Macon and High Falls State Park

March 28, 2010

On the return drive from Fort Valley, Georgia, I stopped off for a few photos. The Cherry Blossom Festival had just wrapped up in Macon, GA but the blooms were still prominently on display.

The first place that caught my eye as I turned off the Interstate into Macon was Rose Hill Cemetery, founded in 1840. There are over a thousand confederate soldier graves located in the cemetery; there are also graves for three GA governors, 31 mayors, and several senators/congressmen. Several notable entertainers are buried in the cemetery as well.

I was looking for cherry trees in bloom, but the contrast between that which was alive and blooming to that which reminds us of death made an impression on me.

A very prominent architectural structure drew me further into town. Below is St. Joseph Catholic Church, built in the 1880's.

Beside this church was another of architectural beauty, First Baptist Church of Christ, built in 1887.

Macon is home to many faith groups. Below is Temple Beth Israel, built in 1902. I will revisit Macon, perhaps this week, as I discovered a beautiful histoic district just a couple blocks off Interstate 75.

The next and last stop while heading north was High Falls State Park. In the early 1800s, High Falls was a prosperous industrial town with several stores, a grist mill, cotton gin, blacksmith shop, shoe factory and hotel. High Falls became a ghost town in the 1880s when a major railroad bypassed it. Today, park visitors can enjoy the scenic waterfall on the Towaliga River and hike to the remaining grist mill foundation. A campground, picnic areas and canoe rental are also available. This pretty park in middle Georgia is conveniently located near I-75 and makes a restful side trip for travelers.

The first thing that captures your attention as you enter the park is the dam located near the top of the falls. In approximately 1890 the Towaliga Falls Power Company built a dam and power plant at High Falls to generate power for the cotton mills in Griffin.

Just a short walk down the trail provides many beautiful views of Towaliga or High Falls.

Below is a view of the river from the bridge located between the dam and falls.

I just liked this photo. Maybe it's just a little reminder of Driftwood Beach at Jekyll Island.

Next are the foundation stones of the old gristmill that once stood in this location. The turbulent waters of Towaliga Falls provided the energy that enabled local farmers to grind their wheat and corn into flour and meal to send as far away as Savannah by horse and wagon. The mill was poweed by a large water wheel submerged in the river at the rear of the wooden building. During the Civil War, troops from Wheeler's Confederate Cavalry burned the grist mill to prevent the Union Army from looting the flour and supplies stored there.

Then I headed home for another day and another photographic adventure around the corner.