This is an extract of the article, with small photos. You will find the complete article with full-sized photos in my e-book View America: South Atlantic - Part 2
In the travel series View America, South Atlantic - Part 2 covers Georgia, Virginia, and West Virginia. It is not a traditional travelogue, but a non-commercial and more or less objective chronicle of an in-depth exploration of these states. Each state is described with its own brief historical background and its main sights, tourist attractions and points of interest.
My book does not describe lodgings, restaurants or entertainment, except where these may interact with the narrative. It is illustrated with more than 100 full-sized photos.
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. 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! 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 thirty million copies!
Margaret Mitchell remained very simple despite her overwhelming success, and in 1949 she was killed in a freak Atlanta traffic accident.
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 wrote 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.
Tara, the fictional O'Hara plantation, was supposedly located in Jonesborough, Georgia, now spelled as Jonesboro. The town has a rather peculiar aspect, 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 claim to have the largest collection of memorabilia over the book and the equally famous film.
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...