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'The Big House' ABB Museum


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"The Big House" in Macon, Georgia, where members of the Allman Brothers lived and wrote many of their songs in the early-70's, has been turned into the Allman Brothers museum after five years of fundraising and two years of renovations. The soft opening was held this past weekend with a grand opening set for early next year.

The museum was the idea of Kirk West, the band's road manager, who had lived in the house with his wife Kirsten until 2003. At that time, they looked into selling the building but a possible buyer suggested that it would be the perfect place for a museum honoring the group.

In the early 70's, the home was occupied by bassist Barry Oakley and his wife Linda along with Duane Allman and his family. The rest of the band regularly hung out there where they wrote and played music.

In an article on macon.com, the museum co-curator E.J. Devokaitis pointed to a living room window and said “That’s where Dickey Betts wrote Blue Sky. The line in the song, ‘Good old Sunday morning, bells are ringing everywhere,’ that was from that church across the street. It’s still there.â€

Included in the museum hundreds of pieces of memorabilia, including posters, gold records, awards, photos and instruments from the various members. Linda Oakley is redecorating Duane's bedroom to return it to its original look. There is also an area for memorabilia from Govt. Mule who also has roots in the house.

The museum is at 2321 Vineville Avenue in Macon and will be open weekends until the grand opening when it will take on a more regular schedule.


When Kirk and Kirsten West decided to move out of their Vineville Avenue home in 2003, the notion of turning it into a museum certainly wasn’t on their radar.

Sure, thousands of visitors from places as far away as Germany, Italy, Japan and Australia had knocked on their door during the decade they had lived there, trying to get a glimpse of what was known as The Big House, where members of the Allman Brothers Band lived in the early 1970s.

It was only after Kirk West — the band’s road manager — was meeting with an interested buyer for the property one night when the man suggested that West start a nonprofit foundation and turn The Big House into a museum.

This weekend, that seed of an idea finally becomes a reality, four decades after the band’s founding.

After five years of fundraising and two years of renovations, the museum is scheduled to open its doors on a limited basis for the rest of the year before a formal grand opening in early 2010.

“At times, I’ve tried to be practical about it, but seeing it come to fruition ...†said Kirsten West, her voice trailing off as she broke into a wide grin. “It’s a tribute to the band, but equally it’s a tribute to the fans who believed that we could do it.â€

Kirsten West, the foundation’s managing director, said that to date, The Big House Foundation has taken in about $2.5 million in donations from all over the United States.

Full article >>> http://www.macon.com/local/story/935047.html

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I visited Kirk and Kirsten with friends at the big house some 15 years ago and we ended up staying a week.

Lotsa tales from that visit that wont be shared online ;) What I should share is that not just the house- but the town of Macon is an important landmark for the Allmans history. Amongst other things, the intersection where Duane was killed on his motorcycle is just blocks away from the mansion.

If and when you visit them- bring a mushroom themed gift for your hosts and be on their good sides forever!

Check out the Big House Facebook page

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We visited the Big House on our way home from Big Cypress in 2000. It was a lot of fun and we had a really nice tour from Kirsten. It is a place where a lot of Allman Brothers magic took place. We also visitet the grave sites of Duane, Barry Oakley and Elizabeth Reed. Anyone who calls themselves of hardcore Allman's fan this will not disappoint.

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