A community cut in half: The story behind Macon's 'Half-a-House'

Pleasant Hill: A community cut in half

Maybe you've heard of the "Half-a-House" -- it's a home in Macon's Pleasant Hill neighborhood that was halfway torn down by the Georgia Department of Transportation when I-75 was built in the 1960s. As the area prepares for another transformation, Madison Cavalchire shares the history of the house that symbolized change for this community.

"Pleasant Hill was lawyers and doctors and things, school teachers," said Pleasant Hill resident, Leonard Linley.

That's how Linley remembers the Macon neighborhood where he grew up.

"You didn't think about it then, but it was a nice place to be growing up," Linley said.

But in the 1960s came I-75, cutting straight through Pleasant Hill. Homes were moved or demolished, including the house right next door to Linley's on Middle Street Place. Well, half of it.

"They realized they didn't need all of the whole house torn down, so they cut off a triangle on the back," Linley said.

Linley says the Georgia Department of Transportation demolished half of the house to make room for the interstate. What was left behind became known as the "Half-a-House."

The half-a-house came into Linley's family in the '70s when his brother bought it. Linley says he even lived there for a few years back in the day.

Now, the Half-a-House is just a Macon memory. Linley says GDOT came back for the other half it left behind just a few months ago, but he's not bitter about the building or the interstate.

"Macon was supposed to be on the move then, and the interstate was how to move us back and forth, around," Linley said.

While some saw the interstate and the Half-a-House as signs of progress in Pleasant Hill, others say they saw them as metaphors for the downfall of the historic neighborhood.

"Once 75 was cut through, it was like you had been at war, you were defeated, the other side won, so there was really nothing that you could do," said Pleasant Hill resident, Peter Givens.

Givens grew up here, too. Now he's president of the Pleasant Hill Neighborhood Improvement Group.

"Pleasant Hill was more than just something physical, it was also a state of mind," Givens said. "People in other parts of Macon would sometimes look at you and say, 'Oh you're from Pleasant Hill, aren't you?'"

For Givens, the interstate and the Half-a-House marked the destruction of a neighborhood once pleasant, a community that hasn't quite healed from a decades-old wound.

Givens says he's confident the Pleasant Hill Neighborhood Improvement Group can help bring back some of the neighborhood's original charm. He says future projects include building 17 new houses from scratch, new sidewalks, historic lighting, and a park.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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