Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Historical Home Wednesday ~ Nine

Y'all, I'm posting Historical Home Wednesday by the skin of my teeth. Today it my intention to post early this morning. However, the electrical company decided to work on the power lines this afternoon and shut the power off to our entire neighborhood. Yes, in the middle of August in Houston! That means no A/C for nearly 5 hours. I was frustrated to say the least but it gave me a good excuse to do a little shopping (wink). It's nearly 10 pm and the house is just starting to become comfortable once again. How they lived without A/C years ago.....I do not know. One thing I'm positive is that God will only give us what we can handle. He knew I was not cut out for an era without power to dry and curl my hair and A/C to bask under. That's for sure.

Now that I'm done fuss'n I will get to my Historical Home Wednesday. I have chosen this house not because it's the most beautiful, not because it's surrounded by War Heroes or past Presidents, but because of the unique author who once resided here. There's another point of why this post is dear to my heart in which I'll reveal further down in my post. Today's Historical Home is on the Margaret Mitchell House.

Who is Margaret Mitchell? Well, have y'all ever heard of a little flick called, Gone with the Wind? Ms. Mitchell wrote it. I believe it's one of the most famous movies ever written. Margaret Mitchell was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She grew up around her family who had fought in the Civil War. Can you imagine the incredible stories she must have heard right from the sources mouth? I would love to be able to sit and listen to some of my ancestors recall the accounts of what they had seen during their time on this earth. The history!!! Speaking of history, she was related (cousin) to the infamous gunfighter Doc Holiday, who participated in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Margaret Mitchell never graduated from college. She had to withdraw during her freshman year to take care of the household after her mother's death (died of the flu). Remember, mosquitoes carried a lot of viruses and we did not have the type of vaccines we have available today. Ms. Mitchell supported herself by taking a job at the Atlanta Journal. She often wrote a weekly column for the Sunday's edition under the name of Peggy Mitchell. She was the first female columnist in the South's largest newspaper. Her very first professional assignment was to interview an Atlanta socialite.

Mitchell began writing Gone with the Wind after becoming bedridden with a broken ankle. The Margaret Mitchell house is where she was residing when she wrote her famous manuscript. Today tourist can visit the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum in Midtown Atlanta. A Gone with the Wind museum is located a few miles north of Atlanta, in Marietta, Georgia. It's referred to as "Scarlett On the Square."

Mitchell, a modest Atlanta newspaperwoman, gave her manuscript to editor Harold Latham, who was visiting Atlanta in 1935. He was scouting the South for promising writers. "Peggy" had a friend, Lois Cole, who worked for Latham and requested that she allow him to read her story. Mitchell gave her manuscript to her friend but changed her mind and asked for it back. But it was too late and Latham had already read and fell in love with it. He saw instant blockbuster and encouraged her to complete the story by sending an advance (check). Gone with the Wind was completed in March 1936.

The Margaret Mitchell house was actually an apartment building she and her husband, John Marsh, lived in during the time she wrote Gone with the Wind. She moved into unit No. 1 in 1925, when it was called Crescent Apartments. Her apartment is the only space that is restored to the original architectural features. The house remained an apartment building until 1978 and then became abandoned. In 1985, a group of preservationists restored the house and formed the Margaret Mitchell House.

However, in 1994, the house caught fire and was severely damaged. The Daimler-Benz, the German industrial group, purchased the property and restored the house back to the beautiful landmark we see today. THANK YOU DAIMLER-BENZ!!! I wish I could say that was the end to a wonderful gesture but the house caught fire again, forty days prior to its scheduled completion. The house, again, was restored and was opened to the public on May 17, 1997. It's become a famous tourist attraction for the city of Atlanta.

As much as most of us would like to romantically believe there's a real Tara, that would be false. Gone with the Wind was actually filmed in California at the Culvar Studios, in Los Angeles. Sorry to burst anyones bubble. The deep Southern plantation does not exist. It's a set built by DW Griffith's Tom Ince in 1916. And so it looks like a plantation home you've probably seen it in these movies without realizing it was Tara; the filming of King Kong (1931), filming of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball show (1957), and Spielberg's E.T.. When Scarlett O'Hara vows never to go hungry again, she's actually looking over a field in Calabasas, California.

Remember how I told you that I would share why this post is little close to my heart? Well, Clark Gable is a relative of mine. Yep! My grandfather is his first cousin. And my grandfather knew Clark and use to see him at family gatherings when they first moved to California. Not only did grandfather know Clark but they resembled each other. My grandpa is in his eighties but still looks dashing in his mustache, broad shoulders, and same slick back hair. It's now all grey but he still is very handsome.


GamecockQueen said...

Oh WOW! You should find a pic of your grandpa when he was young to post.

GWTW is my FAVORITE movie. And my middle name is Tara, just like the plantation.

Don't be green w/ envy, but I used to spend several weeks a year in ATL and have walked past the Margaret Mitchell house many times. I need to do the tour sometime, I've never had time when I've been in ATL before.

Hope you have a great weekend!! And enjoy your AC being back. It was out in my work building about two weeks ago and I agree, HOW did people live with no AC? I think global warming MUST be to blame.

kay said...

I love, No adore Gone With the Wind! The book and the movie! It is the movie I always put on when I am on complete over load and need to just stay put and watch a good movie. The house has such a history! Oh and yes when the day came and my mother told me that No there is no such"Tara" it was filmed in CA I think I did cry!!haha I have called the house I grew up in Tara, and let me tell you, when they told me that they were moving and building a home in the south, well lets just say I became a little obsessed haha. They do have coloms in the front of their home but live on a golf course no plantaion for me!
Hope your home is nice and cool, I agree how did they do with no AC years ago?

Miss Janice said...

I never get tired of hearing GWTW history. I'm ashamed that during the many times I've visited Atlanta, I never toured the home or museum.

By the way, I got my secretary desk at Ethan Allen about 3 years ago. I love it!

GrannySmithGreen said...

What a fun post! The family connection makes it all the more interesting.

Can you believe that house caught on fire, AGAIN?

Quite interesting story. Thanks for sharing and visiting my blog too!