With all the wind and rain coming across the eastern part of the country I have had more than a few folks ask about the Tara façade and whether it was encased in some kind of special “architectural raincoat” to keep it safe and dry in that old barn. But the truth of the matter is that the Tara façade is still standing in the same old dairy barn (built in 1951 according to a date carved in the concrete floor) that Ms. Betty Talmadge stacked the first piece in when she took possession of the façade in 1980. Sure I’m concerned about it and would like to see it incased in the finest structure available but it has weathered (excuse the pun) a lot of changes and seen a lot of years go by from the windows of that old barn and maybe that is where it wants to remain.
The Tara façade was completed in 1939 and resided on the back lot (just down the street from the western town and around the corner from Mayberry) for twenty years under the California sun until it was dismantled and shipped to Georgia in 1959. After its “welcome home party” at the State Capital, the museum plan failed to materialize and it was stuffed (yes, stuffed) in two old car sheds off a back road north of Marietta for the next twenty years. So when Ms. Betty first cast her eyes on it, it was a miracle that there was anything left to see of the once grand home of the O’Hara’s. But Ms. Betty was not deterred and she led her crew back up those north Georgia trails with an old cattle trailer used for delivering pine straw and brought the Tara façade to Lovejoy,….where Margaret Mitchell said it was located when she wrote the story some forty-four years earlier.
So I guess if you look at Tara’s travels and the hardship she has endured, a little bit of Georgia’s rain and cold is not that tough to handle. She has been tossed and turned after being pushed aside on the lot. She has been both courted and castigated on her way to the dairy barn and today, I believe all she wants is to be seen and showcased to those who gained so much strength from her story. I believe if she could speak to you all, she would only ask for a visit from those who claim to have so much affection for her.
So, to do what I can to help you make her acquaintance; for the rest of the year I will be offering special tours for those who will come with at least ten visitors. I will work with you and your group to set a tour date during the week or weekend. I will spend a little extra time on the tour so that we can make this an adventure as the group brings a few lawn chairs, a bottle of wine (or beers in the cooler) and we sit and talk, answer questions…and I share “just a few more” tales I have come across. There is but one Tara and it resides in Lovejoy, Georgia and if you want to see it you will have to make a special trip for it deserves more than just a passing glance. For those who want to take this special tour please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and be ready for fun, adventure and a photo of your group posted on the blog site…just to make everyone else, “pea green with envy”.
I’ll be looking for you up at the gate.