This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Touring Margaret Mitchell House & Rhodes Hall Castle

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

A few years ago, we had the great pleasure of visiting the Margaret Mitchell House. Margaret is the famous author who wrote Gone With the Wind.

Margaret Mitchell House

Even though the house is a three-story home built in 1899, Margaret and her husband only lived in a small apartment downstairs and it was here where she wrote Gone With the Wind. The house was divided into a total of 10 apartments in 1919. Margaret and her husband, John Marsh moved into the tiny apartment in 1925 when the place was known as Crescent Apartments. The space was very small and they have Margaret's black typewriter on display with pieces of her original work, as well as letters she had written to family and friends. 

Margaret was born in 1900 and in 1918 she lost her fiance in WWI, as well as her mother to a flu epidemic not long after. A couple of years later, Margaret shocked Atlanta Society by performing a provocative dance at a debutante ball and had a whirlwind romance with Berrien "Red" Upshaw, a bootlegger. The marriage didn't last long with financial problems forcing her to write for the Atlanta Journal Sunday Magazine. They divorced in 1924 and she married John Marsh within the year. He was a former suitor and an editor at the paper.

Margaret began writing Gone With the Wind and it took her 10 years to complete. It was finally published in 1936, and made into a movie starring Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh in 1939. It was only 10 years later in 1949 when Margaret was struck by a car while crossing the street and killed.

Most people would agree that Gone With the Wind is probably the greatest novel with the most copies ever sold and is still selling today. The same goes for the movie. It has become a classic. I was almost heartbroken when I was 12 and discovered that Margaret Mitchell wrote no other books.

Can you imagine spending that much time on one book? My first book took me several years, but when I decided to get serious about it, the project really took me 2 years. Then I began finishing at least one book per year, and now that I have deadlines, I'm trying to complete a book every 6 months.Some of my unpublished manuscripts will probably be rewritten--again at some point.

I discovered some things when I went to Atlanta and visited the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum. She wrote the ending first. None of her chapters were written in order. How does one write like this? I've never written a book out of sequence order, yet I hear that other authors do this all the time.

(The portrait of Scarlett O'Hara was used in the Gone With the Wind Movie.)

People criticized Gone With the Wind. They complained it was too long. The editors didn't like the name of her heroine, so Katie Scarlett O'Hara was a revised name. Margaret Mitchell didn't turn in one complete and tidy manuscript to her editor. She dumped it on him with various chapters in different manila envelopes in no particular order. He had to buy another suitcase so he could get the manuscript home.

She was a closet writer--she didn't want people to know she was writing a book. I've lost count of the number of times an editor has requested my work and my husband got excited and told everyone. Then the rejection would come and I'd be so embarrassed. Now I don't care if they understand or not. I know it's a blessing just to have the request, especially after they've already reviewed my partial. Something in my writing had to be good enough to pique their interest.

Rhodes Hall Castle

Rhodes Hall Castle was built by the man that started Rhodes furniture. He loved the European castles and wanted his home to have that kind of look. During Margret Mitchell's time, the house became the holding for the city's archives and records, so Margaret spent some time at this house researching history for her novel. It's down the street from her house, so we took a short walk and toured this beautiful home, as well.

Our guide took us to the top of the tower where we were able to go out and look over the city of Atlanta. It was beautiful, but windy. I could imagine writing a number of novels from the tower. I'm sure Margaret Mitchell enjoyed doing her research here. The house contains a carved mahogany staircase with stained and painted glass windows depicting the rise and fall of the Confederacy from Fort Sumter to Appomattox. It includes medallion portraits of several Confederate officers.

In 1901 construction on the house began. They hauled granite stone from Stone Mountain on the other side of Atlanta. It was built in the Romanesque Revival style and completed in 1904. It was wired for electricity and has over 300 light bulbs and call buttons, something that was very rare for most 1904 homes.

Have you been to either one of these homes for a visit?


I have never been, but you have made me want to go!

Emma, When I was posting this, it made me want to go back for another visit. Hope u get a chance to visit sometime soon!

This past March I visited Atlanta for a week and spent a day at the Margaret Mitchell home, museum, and the home that was the model for Tara in GWTW. The flowers were in full bloom everywhere. It was really beautiful. Did you visit the Callaway home and gardens outside Atlanta? Really breathtaking!

Jeanette, Yes, I believe we visited the Callway home, but our trip was a few years ago. I'd like to go back and visit again.