the palisade wall the archaeological research could continue with even greater security and protection. The interior of the fort would not have been visible in1806, so by having the outer palisade erected, the fort would appear just about as it would have in 1806. Further research will determine the possibility of recreating an authentic northwest blockhouse and eventually the possible complete rebuilding of the fort.Once the complete fort archaeological evidence is revealed, the decision may be wise to develop the site along the lines of Fort Frederica National Monument on St.SimonsIsland, Georgia where they preserve the original fort features without needing to rebuild on top of them to interpret the site successfully.
The creation of the State of Georgia’s first public archaeological demonstration area, where archaeology is celebrated and demonstrated daily, could be accomplished at Fort Hawkins with great success.The Topper Dig Site in South Carolina, where the public may participate in the dig as a paying, educational experience, has already been suggested by the LAMAR Institute as a possibility
for the Fort Hawkins site.Working collectively with the Society of Georgia Archaeology, the State Historic Preservation Office, and all three of our local colleges plus more in Middle Georgia if not throughout the state, will allow a daily dig experience for the visitor to witness or even participate in.Once the fort dig is completed, Fort Hawkins could sponsor and lead further needed archaeological digs in Middle Georgia.With the wealth of potential worthy archaeological sites in our area, this celebration of archaeology will be forever.
The realistic yet exciting schedule for the continuing Fort Hawkins archaeological research reflects a systematic search for fort related data:
The Fort Hawkins Commission has been dedicated in providing a living history learning experience at Fort Hawkins for several years.Despite the severe lack of public amenities, the Commission has offered a variety of living history lessons and educational demonstrations in and around the blockhouse replica.No
matter how successful these programs continue to be, their success only points out the real need for improved visitor services to improve the visitor’s safety, security, comfort, and ability to enjoy and appreciate the learning experiences available at Fort Hawkins.The dramatic and documented history of Fort Hawkins will become real with a daily living history program in place with the proper support facilities.
Living history presentations have proven to be highly successful educational and motivational tools in teaching and attracting the public to America’s rich history.The millions who visit such reproduced historical attractions as Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia or Greenfield Village in Michigan attest to this successful technique in connecting the American public with its American History.Despite being reproductions, their documented authenticity further bonds the public to such sites.Authentic reproductions and living history have made American history more accessible and acceptable to the general public even more than the classroom or glass enclosed museums ever could.Fort Hawkins’ dedication to historical archaeology and site authenticity will enhance its living history program. Fort Hawkins potential for living history is only limited by the imagination.
This potential is easily reflected by the myriad of skills and crafts that were practiced at Fort Hawkins 200 years ago out of real necessity.Today these very skills and crafts are fast becoming lost arts as modern America becomes further detached from its historical roots.Fortunately for Fort Hawkins, the modern audience also craves to reconnect to their heritage especially through living history. Thus the Fort Hawkins living history program serves an important two-fold purpose for the site’s preservation and interpretation.It will help save history as it shares history.It also puts the dramatic history of the fort into a human context with the ability to not only interact with the history, but actual connect to it.
However, the Fort Hawkins Living History Program has the potential to do more than simply demonstrate these skills on a daily basis.The site’s educational mission will be enhanced by offering periodic classes in these skills, thus perpetuating these forgotten yet necessary American arts and crafts.This type of living history will aid Fort Hawkins being viewed as more than a mere “tourist attraction” and should increase the site’s participation with the local educational community from the elementary to college level, as well as the participation of the many arts and youth groups in Macon and Middle Georgia.Fort Hawkins can become with great ease both a fun and serious historic site that the public will adore with its real living history experience and engaging public programs.
These living history public programs that both demonstrate and teach will also have a definte economic impact.The wonderful items that these historical skills produce will be sold on site in the Fort Hawkins Gift Shop/Trading Post/Living History Headquarters.This concept creates a real economic engine for the living history efforts beyond the improved economics of an open to the public Fort Hawkins historic site.The resale items and the teaching classes will be dynamic
economic assets to the site.The archaeology itself could become part of a living history/economic generator by expanding the example of the Topper Site in South Carolina.The Fort Hawkins site will become an even bigger educational and economic asset with such an energetic and imaginative application of living history.
The Fort Hawkins Living History Program will realize that genealogy is as important as archaeology in bringing the fort history alive.Genealogy should be considered one of the greatest examples of living history. The fort’s public programming already reflects this connection with the original Fort Factor Jonathan Halsted’s descendents now serving on the Fort Hawkins Commission and holding an annual family reunion.Col. Benjamin Hawkins family has also met at the fort, and descendents of Maj. Phillip Cook have volunteered at the fort.Real soldiers and families lived and worked at Fort Hawkins and the study and celebration of these real people add greatly to the story of the real Fort Hawkins.
Fort Hawkins will be a unique blend of true living history with archaeologists and genealogists as well as costumed interpreters including U.S. Army soldiers, settlers, sutlers, traders, trekkers, skilled craftsmen, children, mothers, washer women, Native Americans, and the entire mix of early American personalities found on the frontier 200 years ago.Although the Fort Hawkins site is primarily a sensitive archaeological site, the lower ¼of the Fort Hawkins city block can accommodate the needed area for the site’s necessary support buildings and living history program.This is the area of damaged archaeological resources, which allows the site to be developed and used while maintaining the ongoing site archaeological excavations.This blend of ongoing archaeology and daily living history will contribute greatly to both the site’s successful marketing and educational efforts leading to its economic success.
3. Interpretive Visitor Center
The only way that the Fort Hawkins site can succeed with any of its noble ambitions is to have a modern Interpretive Visitor Center.Such a Center must be a creative complex to accomplish the broad goals of the Fort Hawkins Commission while fitting the narrow available space, the ¼ of the city block with the damaged archeological resources.Despite the successes in archaeological research and living history public programs, the site desperately needs aprofessional visitor center complex to properly support such activities and to insure the future success in these areas without compromising or endangering site safety and security.
The 1930’s replica blockhouse is not such a center in any way, and its use as such severely limits proper visitor services and collection conservation.The visitor and the collection are both unsafe and at peril under the current conditions found at the Fort Hawkins site today.Little upgrades have been made by the
City of Macon since 1951 to improve these conditions, although some improvements were made as mentioned earlier.Much more is needed to insure the proper and professional preservation and interpretation of the site.The successes of the site despite such spartan and stringent conditions simple amplifies the need for proper visitor services and amenities.
The Fort Hawkins Interpretive Visitor Center will be able to tie in the elements of the needed ongoing site archaeology and the daily living history program, the necessary conservation and preservation of the site’s collection and correct interpretation of the site’s history, and the critical desire to be a community and educational resource.The Fort Hawkins Commission has never envisioned that the Fort Hawkins site should become either a carnival like tourist attraction or a serious, stuffy museum.This proposed Visitor Center complex will allow the site to be serious in its historical responsibilities while still being a fun experience in delivering its services to the public that is eager for such an engaging and inspiring educational program.A real hands on history will be practiced at Fort Hawkins with such a complex to support the effort.
Despite there being only about ¼ of the Fort Hawkins city block available for development due to the remaining ¾ of the block being a sensitive archaeological area, the location for such a complex is evident.The corner of Fort Hill Street and Emery Highway has been severely damaged archaeologically at least three times with a home being constructed on the site in the 1920’s, followed by a service station, and finally with the major paving of Emery Highway and Fort Hill Street.Today the former service station is being rented as a van rental business, whose owner wants to relocate to a better commercial area for his business. This property consists of a two thousand square foot concrete block building with a brick veneer plus paved parking that can accommodate presently about fifteen vehicles.
Since the Fort Hawkins site is primarily an archaeological site, this concrete block structure could be easily adapted into the site’s archaeological headquarters.There are currently four exterior doors that reflect the four main components needed to support the archaeological research: 1) conservation laboratory, 2) classroom/workshop, 3) fire proof vault, and 4) auditorium /meeting area.All components are needed to continue the site’s archaeology without having the artifacts leaving the site for conservation and research or being stored in the University of Georgia Vault for safekeeping.All these needs are self evident to professional archaeologists, and once again, the Fort Hawkins Commission is fortunate to have the professional services of the LAMAR Institute to guide this important site development.
The fourth component of the auditorium/meeting area will connect the Archaeological Headquarters to the main Interpretive Visitor Center that would be attached to the existing concrete block building to the left or westward towards Fort Hill Street.This available open space would provide easy access to the site
from Fort Hill Street or Emery Highway.Although a modern building could accommodate all the purposes needed, the representative architecture of the Fort Hawkins era would give the site more of a historic appeal and contribute directly to the site’s living history program.Macon’s renowned architectural heritage goes from Native American earthen creations to aristocratic antebellum homes without displaying a single log structure, which would reflect Macon’s and America’s real beginnings.
The Interpretive Visitor Center complex will become the living history Village of Fort Hawkins from its appearance on Emery Highway, with the proud crown of the Fort Hawkins palisade wall looming above the village and with the blockhouse replica standing guard over the whole primitive but majestic historic scene.The Archaeological Headquarters would be pine camouflaged with the two story log house constructed to its left as the main museum interpretive area and a log trading post constructed to its right as the museum’s Gift Shop/Trading Post/Living History Headquarters.Hearthstone Log Homes, the company that recreated Fort King George in Darien for the State of Georgia, has expressed a great interest in helping rebuild Fort Hawkins, also.The Tennessee corporate office was keen on sponsoring the rebuilding of the Fort Hawkins Village and such a sponsorship could lead to national advertising campaign and expanded interest about this early America recreation at historic Fort Hawkins.
The main interpretive area will be a two-story log structure that would allow visitors to exit out a rear second story door onto the actual fort level.An example of an authentic two story Georgia log structure is found at the New Echota State Historic Site in Calhoun, Georgia.The 1805 Vann Tavern (Appendix VII) was originally found at Chief Vann’s Chattahoochee River ferry crossing and moved to the Cherokee Capital in the 1950’s when Lake Sidney Lanier flooded the original ferry crossing.Col. Benjamin Hawkins would have surely visited this tavern, and although Fort Hawkins was part of the Creek territory, Hawkins was the “Beloved to the Four Nations.”The Fort Hawkins Commission has permission to recreate this wonderful wooden structure in an expanded floor plan to accommodate the site’s available space and needed visitor and interpretive services.
The first floor of the center (Appendix VIII) would include a lobby and exhibit area.The main lobby features the visitor services desk, public bathrooms, introductory fort history exhibits, the bust of Col. Hawkins, and artwork featuring the fort.The Fort Hawkins Commission presently has a small collection of fort artwork and should be complimented for acquiring famed local artist, Sterling Everett, as the real Fort Hawkins artist.He has committed to a faithful artistic rendering of the real Fort Hawkins based on the current archaeological evidence that would grace this area.However, there are other known major American works of art that feature Benjamin Hawkins and the Fort Hawkins time period, which could become part of the permanent collection or could be exhibited temporarily.Another example of art as an additional asset to Fort Hawkins is
in need of rescue in Macon. In the 1960’s acclaimed international artist, George Beattie, created a massive and impressive mural of Macon’s history from the prehistoric past through modern jet aircraft.Unfortunately, this stunning work of art was done in the lobby of the Federal Building on College Street, which has been closed to the public since the 9/11 tragedy and therefore not seen and barely known about.Preliminary discussions indicate the mural could be moved with federal funds if a better home could be found, and since Fort Hawkins is featured prominently (Appendix IX), a better home would be the lobby of the new Fort Hawkins Visitor Center.The “Birthplace of Macon” would thereby save and share all of our community’s history in this stunning artwork.Art will be part of the celebration at the fort.
Many of the current exhibits that have miraculously survived in the replica blockhouse are ready now for the new Visitor Center with just better lighting and presentation and some without much upgrading.The recent archaeology has uncovered “museum quality” artifacts, and this new quality Visitor Center will allow them to be removed from the vault and put on public display.This site development plan will not delve into any major Comprehensive Interpretive Plan for the historic site at this time.The future administration of the site will have a myriad of interpretive and operational decisions and policies to craft such as a scope of collections, fire making regulations, and volunteer guidelines.This plan provides a framework to only accomplish the mission of the Fort Hawkins Commission.
The second floor of the “Vann Tavern” replica will be artifact driven (Appendix VIII).The original floor plan includes a large room with two smaller side rooms.There are already more than three ardent collectors who have offered their fort and native relics for our display at Fort Hawkins.The guiding light and inspirational anchor for the current Fort Hawkins Commission, is former Chairman, Dr. Robert J. Cramer.He has previously stated that his extensive and exquisite collection of Native American artifacts would one day be displayed at Fort Hawkins.If this happens, the Fort Hawkins site could boast of having more Native American artifacts on display than any other museum in Georgia.This fact could be easily verified and perhaps even expanded beyond Georgia.This second floor would be known as “The Dr. Bob Cramer Center For Native American Studies” with other smaller collections being rotated on a regular basis.This area will open in the rear directly to the fort level.
The hillside was so severely cut for its 20th century construction, that a steep red clay cliff surrounds the concrete block service station building.Therefore, the second floor of the visitor center will be at the fort level at its rear.Actually, the real fort level is the upper most terrace, and this site entry is on the second terrace, which appears to have been an old service road that could even date to the fort era.Now that the original outline of the fort is known and therefore the future archeological digs and palisade reconstruction areas are known, a system of trails may be laid out to help define the fort and provide a proper pathway for
visitors to visit the fort site.The current landscape is an accident waiting to happen with its lack of trails and uneven decorative brick walkway around the blockhouse replica.
The new trail would take the visitor to the blockhouse replica, which will be completely emptied and cleaned.Due to this replica, the complete authentic rebuilding of the original Fort Hawkins has always been problematic, if not really impossible.The Northwest Blockhouse is equally so, as is the recreation of the entire fort pending the future archeological discoveries.Nevertheless, the original outer palisade wall can be reconstructed and thus create an image of the real Fort Hawkins while maintaining the sensitive archaeological areas for their on-going research.The replica blockhouse’s use of those questionable building materials, will now prove to be an asset once again as the blockhouse’s complete redevelopment will improve its historical accuracy and visitor accessibility.
New evidence indicates that the blockhouse never had a first floor access door. This stone-enclosed floor is always referred to as a basement, and the blockhouse would have a ramp access to the third floor, where a door does appear in the only surviving photograph of the blockhouse.There was no spiral staircase up the middle of the blockhouse either, with ladders and pulley hoists in place instead.Even with the spiral staircase, many visitors to the site are not able to climb up the second or third floors and thus miss the truly spectacular panoramic view of the surrounding area – nearly the same view as two hundred years ago.Most every visitor expresses a desire to get atop the blockhouse’s nearly five-story crow’s nest for an even more spectacular vista, although impractical, unsafe and never allowed.
The replica blockhouse will be improved historically and practically with historic vignettes on the three floors reflecting chores and duties of the soldiers stationed at Fort Hawkins and a glass elevator to the crow’s nest to provide the utmost breathtaking view of the surrounding green countryside, as well as a view of the soldiers’ life as they go up and down the replica blockhouse.At this time the site’s “old gun” would be moved to its more historically accurate location on the second floor of the blockhouse, which will provide the needed shelter to permanently protect and secure this original fort artillery piece. This amazing ride through history to the top of Macon could even become part of the site’s many assets contributing to its point of destination success.This innovative feature and the trail system will make the site safe and accessible to everyone.
The visitor’s on site experience continues with the trail leading back down to the site’s third terrace at the visitor center level for the site’s living history area that will revolve and evolve around the log trading post/gift shop attached or near the eastern side of the visitor center.This would become the fourth trading post known to occupy the area.The first was begun by the British near the Ocmulgee Mounds in 1686, which was followed in 1806 when Jonathan Halsted moved the
Factory from Fort Wilkinson to Fort Hawkins, establishing it amongst the mounds.The Factory, or trading post, was not moved to Fort Hawkins until 1809, and its location has not been conclusively verified or even determined to be within the palisade wall.Thus a Trading Post/Gift Shop would be quite appropriate in this location, and its architectural details could combine the history of all previous trading posts.
The first additions to the Trading Post would no doubt be a lean-to Blacksmith Shop or Carpenter’s Shed since blacksmithing and carpentry were basic and needed skills with both the Ocmulgee Blacksmith Guild and Middle Georgia Woodworkers Association having expressed a desire to participate in the site’s daily living history program.Other log structures could be built in this same area along the hillside separating the site’s second and third terraces as the site’s living history skills expand into the Village of Fort Hawkins.The Muscogee Creek Nation has already been invited by the Fort Hawkins Commission to help recreate an authentic Creek log house to dispel the myth of tepees at Fort Hawkins.As the living history village expands, so will the site’s educational services and gift shop sales.The site’s gift shop would carry historical items from the living history, the standard souvenir items and unique fort related memorabilia.Such a living history program, with demonstrations and classes, and such a site resale program, with arts, crafts, and souvenirs, will both contribute greatly to the site’s success as an economic generator.
This third terrace level of the site will also provide additional parking and resource enhancement.This is the level where the former asphalt basketball courts for the Fort Hawkins School are found along with the school’s stone reflecting pool.The former courts will easily convert into an immediate gravel parking area that would accommodate over eighty vehicles.The former reflecting pool will be restored with the help of the Fort Hawkins School alumni.Their school will not be forgotten and will be remembered in both exhibits and the restoration of their “wading pool” around which May Day activities always took place.This pool restoration, upkeep, and development could become another successful fund raising stream.The reflecting image of Fort Hawkins will prove a popular meditative and photographic area for the site.This area is easily accessed from the current service station property with a minimum of landscaping needed to connect this and all of the site together.
This reflecting pool and parking area should become the logical location for the placement of site memorials such as benches and plaques with the Fort Hawkins School alumni leading this memorial effort.These memorials will help commemorate local history and may aid in site fund raising efforts.Several known but endangered historical monuments should be moved to Fort Hawkins for better protection and public exposure.At the end of Emery Highway at Gray Highway there is a metal marker imbedded in the sidewalk of an abandoned car dealership that remembers Gen. Emery, our road’s namesake, as being the Commander of Camp Wheeler during World War II.The camp was located at
the very opposite end of Emery Highway and was an important U.S. Army training camp in both World Wars, with many local family ties to this day.This obvious interpretive link to our 1806 U.S. Army Fort Hawkins, would insure the preservation of the Gen. Emery Historic Marker, the memory of Camp Wheeler, and the support of more military families in middle Georgia.
Another historic marker is less endangered, but is still in a potentially precarious location.In the parking area of the Baconsfield McDonalds (the donors of the replica blockhouse’s current big orange exhibits), there is a large stone on the corner of busy Gray Highway that bears a metal plaque remembering Gen. James Oglethorpe’s (the founder of the colony of Georgia in 1733) camping in the “Old Fields” on his way to meet and treat with the Muscogee Creeks.This amazing yet locally unknown historical fact would be better promoted and protected at the Fort Hawkins site and once again relates to the site’s military and Native American history.There are also a couple of Federal Road historic markers and memorials that could likewise be better served at Fort Hawkins.
The development of such a vibrant Interpretive Visitor Center complex with its connecting trails and living history village around the historic Fort Hawkins with its ongoing archaeology research reflects the bigger reality of Fort Hawkins that was apparent in 1806.Although known as the birthplace of Macon, Fort Hawkins was much, much more than a local phenomenon because its significance was felt on a broader regional and national scale.Likewise, the Fort Hawkins Interpretive Visitor Center complex will reflect not only the brief but glorious period that the fort was in existence, but also shed light on its larger context as part of U.S. History and its impact on Macon and Middle Georgia even to this day.
4. Phased Property Acquisition
Although the majority of the original Fort Hawkins property was eventually purchased by the City of Macon to allow the needed archaeological research to commence, this research has revealed that there is little area left for site development except for the ¼ of the fort city block that has been previously identified.This requires the additional purchase of the remaining corner lot of the city block currently owned by Rev. Lonzy Edwards and rented out to the Hollingshed Van Rental Company.The acquisition of this critical property will be needed to implement this site development plan.
This would be Phase One of the Fort Hawkins Phased Property Acquisition plan (Appendix X) that will open the site to the public.This plan also provides a blueprint for the adjacent property around the Fort Hawkins city block.This plan provides for the recommended development of this immediate area around the fort block.Due to the City of Macon’s commitment since 1951 to improve and protect Fort Hawkins, the Fort Hawkins Commission requests that the City continue to honor this commitment even after the site opens to the public.The
Fort Hawkins property currently is part of the City’s official park green space, and the adjacent properties should also contribute towards this green space, as they contribute towards the betterment of Fort Hawkins and the improvement of the surrounding neighborhood.
Phase Two includes the two city blocks of vacant lots across Woolfolk Street from the fort property running from Fort Hill Street to Maynard Street with Smith Street bisecting the two.At times these lots are more qualified to be considered “abandoned and neglected,” but there are infrequent basic lot cleanups and there is a small home facing Maynard Street on that end of the block.The need for some archaeological research in this area, as in all of this adjacent land, is mentioned in Phase 5 of the site’s archaeological plan. The Fort Hawkins Commission has long desired to create a neighborhood park in this area that would include picnic tables, barbeque grills, and a children’s playground.Being outside of the fort block, this park would always be available for the fort’s neighbors, school visitors, and site picnickers.This phase could be expedited with funding from the Economic & Community Development Department and could be maintained by the Friends of Fort Hawkins and the Fort Hawkins Neighborhood Association.
Phase Three includes the property across Fort Hill Street from the fort and is bounded by Church Street and Emery Highway.Currently there are three houses on this property facing Fort Hill Street.The owner of two is willing now to move despite his long standing devotion to Fort Hawkins and the larger house, c. 1860 with its twin double flue chimneys, has been partially restored and sold to an Atlanta family.This property could serve several purposes from additional site parking along Emery Highway to the houses becoming an archaeological “bed & breakfast” development based on the successful Topper Model in South Carolina.There is an even more important aspect to this property that would link the fort’s history to the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail and to the very downtown of the city it “birthed.”
Church Street sits at an odd angle against the general city grid, and for very good reason (Appendix IV).Church Street was part of the beginning of the first Federal Road in America that eventually connected Washington, D.C. to New Orleans.Fort Hawkins was the very beginning of this new road allowed by the Creeks for Col. Hawkins to lay out along their Lower Creek Trading Path.Church Street turns into Main Street in East Macon and continues to follow the original ancient Creek Trading Path and first Federal Road in the new nation.It became the first postal route in the nation and supplied troops for Jackson’s victories at the Battle of New Orleans and for his victories in the Creek and Seminole Wars.It was the gateway to the western frontier in 1806, and that frontier would disappear in 1821. The birth of Macon would follow in 1823 on the western side of the Ocmulgee, with Cotton Avenue becoming a reminder of the earlier Federal Road.
Even though Fort Hawkins is not presently a part of the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail Master Plan, NewTown Macon officials have expressed great interest in bringing the trail up to Fort Hawkins.Under the current conditions found at Fort Hawkins site, it is no wonder that the site was not included in this Master Plan, but the recent Fort Hawkins Commission successes and plans have stimulated this new interest. Once the site is open to the public, the fort will be a worthy inclusion on the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail, with a nearly ready made 200 year old plus route.If the trail’s expansion to the new Waterworks Park was worth a $5 million plus grant, such an expansion to Fort Hawkins could include cable car rides up the steep hill and a miniature replica of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis to commemorate the 1806 Gateway on the Ocmulgee River.
Phase 4 and Phase 5, which follow the fort property across Maynard Street (4) and across Emery Highway (5), are designated for additional parking and buffers for the historic site.The original Fort Hawkins included a nearly one hundred-acre area, but the site could never reestablish such an area in today’s urban environment.However, Phase 6, covers all of the remaining adjacent fort property as well as the entire East Macon/Fort Hill Historic Districts, thus encompassing more of the original fort area and ancient “Old Fields.”Any positive neighborhood redevelopment to continue the improvements begun at Fort Hawkins would be welcomed and encouraged, and the Fort Hawkins Commission has invited the Muscogee Creek Nation to consider creating a new official twenty fourth Creek community in East Macon/Fort Hill and developing a living history Creek village and Creek Cultural Center in their ancestral “Old Fields.”Such a possibility would forever improve the quality of life in Macon and Middle Georgia and no doubt make Col. Hawkins proud and pleased at our efforts in returning the Creek Nation back to their original home and redirecting those federal funds here.
These six phases of property acquisition will the Fort Hawkins site to open to the public with the needed site improvements and provide a way for the adjacent property to develop in a beneficial way for the Fort Hawkins historic site and the surrounding neighborhood.This plan provides for site protection and complimentary development that will lead to more development in the East Macon/Fort Hill area.This phased approach will not burden the City of Macon with any one time large property acquisition and it is hoped that the city’s financial burden may be lifted by trading out city parcels of land in lieu of purchasing and/or condemning these targeted properties around Fort Hawkins.