Margaret Mitchell

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As has been advertised recently, this is the 80th year since the release of “Gone With The Wind.”

The movie was shown in Fayetteville first in 1971, which I wrote about several weeks ago, and again this month sponsored in part by the Holliday-Dorsey-Fife House.

I want to tell about the author of the book, Margaret Mitchell, and her relationship to Fayette County.

Her great-great-grandfather, Phillip Fitzgerald, lived just south of Fayetteville in the late 1830s and 1840s and had businesses in Fayetteville. This land was in Fayette County at the time, but in 1858 it became Clayton County. Fitzgerald is buried in the Fayetteville Cemetery.

Mitchell was well aware of her family history going back 200 years and knew her relationship with our county. She spent some time here in writing her tome in the 1930s.

She also met the ladies who began a library here in 1929, having it in a school that burned, and sometimes having to run it out of their homes. Due to their persistence it is now known as the Fayette County Public Library and oddly enough, is located in the same general area the ladies operated in.

Mitchell greatly admired the efforts of these library ladies and when they had saved enough money to build a library building of their own in 1947, she often drove down from Atlanta with books for them she had secured from friends. She was asked for permission to name the library building for her, and she gave that permission.

In November, 1949, just two weeks before her untimely death, she backed up her car in the pouring down rain and unloaded her last load of books here.

In 1986 a new library building was constructed and in 1988 the Fayette County Historical Society was given use of the original building. It has subtitled their new home as the Margaret Mitchell Research Center. The historical society kept the original sign from out front as a part of its historic items.

Eventually the county took over the fiscal responsibility of the library and her name was dropped from its official designation.

The historical society was established in 1971 and houses a complete collection of information on county history and many of its residents dating back to 1821, information on Fayette soldiers in the War Between The States, information on “Gone With the Wind,” and thousands of photographs available on its computer.

This former library is located at 190 Lee Street, on the corner across from the fire station and in back of the American Legion log cabin. They do not have any secrets, so open up any drawer you wish.

It is open Tuesday evenings, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday mornings from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.