For just 75 cents next week, you can visit the “official home of Gone With the Wind.”
Tourism folks in Georgia like to tell stories of visitors getting off the plane and asking “where’s Tara?” While there’s no one answer to that question, a good place to start is Clayton County. Although Tara existed only in the pages of Margaret Mitchell’s book and as a facade on the back lot of a movie set, visitors can see glimpses of the plantation and Mitchell’s world in this small community just 15 miles from Atlanta. Her great-grandfather owned more than 2,000 acres of farmland in the county, and the family home stood at the corner of Tara Road and Fulsom. It was this humble two-story farmhouse that Mitchell envisioned as Tara, but Hollywood had other plans.
The 75th anniversary of the film version of “Gone With the Wind,” which premiered in December of 1939, is being celebrated across the state all year long. If you’re planning to visit the Road to Tara Museum in Jonesboro, this is the time to do it though. During National Tourism Week, May 5-10, the museum will offer discounted admission of 75 cents per person (admission is usually $7). The Gone With The Wind Tour, which takes visitors to sites around town Monday through Saturday, is also reduced to $7.50 per person — a savings of $17. Advance reservations are required for the tour, offered at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
“This is a great opportunity for those who have visited before and for those who haven’t to see what the museum is featuring and has added over the last year,” says Danielle Conroy with the Clayton County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “This is a big anniversary for the film and we’d love for fans of the movie to come out and celebrate with us.”
The Road to Tara Museum houses a collection of memorabilia dedicated to the film and the novel. The majority of the museum focuses on the characters and actors that brought Margaret Mitchell’s beloved novel to life. Visitors will see reproductions of some of Scarlett’s most famous dresses, an original manuscript and — new for 2014 — four character portraits of Rhett, Scarlett, Ashley and Melanie from the 1939 Atlanta premiere. In December of that year, fans lined the streets of Atlanta hoping to catch a glimpse of Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. The building across the street from the Loews Grand Theater displayed the portraits of Rhett, Scarlett, Melanie and Ashely, which were saved and later rediscovered by collector Herb Bridges.
Another new addition includes a look at the real history of the Civil War’s Atlanta Campaign and Battle of Jonesboro, the backdrop to Gone With the Wind. The tour itself encompasses Jonesboro aboard a mini-bus and highlights the role the city played in the Civil War and its unique ties to Margaret Mitchell’s world-renowned novel.
Want to embark on your own tour? Georgia can help with that too. Click here to see sites on the state’s Gone With the Wind Trail, which debuted last year.
And to book a night at Margaret Mitchell’s Twelve Oaks, the inspiration for Ashley Wilkes’ home, click here.
Photos and information provided by Clayton County Convention & Visitors Bureau.