I will come back to finishing Utah’s posts soon, but let me tell you a little bit more about our current travels…
After a few days in the Smoky Mountains, we made the drive to Cartersville, GA – about 45 minutes North of Atlanta. We made this stop to visit some friends: Ginger, Bridget and Chloe. It is always such a treat to see familiar faces when traveling, and their hospitality and warm welcome was like the bright sunshine streaming on us as we continued to deal with rainy conditions.
During our Georgia stay, we took a day trip in to Atlanta. We chose to visit the Atlanta History Center due its well-rounded coverage of many aspects of Atlanta’s history, and its location in the stunning community of Buckhead. The center features exhibits ranging from the Atlanta Olympics to the Civil War. The grounds also included three different periods of housing in the Atlanta area.
One of the differences with these southern farms, was that the kitchen was a separate building. Farther north, people may have had what we call a “summer kitchen” which was detached or a small part of the main house; but there was no kitchen in the southern Smith farm house, only a completely separate building.
Another difference is the slave quarters… The Center’s grounds also feature The Swan House, a mansion showing all the style the 1930s had to offer. While the pioneer home and buildings for the Smith farm were moved to the Center’s location; the Swan House is at its original location in Buckhead, which continues to feature the mansions of the wealthy Atlantans.
All-in-all a great museum that puts together the different historical periods of Atlanta, while showcasing the Atlanta flare for the opulent.
After the history center, we headed farther downtown to the Margaret Mitchell house. Margaret Mitchell being the woman behind Gone With The Wind. Now, if you have any affinity for that epic southern story, then you must visit the Margaret Mitchell house. I watched the movie literally dozens of times growing up, and therefore had a true interest in experiencing Mitchell’s home firsthand. If you have never seen or read Gone With The Wind (ahem, Chris!), a visit to the house will immediately stimulate you with Mitchell’s brilliance as an author and overwhelm you with a record of the story’s success. Glimpsing at her personal life, Mitchell will charm you with her direct, almost blunt manner, her scandalous escapades and her nonchalant approach to her success.
A Brief Synopsis of Margaret Mitchell’s Life as learned from the Margaret Mitchell House
Born in Atlanta in the year 1900, Margaret spent her childhood listening to stories of the bygone Old South. She spent considerable amounts of time with Confederate veterans, and her lawyer father was fanatically interested in Atlanta’s role in the Civil War. She learned about antebellum society, the battles of Georgia and the impact of Reconstruction from personal accounts of those who lived through those rocky times. She wrote plays and stories as a child and enjoyed spending time out of doors in a tomboy-like manner.
As she matured in to adulthood, the force of society could not control Margaret. She did not finish college at Smith College, as her mother died of the flu and Margaret made the decision to return to Atlanta. Although from a wealthy home, she flaunted her independent social manner within the Atlanta community as an adamant flapper. She frequented speakeasies and was rejected by the local Junior League, much to her own satisfaction.
After stringing along several men, she married “Red” Upshaw, a bootlegger. This stormy marriage disintegrated within a few months, and she divorced Red (1924) to marry the much more stable John Marsh. She also began to work for the Atlanta Journal.
Margaret and John moved in to the apartment that is now the Margaret Mitchell House. While living there, Margaret was in an automobile accident that landed her in her apartment convalescing with a broken ankle and injured back. To ease her stationary boredom, John brought her home books from the library. She read her way through the entire library when John finally said something to the effect of: you have read all the library books, now it is time to write your own. Thus, Gone With The Wind was born. Margaret had no intention of publishing her novel, and in fact, she would not speak about it to anyone. When one of her friends brought a New York publisher in to see her work, Margaret continued to deny any interested readers until another friend made the mistake of saying that Margaret was not serious enough to write a novel. That challenge was enough to cave the independent spirit of Margaret, and Gone With The Wind became an instant hit.
Margaret did not particularly enjoy the spotlight. She and John continued to live in apartments, despite her financial success. Margaret focused on philanthropic work. She wrote no other novels. Margaret felt that once she had convalesced, she was much happier being out and about than sitting to write.
In 1949, Margaret Mitchell was struck by a car and killed.
Hope you enjoyed learning about Margaret Mitchell, and maybe the photo of Scarlett will mesmerize you enough to see the movie again. We watched the movie the other night (thank you, Ginger), so now Chris understands how it became an epic story. For me, to see it again all these years later, it is just as impressive as the first time I saw it. As we say goodbye to Margaret and Scarlett, we are looking forward to the other gems Georgia has in store for us. As Scarlett would say, “After all, tomorrow is another day.”