This morning I came across some of the local news reports from a few years ago regarding the beginnings of the Saving Tara Project and thought they were worth another look. The reporters did a real good job telling the story, accept for one thing, …. Tara was not “discovered” by myself or any of my team. Rather, Tara has been sitting in Mrs. Betty Talmadge’s barn since 1980 and a “goodly sum” of the population of metro Atlanta knew it. But Mrs. Bettys attempts to get it into the hands of those who would preserve and present Tara failed and she was left to store it and hope her efforts were not in vain.
The reporters liked to refer to Tara as being found, because they just couldn’t believe that the most iconic of all movie houses could be set aside and lost to time in a south Atlanta barn. They just couldn’t believe that the main set piece of a movie (released in 1939) that is still rated as number one in the box office (in today’s dollars) could be set aside and never put on display after it was disassembled in Hollywood. They also couldn’t understand why Margaret Mitchell’s great-grandparents (Fitzgerald’s) home that she referred to as “her Tara” for her book would be stored in the same barn after being saved from the wrecking ball by the same “Mrs. Betty” Talmadge, … and then also left to time. I really don’t understand it all either, but as a historian I know that a lot of history leaves us shaking our heads.
But today we have the opportunity to put Tara in a bigger better building and display her windows, doors and side porches alongside of large photos of the scenes in which she stared. If you will help give Tara the space that she needs to tell her story please follow the GoFundMe link here and give to the Saving Tara Project. Tara has not been “found”, but I have found a way to preserve and present her for the next generations, and it is up to us to make this happen. There are no grants, no nonprofits and no foundations, it is simply the work of myself and my volunteers and the kind donations of those who will give.