The Tara façade was said to have been made out of paper mache’ or plywood veneer covered in particle board bricks. However, the study of anything is the opportunity to be found lacking in your knowledge,….and so today I can tell you that the bricks were not made of wood or paper mache’ but what appears to be plaster or adobe clay. In fact in the photos provided you will see the side of the Tara façade as these faux bricks are falling from their attachment on the plywood sheeting. And in the other photos, a close up of the bricks that I found still attached to the Tara façade as it lay in the barn in Lovejoy, Georgia.
It could be possible that the bricks were a substance called “staff” which was used in the building of faux fronts and displays at least as far back as the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, IL. The material was a plaster of Paris reinforced by hemp, burlap or straw (note the straw protruding from the brick in my photo) so based on that description I think we can say this MAY be that but IS NOT paper mache’ or plywood veneer or particle board bricks.
I received this information from Deborah Sorensen, the Assistant Curator of the National Building Museum in Washington, D. C. when we spent a little time talking of the Tara façade a few days ago. Make no mistake, experts such as Deborah will be the ones who come thru with the answer to the many questions this project has brought to light. It is just a matter of continuing to work thru the cleanup, the set up and the opening up to the world that will bring those who have special insight into this the grand dame of movie sets.