Grand Opera House
In 1884, the Grand opened as the Academy of Music with live performances on stage, but less than 20 years later, it was deemed obsolete and the group of businessmen who owned it made plans to completely remodel the theater. The greatly expanded and modernized theater was reopened in 1905 with an opening performance of Ben Hur, complete with a chariot race and real horses!
The Grand continued to play host to the popular performers of the day, but struggled with the competition of the silver screen. The last hurrah was in 1945, when the world premiere of “God is my Co-Pilot” was hosted. Local resident and WWII hero, Robert L. Scott, was the subject of the movie and Macon residents showed up for the premiere. By 1966, the theater had fallen victim to poor attendance and the competition of suburban movie houses, and faced demolition. The newly formed Macon Arts Council raised the money for repairs and the theater reopened in 1970.
In 1995, Mercer University took over management of the theater and it has played host to hometown performers like Jason Aldean, Travis Tritt and the late Greg Allman, among others. Additional improvements were made in 2017 & 2018, and the Grand Opera House continues to be an exceptional place for all types of performances.