In the 1960’s the Grand Opera House had long been in disrepair and was slated for demolition. In 1967 a group of citizens got together and formed the Macon Arts Council to raise money to restore and operate the Grand. Our firm was selected to renovate this building in 1968, and since then we have been asked to complete seven major and several smaller Grand Opera projects.
When the Grand was built in 1883-84, its 58′ x 90′ stage was the largest in the southeast. Over the years, the Grand presented minstrels, vaudeville, burlesque, musical comedy, and drama. In 1908, a production of Ben Hur was presented with live horses and chariots on a treadmill installed on the stage. Other famous performers at the Grand included: Madame Sarah Bernhardt, Houdini, Anna Pavlova, Will Rogers, George Burns & Gracie Allen, the Gish sisters, Robert Downing, Lillian Russell in “The First Night,” James O’Neill in “The Count of Monte Cristo,” Maude Adams in “The Legend of Lenora,” and Marilyn Miller in “The Zeigfield Follies”.
The Grand is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.