Gone with the Wind : a Visit to Jonesboro
Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949) was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Even as a young girl she eagerly wrote down all the stories she heard about the Secession War.
In 1919 she started to work at the Atlanta Journal. Under the name Peggy Mitchell she wrote a weekly column for the newspaper's Sunday edition, which made her one of the first female columnists at the South's largest newspaper !
After an unhappy first marriage, on July 4, 1925, she married John Marsh.
Gone with the Wind : the Book
In 1926 she broke her ankle, and since the healing was complicated by arthritis, she became bedridden. Her husband advised her to write a book, to keep her mind occupied.
It took her ten years, but between 1926 and 1936 she wrote Gone with the Wind, a thick book of more than 1,000 pages !
She was a distant cousin to the famous gunfighter and dentist, Doc Holliday, who participated in the Gunfight at the OK Corral. It is thought that she modeled the character of Ashley Wilkes after Holliday.
In 1937 she received the Pulitzer Prize for this book, and at the time it became the second best selling book, after the Bible, with more than thirty million copies !
Margaret Mitchell remained very simple despite her overwhelming success, and in 1949 she was killed in a stupid Atlanta traffic accident.
The Making of the Movie
Mitchell sold the film rights to Hollywood's legendary producer David O. Selznick . In 1939, Selznick finished his magnificent film, with super star Clark Gable and a previously little-known British actress, Vivian Leigh .
On 15 December 1939, the film was premiered at Loew's Grand Theater in Atlanta, for a select audience of dignitaries, movie stars and celebrities.
The film was later translated in thirty-two languages !
The Margaret Mitchell House, located in Midtown Atlanta, is where she lived while writing her manuscript.
In Marietta, a few miles north of Atlanta, lies "Scarlett On the Square", a museum dedicated to "Gone with the Wind". It houses film costumes, screenplays, and many artifacts.
The "Road to Tara Museum", is located in Jonesboro, just south of Atlanta.
Jonesboro : Road to Tara Museum
Tara, the fictional O'Hara plantation, was supposedly located in Jonesborough, Georgia, now spelled as Jonesboro.
The town has a rather peculiar aspect, which is not unsurprising, since the railroad runs right through it !
A picturesque and restored railroad depot houses the local Welcome Center, but also the "Road to Tara Museum".
They present an interesting exhibition and proclaim to have the largest collection of memorabilia over the book and the equally famous film.
Stately Oaks Plantation
Just a half mile from the museum lies the Stately Oaks Plantation, where costumed actors document life in the south, anno 1860.
The occupant of this plantation, Rebecca McCord, supposedly was the model for Scarlett O'Hara, as described in the book.
However, we learned that the present house was actually built somewhere else, and was transported to this location, after the original Plantation was destroyed by fire...
Trailer : Gone With The Wind
Georgia : Points of Interest
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