Discover Middle Georgia: Sidney Lanier Cottage
Macon, Georgia. (41NBC/WMGT) – In 1842, Sidney Lanier was born at his grandparents house on High Street in Downtown Macon. Now known as the Sidney Lanier Cottage, this home was built in 1840 and marked the birthplace of a future educator, musician, and most notably, a poet.
At the young age of 14, Lanier was accepted into Oglethorpe College in Milledgeville where he graduated towards the top of his class just four years later in 1860. Eventually, Lanier went on to wed Mary Day in December of 1867. They went on to have four sons and a marriage that lasted until Sidney’s death in 1881 at the young age of 39.
At the time of his death, many knew him only as a lecturer in the English department at Johns Hopkins University, but his wife Mary’s tireless efforts to get his poetry published was how Sidney Lanier became a household name across the nation. The most famous pieces of poetry that Lanier wrote were “The Marshes of Glynn” and “Song of the Chattahoochee.” Written while in Maryland, the first of his pieces of poetry was written and published anonymously while Mary made “Song of the Chattahoochee” well known when she published it after his death.
The Sidney Lanier Cottage in Macon is a historical site that serves many purposes. In 1975 the house was reopened and placed on the National Register for Historic Places. One year later in 1976, the house was acknowledged as a Landmark of American Music, while in 2004 the cottage was recognized by the Academy of American Poets as a National Poetry Landmark. Lanier received several other accolades for his work albeit most of them came well after his death.