The Charles L. Bowden Golf Course, located on Millerfield Road in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on February 23, 2015. The nomination was sponsored by the City of Macon and the Macon Golf for Kids program.
This 18-hole public golf course was designed in 1938 by John “Dick” C. Cotton (1907-1994), a Macon professional golfer and businessman. Cotton and other local golfers approached the City of Macon about the need for a public course after the Lakeside Course in Macon closed in the mid-1930s. The mayor of Macon, Charles Bowden, agreed to assist in any way, except financially because the city had no money during the Great Depression to build golf courses. A former, but vacant, airfield in east Macon, known as Miller Field, proved to be the ideal spot to lay out an 18-hole course. With the help of Works Progress Administration (WPA) labor, equipment from various businesses throughout the city, and the sale of subscriptions to fund materials, the course was completed and opened in September 1940.
The golf course is important for its direct association with the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in Georgia. Created in 1935 by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation, the WPA was a program that put the unemployed to work building public facilities. Bowden Golf Course is also important as the first public facility in Macon to racially integrate. The course integrated in 1961, close to a year before the Macon city busses integrated. The golf course is also significant for its layout and design, which has remained relatively unchanged since its completion in 1940. The classic design of the course, in which the natural features are maintained, is typical construction for golf courses of this era. The course is mostly flat with sandy loam soil; it follows the natural terrain of the land, with a rise and fall of land about every five feet. Stone benches and a pump house date from c.1940 and are contributing resources.
The National Register of Historic Places is our country’s official list of historic buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts worthy of preservation. The National Register provides formal recognition of a property’s architectural, historical, or archaeological significance. It also identifies historic properties for planning purposes and insures that these properties will be considered in the planning of state or federally assisted projects. National Register listing encourages preservation of historic properties through public awareness, federal and state tax incentives, and grants.
Listing in the National Register does not place obligations or restrictions on the use, treatment, transfer, or disposition of private property.
The Historic Preservation Division (HPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources serves as Georgia’s state historic preservation office. Its mission is to promote the preservation and use of historic places for a better Georgia. HPD’s programs include archaeology protection and education, environmental review, grants, historic resource surveys, tax incentives, the National Register of Historic Places, community planning and technical assistance.
The mission of the Department of Natural Resources is to sustain, enhance, protect and conserve Georgia’s natural, historic and cultural resources for present and future generations, while recognizing the importance of promoting the development of commerce and industry that utilize sound environmental practices.
Source: Georgia Department of Natural Resources Historic Preservation Division