Scarlett O'Hardy's Gone With the Wind Museum, Jefferson, Texas

James N.

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Part I

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I recently traveled again to my favorite small East Texas town, Jefferson, where I paid my very first visit to what has become something of a local institution, Scarlett O'Hardy's Gone With the Wind Museum. Of course, this Miss Scarlett is as fictional as the original but serves as the persona of the equally lovely Ms. Bobbie Hardy who owns and operates it as a venue in which to display her outstanding collection of GWTW-related items and ephemera.

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Once inside, the visitor is overwhelmed with the abundance of material, including a GWTW-themed Christmas tree that is displayed year-round. In addition to the large main gallery, there are also two smaller rooms in back, all more or less stuffed with memorabilia from both the 1936 novel and the 1939 film, including many movie stills and posters both foreign and domestic.

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Ms. Hardy's particular passion is the life and career of Margaret Mitchell (Marsh) and her remarkable novel; above she describes to two enraptured visitors the genesis of the book that might easily never have been discovered by its publisher. The first three cases are devoted to Mitchell and the novel, including an autographed First Edition of the book, a letter signed by Mitchell, and two original call sheets from the filming of the movie. Two seats from the Atlanta Loews' Theater where the premiere of the movie was held stand near the museum's entrance.

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Probably most eye-catching are the life-sized mannequins representing Scarlett in a replica of her famous green "drapery" dress and Rhett in one of his suits. The case below stands in one of the back rooms and is filled entirely with foreign-language editions of the novel, flanked by Spanish-language posters from the movie. In front of it is a remarkable cake which duplicates in miniature Tara and was made for a special occasion.

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The museum is located in a quiet residential district of what originally was the so-called Alley Addition of Jefferson, surrounded by fine residences. The 1950's building it occupies has been re-purposed from what was once an agricultural service building and offices of the local high school.

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The veranda is a quiet spot on which to wait; the sign below details times when the museum may be visited most of the year.

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Next, some special exhibits.
 
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James N.

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Part II
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One of the outstanding items displayed is a remarkably detailed doll house built by Danny and Linda Hass of LaGrange, Texas. The exterior is a replica of the Wilkes' mansion Twelve Oaks from the film, while interiors are a melange of various other location settings. In this photo notice also the child-like mannequin representing Cammie King wearing a replica of the costume she wore in the film as Bonnie Blue Butler. Miss King was the honored guest at an event called Tara in Texas in 2003, and her last public appearance before her death in 2014 was at another held here, Tara in Texas II in April 2010.

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Above, Aunt Pittypat visits in Tara's parlor, while in the background, the beautifully appointed dining room at Twelve Oaks awaits the "war talk" scene during the barbecue. Below, the grand staircase is peopled by dolls representing l.-r. Rhett, Mrs. O'Hara, Scarlett, Melanie, and Ashley in his officer's uniform.

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Below are two widely separated settings: at top Prissy is seen in one of the bedrooms at Tara; at bottom is the library at Twelve Oaks where Rhett will address the throng of eager volunteers explaining his unpopular view of war.

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Of course there are many other (and larger) representations of the characters in GWTW; in the case below are Franklin Mint dolls, l.-r. Belle Watling, Rhett, Scarlett, Mammy, Prissy (partly covered by), Mrs. Ellen O'Hara, Aunt PittyPat, and Melanie and Ashley Wilkes. On the shelf above them are various programs from releases of the movie.

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There are also vast numbers of sometimes only vaguely related and usually commercial items like those pictured below, including souvenir mugs, jigsaw puzzles, figurines, and an old issue of MAD Magazine featuring the unlikely pairing of Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell as the star-crossed lovers!

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For additional views and information on visiting the museum, please see the official website:

http://www.scarlettohardy.com/
 
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civilken

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I honestly believe anything to do with that movie should be gone with the wind.
 

major bill

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Gone With the Wind is one of the few films that Americans love and Americans hate. This love hate relationship is by itself imteresting. In 1964 when I was 12 years old I thought the film was great. But in less than two years I understood the controversy over the racism displayed in the movie. By 1968 I was 16 and could not have brought myself to watch the movie due to the shocking racism disputed in the movie. Now as time has passed I can view the movie for the historic value of the display of racism that was acceptable when the movie was made. Watching the movie allows me to see how far we as a nation have come from 1939 and how far I myself have came.
 

Will Carry

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Thank you for posting that. The movie and the novel are both American classics. I first saw the movie when I was six years old (1963) , at the Conyers Theater. White people could come in through the main entrance. Black people had a side entrance. The black people were not allowed in the lobby but had to wait at the side entrance to get served popcorn and sodas. They had blacks only restrooms and the black people had to sit in the balcony. When Georgia force desegregation, the KKK threatened to burn the theater down if the owner desegregated. He closed the theater.

As a six year old kid, I found the movie boring, left early and walked home. I preferred John Wayne westerns and Elvis Presley movies. Elvis was cool.......Now I think the movie is an American classic.
 
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major bill

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As I said the nation has changed and sadly the movie was a product of a long gone era and so an otherwise fine movie is tainted by what we by 1965 and do today see as racist views.
 
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Another fantastic tour of a place many of us never knew existed. :unsure:

It’s always amazed me how far some people will go with their passions.

This "museum" reminds me of the now closed Elvis Shrine . . . "Graceland Too” in Holly Springs , Mississippi.
http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/11097

I'm still laughing at the Mad Magazine on display. :bounce:
 

Bee

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James N., you never fail to disappoint! Even at the uncivilized hour of 1:20am, I am still laughing about that scary MAD cover. It's too late (or early) for me to worry about anything other than to say that I always enjoy a period piece, so I never miss GWTW when it shows up in the listings.
 
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Thank you, James N. , wonderful pictures. One of my friends is planning a visit to Texas in April, I will send her the link to that museum, I know she will love it!

Of course I also have the movie on DVD and the book also. In fact, I read it again only 2 years ago and now, as an adult, I totally changed my sympathies. I could now understand why Scarlett loved Ashley so madly ... and I liked Melanie a lot, which I found only boring when in my teens.
I must stop now, too tempting to talk about GWTW ...
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Remember reading about the production of the movie when really young- for some reason had a phase of being smitten with bios, don't ask me why, as in when a kid. It must have been the Clark Gable bio which featured this movie- never been able to get into the movie, having gotten interested in casting and filming. Like introducing Vivien Leigh while filming the Atlanta scene. It was a hugely coveted part, Vivien Leigh not as well known. It hadn't been cast yet, whoever it was brought her to the set then. Guess the dramatic introduction did it, she was thought perfect ( This is from a bio, from gosh, probably the 60's so who knows how accurate it was? )

Anyway, have never been able to separate watching the movie from making it. This museum would be pretty cool on that account, old Hollywood, that era, with all its warts and glamour and History. It's all we had. And really, where else but Texas would a larger than doll-house life be, of Tara?
 


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