Atlanta’s historic home tours: Margaret Mitchell House
Visitors check out the bed of Margaret Mitchell in her apartment. Three-quarters beds like this were popular in small apartments of that day. Atlanta History Center photo.
Our journey to the area’s historical homes has so far taken AJCer Howard Pousner and me to Bulloch Hall in Roswell and the Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta.
For the next stop, Howard checked in on the Margaret Mitchell House on Peachtree Street in Atlanta.
Margaret Mitchell House
History: “The Dump,” as Mitchell referred to this tiny, sweet apartment, is where the author composed most of “Gone With the Wind” from 1926 to 1929.
- After the Atlanta History Center made some changes to the Mitchell House tour this summer, guests now enter the building through the rear Crescent Avenue entrance, just as Mitchell did when she lived in Apartment No. 1.
Margaret Mitchell House
- The sunny corner where the would-be author, recovering from a foot injury, typed away on a used 1923 Remington portable typewriter commands attention as soon as you enter. It’s impressive how something as epic as “GWTW” could emerge from a spot so humble.
- The cozy bedroom in the middle of the “shotgun” apartment features a three-quarters bed that likely fit the 4-foot-11 author better than it did her 6-foot-1 husband, John Marsh. On the bed is a framed photo of solider Marsh on a ship back from France following World War I. Next to it is one of Mitchell, peering adoringly at someone unseen. You find out that she had been looking at first husband Red Upshaw (the main inspiration for Rhett Butler), and that Marsh took scissors to the photo, his favorite of his wife, and cut out her ex.
- “Margaret Mitchell: A Passion for Character,” a new exhibit, follows the guided tour, giving insight into the writer before and after international fame. It includes an example of one of the small “books” she wrote as a child, which she handmade by folding lined paper and binding them with decorative cardboard covers. Across the courtyard from the gift shop filled with all things “GWTW,” an enhanced second exhibit “The Making of a Movie Legend,” includes the life-size portrait of Scarlett O’Hara that hung in Rhett’s mansion bedroom in the film as well as Tara’s doorway from the set.
Tour: The apartment is a quick guided one, over in less than a half-hour; the exhibits are self-guided and could command as much as a couple of hours.
Holiday offerings: No decorations or special programming here, but Mitchell House presents readings by Terry Kay (Dec. and Sandra Jones Cropsey (Dec. 15) during Candlelight Nights at Atlanta History Center.
The Atlanta History Center has just launched a dual ticket deal, giving people interested in visiting the History Center and the Margaret Mitchell House entry to both for 25 percent off. Prices for the dual ticket, valid for nine days from date of purchase: $20; $16 seniors; $11 ages 4-12; free under 4. Dual tickets can be purchased at either site.
Information: 990 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-249-7015, www.gwtw.org.