The Bell House is an important historic landmark located at 315 College Street. Its storied history began with Nathan Beall, who built the home in the Victorian style in 1855. In 1900, under the ownership of retired Confederate Capt. Samuel S. Dunlap, 18 massive Corinthian-style columns were added. The house was individually listed on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places in 1972. The house was operated for about 20 years as Beall’s 1860 restaurant until it closed in the 1990s. In 2001, Mercer Trustee Gus Bell purchased the home and meticulously renovated the interior of the house to serve as business offices. The Bell family donated the house to the University in April 2008 in memory of Bell’s wife, Amanda Hancock Morris Bell. In November 2012, the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation announced a $1.5 million grant to the University to fund renovation efforts to create the new home of the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings. The newly renovated space is perfectly suited to accommodate the Center’s enrollment limit of 26 students, with dedicated practice rooms and teaching spaces on the second floor, and a 60-seat performance hall on the first floor.
Center Founder Robert McDuffie calls the Bell House “a magical and historical venue. It will be an inspirational home for the talented students of the Center as they continue their journey to becoming complete artists. The combination of classical music and the beauty of the Bell House will be a wonderful addition to Macon’s historic district.”