The Big House (Allman Brothers Museum)
The house that Southern rock built now stands as a monument to one of the genre's favorite families.
Known for their hits such as Ramblin’ Man and Midnight Rider, the tumultuous Allman Brothers Band has seen an almost endlessly series of internal conflicts, roster changes, and side projects over the course of their 40 year history and ups and downs are all remembered in the band’s personal museum, The Big House.
Originally rented in 1970 by the wife of band member Berry Oakley, the multi-story Macon, Georgia estate quickly became the creative and social hub of the Allman brothers’ musical family. After the bassist and his wife moved into the house they were soon followed by two more couples including Gregg Allman and his girlfriend. The sprawling house was then turned into a band’s paradise with a jam room, a plush casual lounge room, and an atmosphere of musical collaboration. In practice the home soon became the main residence of the band members children and wives who would live together in peaceful harmony while the band was on tour and then get back to partying during the short time the musicians would return.
As is often the case with rock stars, substance abuse and internal strife ended up fragmenting the band and sending the members into solo careers and the grave. The city of Macon was none too appreciative of the disruptive rockers’ presence either and after returning from vacation one year, the home’s few remaining residents found that they had been evicted.
Despite all of the infighting and the loss of the house, the home has been repurchased and turned into a permanent museum to the Southern rock masters (who subsequently reformed over the following decades). Each room has been devoted to a portion of the band’s history including an entire room based on their seminal At Fillmore East album, and a whole room dedicated to their roadies. Rock might have torn the band apart, but the Big House holds their history together.
Know Before You Go
If you found yourself walking along College Street with me on our way to Washington Park, take notice of a drawing of a magic mushroom in the sidewalk. The magic mushroom became the unofficial logo of the Allman Brothers Band, and this drawing can be found in front of 309 College Street, where the band first lived when they arrived in Macon in 1969.
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