Macon, Georgia is important to the Highway 80 narrative as the place to which Pearl Robison moved after she graduated from Rockdale high school in Conyers, Georgia, the place of her birth. Once there she worked at number of jobs until becoming the store manager at Dollar Town. After about 15 years in Macon, Pearl began to feel stranded and purposeless there, consequently Pearl just picks up and leaves, driving west on U.S. 80.
Macon lies on the site of the Ocmulgee Old Fields, where the Creek Indians lived in the 18th century. Their predecessors, the Mississippian culture, built a powerful chiefdom (950–1100 AD) based on an agricultural village and constructed earthwork mounds for ceremonial, burial, and religious purposes. The areas along the rivers in the Southeast had been inhabited by indigenous peoples for 13,000 years before Europeans arrived.
Macon developed at the site of Fort Benjamin Hawkins, built in 1809 at the fall line of the Ocmulgee River to protect the community and to establish a trading post with Native Americans. The fort was named in honor of Benjamin Hawkins, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Southeast territory south of the Ohio River for over 20 years. He lived among the Creek and was married to a Creek woman.
The fort served as a major military distribution point during the War of 1812 against Great Britain and also during the Creek War of 1813. Afterward, the fort was used as a trading post for several years and was garrisoned until 1821. It was decommissioned about 1828 and later burned to the ground. A replica of the southeast blockhouse was built in 1938 and still stands today on a hill in east Macon.
As many Europeans had already begun to move into the area, they renamed Fort Hawkins “Newtown.” After the organization of Bibb County in 1822, the city was chartered as the county seat in 1823 and officially named Macon. This was in honor of the North Carolina statesman Nathaniel Macon, because many of the early residents of Georgia hailed from North Carolina.
As of the official 2010 U.S. Census, the population of Macon was 91,351. The racial makeup of the city was 68% African American, 29% White.
In 2012, voters in Macon and Bibb County approved a new consolidated government between the city and county, making the city’s new boundary lines the same as the county’s and deannexing a small portion of the city that once lay in Jones County.