It’s hard not to connect Atlanta, Georgia with that ultra famous Southern saga, Gone with the Wind, and its Pulitzer prizewinning author, Margaret Mitchell (especially as 2014 is the 75th anniversary of the 1939 movie). If you are a fan of Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler, the Margaret Mitchell House on Peachtree Street and 10th Street will be a must see. But further downtown, there are a few more places you can visit within steps of each other.
Margaret Mitchell Square
Margaret Mitchell Square is a little triangle of granite flower beds with a waterfall and fountain at the intersection of Forsyth and Peachtree Streets and Carnegie Way. It is named in the author’s honour because Loew’s Grand Theater once stood on the east side of the square (where the super-tall Georgia Pacific building now stands). This venue was where the movie version of Gone With The Wind had its Atlanta premiere in 1939 and culminated a three day event highlighting the events of the Civil War and its aftermath.
The Margaret Mitchell Collection at the Atlanta Central Library
The Atlanta Central Library sits on the west side of Margaret Mitchell Square. On the fifth floor in the Special Collections department, you will see exhibits from the Margaret Mitchell Collection, which were items Mitchell’s husband bequeathed to the library after her death. (She was a long-time member of the Atlanta Public Library, and I thought it was apt that one of the objects on display was her library card.) Featured prominently is the typewriter on which she typed Gone with the Wind, along with facsimiles of her manuscripts with corrections in her own hand and books she used as reference for the novel.
A couple of blocks away on Andrew Young International Boulevard is a restaurant dedicated to Southern dining called Pittypat’s Porch. It’s named after Scarlett O’Hara’s Aunt Pittypat, who was portrayed in the book and the movie as a gracious hostess who entertained on her porch. Filled with Gone with the Wind memorabilia, the restaurant is a great place to taste southern comfort food like fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and black-bottom pie. No wonder it’s been going strong for 47 years.