Located in the northwest corner of Oakland, sits the “Knit Mill” section. It is presumably named for the various mills and factories that used to line the area. The area’s most notable inhabitant is Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind.
Margaret Munnerlyn Mitchell Marsh was born November 8, 1900, to Atlanta lawyer, Eugene Muse Mitchell, and suffragist, Mary Isabel “May Belle” Stephens. Mitchell’s paternal grandfather, Russell Mitchell, was a Confederate veteran. Mitchell grew up listening to his Civil War stories, which became the basis for her only novel.
While in school, Mitchell took to the nickname “Peggy” or simply “Peg.” She attended one year of college before coming home to tend to the house once her mother succumbed to the Spanish flu. Mitchell married Berrien K. Upshaw in 1922. That marriage ended in an uncontested divorce when Upshaw became abusive. Mitchell then married John Marsh in 1925. They were married up until her death. Unfortunately, they did not have any children.
Mitchell’s Southern novel was published in 1936. Mitchell hoped for a 5,000 print run. However, the book sales broke all expectations. The novel garnered Mitchell a National Book Award (1936) and a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1937). The book was optioned for a movie for $50,000. In 1939, the motion picture premiered in Atlanta and starred Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. After 74 years, it continues to celebrate widespread appeal and popularity.
Once the movie debuted, Mitchell had no time for writing. It was to be her one and only novel. Tragedy struck on August 16, 1949, when Mitchell and her husband were attempting to cross on Peachtree Street in Atlanta. Mitchell was hit and rendered unconscious. After five days, she died at Grady Hospital at the age of 48.
Her gravesite is extremely popular. Follow the yellow directional signs. Every time I visit, there is always someone sitting on the bench. When her publisher was alive, he would have tulips planted annually.
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