When Margaret Mitchell penned Gone with the Wind in 1936, she didn’t realize she created what would become the South’s most legendary power couple, Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler. This antebellum story became the 1939 blockbuster film that continues to spark controversy and conversations while remaining highly popular with an enthusiastic fan base known as Windies.
Since its Atlanta debut nearly 80 years ago, Gone with the Wind fans continue to make the pilgrimage to the greater Atlanta area. They search for sites associated with Scarlett (Vivien Leigh) and Rhett (Clark Gable), places now found along Georgia’s Gone with the Wind Trail.
Marching through Georgia
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park and Marietta are the first stops along the trail. It was the first stop for Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman 155 years ago when he began the Atlanta Campaign. Stop at the visitors’ center for an orientation, then explore nearly 20 miles of trails, historical sites, and monuments.
About 7 miles south of the park is the city of Marietta, Ga. Located a block off Marietta’s town square, Kennesaw House was built as a cotton warehouse in 1845, but today serves as the Marietta Museum of History. Three galleries display a diverse collection of rarities ranging from a Cherokee language Bible dating to 1860 to a 1940s kitchen vignette.
The Marietta Gone with the Wind Museum has moved into historical Brumby Hall on Powder Springs Street. Originally the home of Col. Arnoldus Brumby, superintendent of the Georgia Military Institute grounds, Brumbry Hall is the institute’s only building to escape destruction during the war.
Windies flock to the museum to view its eclectic mix of movie memorabilia, including scripts, film props, and promotional lobby posters. Counted among the museum’s most popular items is the bengaline honeymoon gown, the only original costume worn by Leigh in her role as Scarlett that remains on permanent display in the U.S.
Before leaving Marietta, explore the town square and its boutiques, eateries, and curio shops. Many feature Gone with the Wind themes and souvenirs.