The Margaret Mitchell House is an historic house museum located in Midtown, Atlanta.
It was the home of author Margaret Mitchell and her second husband John Marsh. The house was known as the Crescent Apartments when Mitchell and her husband lived in Apt. 1 on the ground floor from 1925 to 1932.
Margaret Mitchell wrote the bulk of her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Gone with the Wind while living at the Crescent Apartments.
The house is to this day fondly referred to as “The Dump.”
John Marsh bought his wife a used 1923 Remington portable typewriter in 1926. The original typewriter is now on display at the Atlanta Public Library downtown, but the one displayed in the corner of the apartment living room is the model that the author used.
Mitchell wrote Gone With the Wind backwards, starting with the last chapter, where Scarlett loses Rhett, and worked her way toward the beginning.
It wasn’t until 1935, nine years after she began the novel and three years after she moved from “The Dump,” that Mitchell’s manuscript was brought to the attention of Harald Latham, a Macmillan Publishing Company editor who was visiting Atlanta scouting for talent.
Mitchell met him at a tea party hosted at the Piedmont Driving Club. After initial hesitation, she agreed to let him read the manuscript. He was impressed, and by late spring 1936 the first copies of Gone With the Wind were published. It was an unparalleled success, selling more than 1 million copies within six months.
The Margaret Mitchell House is an historic house museum. The house now contains a visitor center, and a portion of the museum is wholly devoted to the making of the 1939 film based on the book.
The house is included on the National Register of Historic Places.
Margaret began using the name "Peggy" at Washington Seminary, and the abbreviated form "Peg" at Smith College when she found an icon for herself in the mythological winged horse, "Pegasus” that inspires poets.
Quite the character, she had opinions about how the film portrayed her book and she didn’t much like the attention, but she still responded to every single fan letter.
When you visit the house, you can learn about Peggy before, during, and after the book, about the movie, and about the film’s premiere in Atlanta – where the African American actors weren’t allowed.
You’ll also find out what made Peggy so notorious and why the “good girls” of Atlanta society didn’t let her join their club!
Hear the stories of her first and second marriage, her scandalous dance performance, and the lasting legacy of her philanthropic work after the book.
The house was built as a single-family residence in 1899. The house changed hands several times until the winter of 1913–14 when the house was moved onto a new basement story constructed on the rear of the lot.
The building was remodeled in 1919 and converted into a ten-unit apartment building, known as the Crescent Apartments. Located in what was then Atlanta's largest business district outside of downtown, close to trolley lines, and walking distance from Margaret Mitchell’s parents' house, the Crescent Apartments was home to Margaret Mitchell and John Marsh when they married in July 1925.
Unfortunately, the building's owner became over-extended, and it was sold at auction in 1926. The next owner, too, was driven to bankruptcy when the stock market crashed in 1929. Maintenance declined, contributing to Mitchell's characterization of their apartment as "The Dump." By the fall of 1931, there were only two occupied apartments in the building, one of which belonged to the Marshes. The Marshes moved to a larger apartment a few blocks away in the spring of 1932.
People in Atlanta were aware that Gone With the Wind had been written here, yet the building stood abandoned and disintegrating from 1979 to 1994. In 1989, Mayor Andrew Young helped secure Margaret Mitchell House’s future by designating it a city landmark on the rolls of what is now the city’s Office of Urban Design - Historic Preservation Division.
When the decision was made to restore the property, the architectural history of the structure was taken into account, and the front of the house was restored as it was in 1899. The back of the building was restored as it was when Margaret Mitchell called it home.
Then, in September 1994, an arsonist set fire to Margaret Mitchell House. Afterwards, Daimler-Benz Corporation, the German auto manufacturer, gave $4.5 million to restore the property and purchase its surrounding city block. With a Mercedes-Benz plant near Birmingham, Alabama, Daimler-Benz anticipated using the facility for hospitality events during the 1996 Summer Olympics.
In May 1996, only 40 days before the Centennial Games’ Opening Ceremonies, the house again was victim of an arson attempt. This fire occurred at a point where the restoration was almost complete, and all but Margaret Mitchell’s apartment was damaged or destroyed.
After the 1996 fire, $2 million collected from insurance allowed the restoration to continue. The House finally was dedicated on May 16, 1997.