The Case For The Douglass

Did you know?

Nestled in downtown Macon rests a theatre that holds a rich yet important history.  The likes of James Brown, Little Richard and Otis Redding have all held showcases here.  The Douglass Theatre, however, may be holding a mysterious host of encounters.  Before we share that, we must first share the history.

The Douglass Theatre was the dream of a man named Charles Henry Douglass who established it in 1921.  He was an entrepreneur of his time and was familiar with the entertainment business.  One can only wonder what Macon and Middle Georgia would be without his contributions.  Music lovers may forever be in debt to him.

The Douglass” was the home of many performances by popular acts that we’ve already mentioned.  A “house of blues and jazz” mixed with showings of featured films among other things.  According to Wikipedia, the theatre was a part of the “Theatre Owners Booker’s Association” which was an agency for many African American artists.  One could argue that without it, we may not have the amazing work of people like Otis Redding, for example. 

The building would stay open for business until the 1970s.  There, it lay dormant for another two decades.  The music stopped.  The sounds were gone.  Nothing but empty halls and an eerie stage.  Like many other buildings we’ve discussed, this one was thankfully saved from demolition in the 1990s.

A community group would help lead the charge to save the building, then it got its renovation.  State of the art theatrical equipment was installed.  Also, central heating and air became its guests best friend as it was added at the same time of the renovation.  (Could you imagine a concert in the middle of June with no central heating and air?) Thankfully, it still holds public and even private events to this day and remains restored and beautiful.

Could there be more to what meets the eye with this amazing building?  Perhaps.  Author Mary Lee Irby wrote a story in her book, “Ghosts of Macon,” that outlines strange happenings in The Douglass Theatre.  Everything from lights dimming on and off by themselves down to projector equipment doing its own thing.  Doors opening and closing by themselves are also documented.  Of course, there’s never any way to tell what truly has happened there, but to learn more check out Mary Lee Irby’s book.  You may learn a few things about Macon that you never knew!

Charles Henrry Douglass, courtesy of


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