Stately Oaks Plantation near Atlanta, Georgia

Stately Oaks Plantation
Getting ready to tour the big house!

Stately Oaks Plantation is located in Jonesboro, just a few minutes away from Atlanta. This antebellum home was built around 1839 and it’s open to the public for tours. Back around 1860, this was the center of a 400 acre plantation.

If you go on a Saturday, your guides are dressed up in antebellum clothing (how did folks wear that many layers in the summer before air conditioning?).  As the guides take you through the big house, you learn so much about daily life in the period before the Civil War.

The house has been moved from it’s original location, which was about 4 miles north of Jonesboro.  It’s definitely seen it’s fair share of history since 1840, there were even Union Soldiers camped in the front yard during the Battle of Atlanta in 1864.  Jonesboro is Gone With The Wind country, as this is the setting for the fictional Tara Plantation.  We saw the movie set for Tara a while back, you can click here for that post.

To tour Stately Oaks, you stop first to buy your ticket on the property at Juddy’s Country Store.  I loved this old country store!  So many cool things in here, it was probably good the tour was about to start or I would have had to buy stuff!

Juddy's Country Store on the grounds of Stately Oaks
Juddy’s Country Store on the grounds of Stately Oaks

Stately Oaks Plantation is also known as The Orr House, Robert McCord House, and The Oaks.  The house was moved to it’s current location in 1972, and there was some vandalism prior to it being restored.  Here’s a picture from 1974 of this house (from NRHP).

Boarded Up and Awaiting Restoration
Boarded Up and Awaiting Restoration

The interior of the house – it’s 4 rooms over 4 rooms, and the hallway is about 10 feet wide.  I spy a vintage refrigerator off in the distance of the hallway picture below.

Interior of Stately Oaks, circa 1974.
Interior of Stately Oaks, circa 1974.
Another view from the 1970s
Another view from the 1970s

Can’t take pictures inside the big house, but there are several interesting buildings right around the house to check out – had no idea how many other buildings were here!  They have moved and preserved other buildings from throughout Clayton County to the site, which really made for an interesting visit.

This is the original kitchen house to Stately Oaks, they used to put mud in between the beams to keep it warmer in the winter, then remove that in the summer to allow for ventilation – always learn things checking out old houses!

Original Kitchen for Stately Oaks
Original Kitchen for Stately Oaks

Going inside the kitchen, you can’t help but notice the fireplace in here – imagine how many meals were cooked in here!  It was HOT the day I toured here, and I can’t imagine how hot it must have gotten in this building!

Inside Kitchen
Inside Kitchen
Kitchen Working Area
Kitchen Working Area

Another building that was interesting to see was a Sharecropper’s Cabin.  Big change from touring Stately Oaks Plantation big house!  Now, they call it a tenant cabin – and that does sound nicer, but it’s a Sharecropper cabin to me.  Interesting looking in here realizing how small this living space is.

Sharecropper Cabin
Sharecropper Cabin
Inside the Sharecropper Cabin
Inside the Sharecropper Cabin

There were quite a few other buildings to see, including the Bethel School that was relocated here.  Walking in here it was so fun looking around a turn of the century one-room school!

Inside Bethel School
Inside Bethel School

There’s even a blacksmith shop and barn here that I had to take a look at.

Barn
Barn

There’s even several Creek Indian buildings that have been recreated here.  I managed to embarrass myself inside one of these Creek Indian spots, walked into a darkened hut and was looking around –  a frog jumped right beside my foot and I calmly nearly jumped out of my skin.

Creek Indian Hut, complete with frogs in there!
Creek Indian Hut, complete with frogs in there!

This is one really interesting place to get to tour, and for those in Atlanta, it’s one of the closest plantations you can go and tour.  Hope you enjoyed taking a look around Stately Oaks Plantation.  This is run by Historical Jonesboro, and have included their link here for all the details about visiting them.

Stately Oaks Plantation
Stately Oaks Plantation

 

Thanks so much for reading the blog, I really appreciate it!

 

Tara from Gone With The Wind Tour and Lovejoy Plantation

Lovejoy, GA – I read about the movie set of Tara being stored away in a barn, and naturally I just had to go see it.  It’s history!  Scarlett O’Hara lived here in Gone With The Wind and being a good southerner, I jumped at the chance to take a tour of it.  As a bonus, it’s located at Lovejoy Plantation…which is gated and I’d never get near it otherwise.

Lovejoy Plantation

Excited to set off on a 9AM Saturday morning tour, I followed the directions.  I felt a little funny as I pulled into the parking lot here around 8:45 in the morning.

Turn Here to Visit Tara!I may have been trying to slump down in my seat sitting outside a liquor store early on Saturday…but it was a quick walk and time to see Lovejoy Plantation – and Tara!

Friends at Lovejoy Plantation

Going to see the movie set, which is stored in a barn – I had to get past security.  These two were so friendly and I got distracted wanting to stop and pet the animals!

When you go in the barn, a dedicated group of volunteers has catalogued and preserved the remaining parts of Tara.  Just for some perspective, here are some photos from the late 1950s before it was packed up and moved to Georgia…

Tara Movie Set prior to being stored tara_mansion_1959_bison_01

Tara was stored away in North Ga in a couple of locations for around 20 years, before Betty Talmadge purchased it in 1979.  After that she had it moved and stored here at Lovejoy Plantation.

At first I was sure what all I was looking at, so many parts and pieces…but you start to connect the dots during the tour.  For example, these tall shutters were from the front of the house, and are in this scene with Scarlett and the Tarleton Twins.

Front Window of Tara Tara Front Windows in Movie

 

Several windows, as well as porch steps are preserved and laid out in the barn.

Tara Windows Tara Movie Set Door

 

So remember how I said this is inside Lovejoy Plantation?  So here’s another look as we got closer to the house.

Lovejoy Plantation

It was a “plantation plain” style house that kept getting added too, with a huge addition in 1858 (as in it may have been two houses joined together at that point).  What’s interesting here – there was a big cavalry battle here in 1864.  It’s said that the owners stored grain inside the columns of the house to hide it from the Yankees.  The house has bullet holes inside and out – that’s how fierce the fighting was.  But let’s get back to Gone With The Wind (GWTW)- I learned a couple of interesting facts.

Did you know that superfans of GWTW are called “Windies”?  I first heard it as “Wendy’s” and that made me crave a Frosty.  In fact, I want one NOW.  But no, Windies are the extreme fans.  They know every detail about the movie!  When I stop to think about what I know of the movie after seeing it 10,000 times growing up, I always think of the Carol Burnett Show skit of the dress Scarlett had made from curtains!

Carol Burnett Show Vivian Leigh and Carol Burnett

You can actually see this dress, along with a scale replica of Tara at the Road To Tara Museum, in nearby Jonesboro.  It’s a neat museum in the old train depot, and certainly worth a stop.  Here are a couple of pics from my visit there:

Road to Tara Museum in Jonesboro

IMG_3020

See those big steps off the porch?  Here they are now:

WP_20140802_050

All in all, an interesting tour to see the real Tara from Gone With The Wind!  Hope you enjoyed taking this side trip from Atlanta with me!  Thanks so much for reading the blog, I appreciate you!