Antique tractor collectors and farm collector equipment and tool enthusiasts are always looking for a place to see farm equipment from days of old. While the typical setting collectors think of is a tractor show, keep in mind that historic sites can also have a trove of equipment located in the barns, sheds – and just sitting out in the open.
That is the case at the lovely Stately Oaks, which sits smack dab in the middle of the heart of Margaret Mitchell’s world of Gone With the Wind. In fact, the chimney from the Fitzgerald Plantation, the real Tara, sits on the Stately Oaks property.
The chimney came from house of Phillip Fitzgerald, which was near Stately Oaks at the original location. He was the great-grandfather of Mitchell and, according to guides at the Road to Tar Museum, she took many ideas for her book from visiting the Fitzgerald plantation.
Stately Oaks is a Greek Revival style house with columns, two porches and small windows around the door. The home was built by slaves using wood from the heart of pine trees in 1839. The original owner was Whitmell Allen.
Located in Jonesboro, Ga., this area suffered devastation from General William T. Sherman’s devastating March to the South. The city, in fact, was right in the path of destruction. “Twenty-five hundred men lost their lives during the Battle of Jonesboro that was fought August 31 to September 1, 1864,” the guide at the Visitors Center in Jonesboro explained.
The battle helped cement the fall of Atlanta. Stately Oaks originally was located four miles north of Jonesboro on 404 acres. The land where the plantation was located was bought by Ford Motor Co. in 1972 for a dealership.
Today it is located at Margaret Mitchell Memorial Park because in 1972, when Emily Orr Haynie donated the plantation to the Jonesboro Historical Society, it was with the stipulation the estate be so named. The guide said, “During the Civil War it was a landmark for both Northern and Southern troops, and Yankee soldiers camped in the fields around the house during the Battle of Jonesboro.”
Several outbuildings have been moved to the site, which offers a variety of farm and home items for visitors to check out. One building is the original log kitchen from Stately Oaks.
“The kitchen was located outside the home, where the meals would be prepared. Women during the Civil War era would not wear their hoop skirts in the kitchen for safety reasons,” the guide said. “The top causes of death in women at the time were fires in the kitchen, or childbirth.”
Another outbuilding where an array of items from the turn of the 19th century to the 20th can be found is in Juddy’s Country Store, built in 1894. Visitors can also look through the Bethel School House, a log cabin and several items of equipment that would have been used in pre- and Civil War days.
It is located at 100 Carriage Lane in Jonesboro; call 770-473-0197 for more information.
Readers with questions or comments for Cindy Ladage may write to her in care of this publication.