In 1970, the members of The Allman Brothers Band moved into “The Big House” and lived there during their formative years. Today, as the Big House Museum, it showcases instruments, clothing, and a massive collection of band memorabilia. It’s a must-visit destination for fans of The Allman Brothers Band—and of music in general.
In 1970, the newly formed Allman Brothers Band moved to the quiet town of Macon, Georgia, into what would come to be known as “The Big House.” Bassist Berry Oakley, and his wife, Linda (who was utterly enchanted by the massive Tudor home with its gardens, stained-glass windows, and high ceilings), originally rented the home, and Duane Allman (along with his girlfriend, Donna, and their daughter, Galadrielle), Berry’s sister Candy Oakley, and Gregg Allman (who was dating Candy) soon moved into the home as well.
Each couple had their own bedroom, and there was enough space for a communal music room, which Linda decorated. The third floor had been closed off to the residents, until several roadies found their way in and discovered that it was filled with antique treasures left behind by the original owner.
Managers, roadies, friends, and family all rotated in and out of the house, which served as a gathering place for the band and their friends and family. No matter who lived there, it served as an inspiration for some of their greatest hits: there’s the airy kitchen where Dickey Betts wrote “Ramblin’ Man” and the cozy living room where he wrote “Blue Sky.”
It all came to an end after Duane Allman died in a tragic motorcycle accident on October 29, 1971. The band left The Big House to heal over the holidays, and came back to find an eviction notice taped to the door. The publicity surrounding Duane’s death was ultimately what led to the eviction. Things were never quite the same, and as the band broke up and Capricorn Records went under, the special memories made at the house began to fade.
The pull of nostalgia, though, brought the band back together in 1989, and led to The Big House being preserved as a museum dedicated to the early, halcyon days of The Allman Brothers Band. The rooms—many of which haven’t changed since the band occupied them—are filled with original posters, handwritten lyrics, instruments, articles of clothing, and more. You can almost hear the band putting on a jam session in the Fillmore East Room and unwinding with a game of pool in the Old Dining Room.
Many citizens of Macon, a traditional and small Southern town, were distrustful of the long-haired hippie members of The Allman Brothers Band. Luckily for the group, Mama Louise Hudson, co-owner of H&H Soul Food, took a liking to them. When band members’ money ran low, she ran a tab for them, keeping them well fed until they could pay her back (which they did as soon as they could).
You still can visit this no-frills joint and enjoy its out-of-this-world fried chicken, mac and cheese, thick-cut pork chops, deviled eggs, meatloaf, squash casserole, and tons more as you soak in the atmosphere and The Allman Brothers Band memorabilia displayed throughout.
If you’re looking for more sites related to the Allman brothers, head to historic Rose Hill Cemetery, where the band found inspiration for several of their songs including “Little Martha” and “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”. Also, the grave sites of both Duane Allman and Berry Oakley are here, side by side. The cemetery itself is massive and it’s a peaceful place to take a reflective stroll.
It takes visionary people in the right environment to create a sound as distinctive as that of The Allman Brothers Band. At The Big House Museum—and at various spots across Macon—you truly can see the band’s influence and feel the soul that inspired them.
Visit Macon, Georgia for a Southern adventure that is good for your soul! Rich history, incredible architecture, Southern charm, and a soulful musical heritage make Macon "Where Soul Lives". It's not just a place on a map, it's a vibe all its own. http://365publicationsonline.com/Macon_VG2016