With all the birthday wishes being expressed for Vivien Leigh yesterday, I awoke this morning counting all the places in the old dairy barn that her scenes in Gone with the Wind could be remembered…..and the list is long and distinguished.
So this morning, in an effort to answer the questions of those who ask, “how much of Tara still exists”, I will simply list all the places in the dairy barn that one can find a Scarlett connection. The Tara façade is NOT standing tall at over twenty five feet (the height of the brick columns) but the windows, doors and side porches are there for you to see up close and remember its moments and the scene it shared with your favorite character(s).
If you ventured into the dairy barn with me we would be able to see the artifacts and remember Vivien in the following scenes.
- The opening scene with the Tarleton Twins. Yes, the tall windows still exist and I have personally reassembled the one that Fred, George and Vivien stood in front of as Fred delivered the first lines of the movie. Portions of the white paint are still visible and a majority of the green paint of the shutters still shows (though faded a bit).
- Tara’s side porch where the soldiers were fed is complete in the barn. We had plans to reassemble it but at present it is so large that we are still working on space concerns. But the porch steps where Mellie is seated (and Scarlett comes and goes) as well as the porch rail where she and Mellie talk of Ashley’s capture and the porch columns where Scarlett shares a moment with Gerald,….even the side door and window that Scarlett travels thru on more than one occasion, still resides in the old barn.
- When Scarlett shoots the Yankee deserter who is looking for treasure, the tall cathedral window that shows behind anchored the space at the top of the stairs. Today that cathedral window still survives and is standing upright in the barn (I built flats to allow many of the pieces to stand upright).
- And thanks to a visit from a retired Hollywood director we now know that the tall “inner shutters” that stood on each side of the windows in Tara’s office scene (Scarlett and Ashley and Mellie), Mrs. O’Hara’s wake, and of course…famous beyond all others,…the shutters that framed the green velvet drapes to be made into Scarlett’s new dress…are the ones (and only ones) standing inside of the dairy barn today (and there is still a small amount of the original paint on them).
- Finally, the pieces of the front door that had to be replaced when Mrs. Talmadge had it restored and loaned to the Atlanta History Center (the restored door, still the property of the Talmadge family is on temporary display at the Margaret Mitchell House)…the pieces of the door that saw Scarlett on the front porch, Mrs. O’Hara’s return and of course Scarlett’s arrival back at Tara and her later scenes with the other cast members there as the war ends and Ashley comes home.
Those sites can be seen and studied for those who will simply purchase copies of the Official Guide to the Saving Tara Project (autographed if purchased here) and those who can make it to Atlanta, Georgia can see these amazing pieces of Hollywood’s past up close. Tara is here and waiting for you to show the gumption of Scarlett and do that which you had vowed to do, so bring a group of friends and ….come home to Tara.
I’ll be looking for you up at the gate.