You may have seen from a Wednesday evening post here at Smyrna-Vinings Patch that the Vinings Historic Preservation Society has an archaeologist conducting research today and Friday at the historic Pace House on Paces Mill Road.
Garrett W. Silliman is conducting field investigations using remote sensing to detect potential archaeological features and artifact signatures on the property.
As you might know, the Pace House was built with the remains of the 17-room antebellum home of Vinings founder Hardy Pace. The house served as General William T. Sherman's temporary headquarters where he planned the siege of Atlanta.
Utilizing ground-penetrating radar, Silliman plans to excavate areas on the property where anomalies were detected. How cool would it be if Silliman could unearth something directly connected to Sherman?
Something from days gone by that also would fall under the “cool’’ heading is the accompanying very rare color home footage of the “Gone With the Wind” Atlanta premiere, which happened 72 years ago today at the Loew's Grand Theater on Peachtree Street. The theater, which was destroyed in 1978, was made to look like the Twelve Oaks mansion from the movie and many of the film’s stars attended the premier.
Among those at the Dec. 15, 1939 event were Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, who stayed at the nearby Georgian Terrace Hotel, which also appears in the home video shot by Russell Bellman that was only recently made public courtesy of the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center.
And of course it was Leigh who played Scarlett O’Hara in the film based on Margaret Mitchell’s 1937 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. William T. Sherman and Scarlett O’Hara - arguably the two most dominating individuals when one envisions Atlanta during the Civil War.
In fact, the Atlanta History Center’s Michael Rose suggested just such in the introduction to Atlanta: A Portrait of the Civil War. Writes Rose, “William Tecumseh Sherman and Scarlett O'Hara. The visual imagery of both characters is powerful. The scowling, haggard features of Sherman, the 'war is Hell' commander who leveled the city and is hated by some to this day, is an effective icon for the depiction of the Atlanta campaign....Scarlett O'Hara is something else altogether. The pervading presence of Gone with the Wind is everywhere in the mass culture concept of Civil War Atlanta. The motion picture version of the novel supplied a concrete visual element: graceful Southern mansions, war-weary Scarlett racing along Peachtree Street, and Rhett battling the fires of Sherman's destruction. Gone with the Wind created a legendary image of Atlanta—one readers and movie viewers believe in only too well."
So again, how cool would it be if Silliman could unearth some Sherman-related artifact this week in Vinings? I suppose I’ll need to mosey on by to see if he has. But today’s already getting away from me, so perhaps instead on Friday.
As Scarlett would say, “After all…tomorrow is another day.’’