Gone with the Wind: The Inspiration for Twelve Oaks

by hookedonhouses on September 6, 2009

gone-with-the-wind-posterTo celebrate the 70th anniversary of Gone with the Wind, Nikki at The Scarlett Rose Garden is hosting a “ball” for fans of the movie. As a fan of GWTW myself, I wanted to play along, so I thought it would be fun to show you this 1833 Greek Revival in Covington, Georgia, which was the original model for Twelve Oaks.

real-12-oaks-ext

GWTW fans are excited because the house is on the market for $1.4 million (maybe a few of us could go in on it together?). It sits on nearly 4 acres and has 8 bedrooms and 6 baths.

Here’s what Twelve Oaks looks like in the movie:

12oaks-longdrive

The exterior was actually a matte painting in the movie, which is why the people look almost ghostlike when I snapped this photo of them riding horses down the long lane toward it. (You may recall that this long, tree-lined drive was inspired by the “Avenue of Oaks” at Boone Plantation that I showed you in my post about The Notebook.)

exterior-side

They did create a real front porch for the close-up scenes of Twelve Oaks, however, and you can see how they replicated the big pillars:

12oaks-ext

When Scarlett sees Twelve Oaks on the day of the barbecue in the novel, it’s described this way:

“They topped the rise and the white house reared its perfect symmetry before her, tall of columns, wide of verandas, flat of roof, beautiful as a woman is beautiful who is so sure of her charm that she can be generous and gracious to all. Scarlett loved Twelve Oaks even more than Tara, for it had a stately beauty, a mellowed dignity that Gerald’s house did not possess.”

The interiors of the actual home were not as large or as formal as those created as sets for the movie. Here is the actual staircase that climbs three stories in the Greek Revival today:

side-staircase

upper-staircase

And here is the staircase used in the movie (everything’s always bigger in Hollywood!):

12oaks-comingdownstairs

A pretty blue bedroom in the real home:

blue-bedroom

A bedroom where the women had their naps in the middle of the party:

12oaks-naptime

The home has 10 fireplaces. Here’s one in the actual home:

living-room5

And the much grander version in “Gone with the Wind:”

12oaks-throwing-vase

The real dining room:

dining-room

A dining room large enough for the men to meet to discuss the impending war in:

12oaks-meeting

Thanks to Old House Dreamer for posting the link to this house and bringing it to my attention. You can see more photos and get more information from the listing.

exterior2

See my Gone with the Wind post for more photos of Twelve Oaks from the film, along with Tara and Aunt Pittypat’s house–or visit my post about The Notebook to see the original Avenue of Oaks.

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Nikki September 6, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Awesome, awesome post Julia! Wish I could afford that place, whoa. It was so nice having you at the “ball”.
These film houses are a lot of fun to see!

Greet September 6, 2009 at 3:44 pm

This is all amazing what you let us see!
Thank you very much!

Greet
.-= Greet´s last blog ..Open doors at Garnier Antiques =-.

laney September 6, 2009 at 4:37 pm

oh my…we in atlanta always were told that boone plantaion in north carolina was the model for 12 oaks…in any event all the houses…real and imagined…are beautiful…

hookedonhouses September 6, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Laney–
Yes, Boone Plantation was the inspiration for the plantation itself with the long, tree-lined drive. I’ve got a photo of it in the “Notebook” post I did last week. I imagine they were inspired by a number of beautiful old Southern homes! -Julia :-)

Things That Inspire September 6, 2009 at 4:56 pm

Great post – loved the comparisons between the relatively modest size of the rooms in the actual home, and the grand rooms on set. I am embarrassed to admit that I do not know where Covington is, although I have heard of it…need to go learn my Georgia geography.
.-= Things That Inspire´s last blog ..A Touch of Tuscan =-.

songbirdtiff September 6, 2009 at 5:25 pm

This is great. I have to wonder, though, why aren’t there dining chairs in the dining room?
.-= songbirdtiff´s last blog ..Happy Happy Joy Joy! =-.

Suzy September 6, 2009 at 5:52 pm

1.4 million for all that, seems like a bargain. Would make a beautiful B&B.
Let’s Go!
.-= Suzy´s last blog ..Mums the Word…… =-.

AnNicole@OurSuburbanCottage September 6, 2009 at 9:18 pm

That’s really interesting! I actually just checked out the book from the library. I’m excited to read the real deal. Although, now I want to watch the movie again :).
.-= AnNicole@OurSuburbanCottage´s last blog ..Laboring on Labor Day…With Paint…On Sale =-.

Sares September 7, 2009 at 1:16 am

This was so much fun! I love looking at old houses and it was interesting to see the comparisons. I wonder which would go for more $. The inspiration house or the sets that made up the movie if they were available and for sale?! Have a great time at the ball!

Sandi September 7, 2009 at 6:39 am

What a fantastic comparison…I just loved seeing the two side by side…but I much prefer the Hollywood staircase, it’s magnificent.
Hugs,
Sandi – Fantasy & Fancy
.-= Sandi´s last blog ..Decisions, Decisions =-.

Jorgelina September 7, 2009 at 7:45 am

Hi!
Wonderful post! A classic and unforgettable film.
Hugs
.-= Jorgelina´s last blog ..Un clasico. =-.

Trish September 7, 2009 at 8:07 am

Long time reader first time commenter. I work in the real estate industry and I love looking at houses. I love this particular feature that you do from time to time. I think I know what I’ll be doing this Labor Day…taking out my DVD of GWTW and watching it yet again. Thanks for a great post and a great blog!
Trish, Omaha, NE

duchess September 7, 2009 at 8:16 am

Beautiful real house. Thanks for researching these for us.
I saw part of a movie this weekend with a beautiful house if you need ideas.
It was One True Thing with Meryl Streep & Renee Zellwegger – the house is gorgeous.
Hope you have a great week.
.-= duchess´s last blog ..It’s Kick-off Time =-.

Colleen September 7, 2009 at 8:50 am

Thank you for the wonderful tour of Twelve Oaks! I will take more time later to look at your blog! This is such a fun ball, thanks to Nikki!

rue September 7, 2009 at 9:05 am

Hi Julia :)

That house is beautiful, but I wish they would have been more true to the inside, although I’ll bet it would have cost A LOT more money LOL

If I ever get done painting, I think I might just have to watch it this week ;)

rue
.-= rue´s last blog ..Gone with the Wind… =-.

beansieleigh September 7, 2009 at 10:07 am

Oh my goodness, this was a WONDERFUL post! I really did enjoy the tour! Thank you! Hope you’re enjoying your holiday weekend, and all the Blogland Ball festivities! ~tina
.-= beansieleigh´s last blog ..Gone With The Wind Blogland Ball! =-.

Liz September 7, 2009 at 11:20 am

How dreamy! I would so love to live in a home like that. Crazy!

~Liz
.-= Liz´s last blog ..Gone With The Wind …A Book Review and a Party! =-.

Amanda @ Serenity Now September 7, 2009 at 12:58 pm

LOVE GWTW. :) Will have to check out the ball today. Thanks for including the excerpt from the novel as well. I think I prefer the real home to the Hollywood version–too “big” for my tastes. I remember reading somewhere about the painting in the Twelve Oaks scene. :)
.-= Amanda @ Serenity Now´s last blog ..Nightmare on Caroline Street: Worst. Wedding Toast. Ever. =-.

Kelly September 7, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Thanks for the mention. I love how you posted the interior of 12 Oaks along with this houses interior. I HAVE to go watch Gone with The Wind now! :)
.-= Kelly´s last blog ..1893 Queen Anne, Arlington, IA =-.

Stephanie September 7, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Hello Julia~I soo love your tribute to GWTW today. Yes, let’s you, Nikki, Rue, and me get together and just scoop up that yummy Twelve Oaks plantation before someone else does!!! Beautiful pics. I have always admired your GWTW post that features Tara, Twelve Oaks, and Aunt Pittypat’s homes and linked to it on my post today. The architecture was indeed amazing, wasn’t it?! Now I’ve got to look at your link to the listing of the real house that inspired Twelve Oaks!!

Fiddle Dee Dee,
Stephanie
Angelic Accents
.-= Stephanie´s last blog ..GONE WITH THE WIND Ball Blog Party! =-.

Debbie September 7, 2009 at 4:11 pm

This was a REALLY interesting post…I thoroughly enjoyed it and soo informative. I think the price of that house seems pretty good considering….Wouldn’t that be fun to own?? Have a great day…Debbie

Katherine September 7, 2009 at 9:40 pm

This is very interesting, I enjoyed it a lot! Thanks for sharing!

Katherine
.-= Katherine´s last blog ..Gone With the Wind 70th Anniversary! =-.

Tiffany September 8, 2009 at 12:22 am

Wow! I love this post, as well as, the previous ones on Gone With The Wind and The Notebook. Beautiful! We like a lot of the same things about the movie. I really enjoyed this-Thanks for sharing!
.-= Tiffany´s last blog ..The Gone With The Wind Ball! =-.

Sandi September 8, 2009 at 8:49 am

Hey, I’ve got a couple bucks to spare – I want in, too! Looks like there would be plenty of room for all of us :) Thanks for the great post. GWTW is my favorite book of all time, after tthe Bible. Even better than the movie.

Struggler September 8, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Always a pleasure to read a GWTW posting! How interesting that everything in the house was made grander for the movie. The real home looks much more manageable to actually live in.
.-= Struggler´s last blog ..Land of Hope and Glory =-.

Jen @ After The Alter September 8, 2009 at 2:37 pm

I LOVE Gone with the wind! I want that house so bad! It’s funny b/c I live in NY and a 1.4 million dollar house is so small compared to that!! It is beautiful and looks well maintained!
.-= Jen @ After The Alter´s last blog ..We Have A Winner! Eden Fantasys Giveaway! =-.

Laura @ the shore house September 10, 2009 at 11:21 am

I hate to use the words “bargain” and “$1.4 million” in the same sentence…but it kinda seems like it is, no?
.-= Laura @ the shore house´s last blog ..The savvy shopper. =-.

Kelly September 17, 2009 at 8:46 pm

I forgot to mention, here is the house that it is reported the woman who inspired Melanie in Gone with the Wind once lived here.
.-= Kelly´s last blog ..1888 Victorian, Charleston, WV =-.

Taye January 16, 2010 at 4:11 am

Is this REALLY Twelve Oaks from GWTW???
Or is this just a replica or the house they BASED is on?

hookedonhouses January 16, 2010 at 9:10 am

Taye–
The listing just says it was “the inspiration for 12 Oaks.” I just thought it was interesting to compare the movie version to what a real-life version might have been like. -Julia

Virginia February 9, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Just found this site – love it! Interesting fact about the house in Covington GA (about 40 miles SE of Atlanta). My godmother was born and raised in the house – her father owne the mill there. The house is truly beautiful and deserves to have someone who can love and cherish it. The location, a few blocks off the square, is a lovely setting. The kitchen and backyard have been restored in a more “modern” feel (not to my taste) , and there used to be “greek” statues in the yard…

Rick Forth December 27, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Does anyone know if there are any plans for Tara, showing the floor plans, & the dimensions & such stuff. I would like to make a model. This has been very interesting.

Lisa Smith March 27, 2011 at 10:19 pm

I was just telling my daughter all about your site and she was shocked that I had not checked on the “Gone With The Wind” houses, as it is my favorite movie. I have several books all about anything pertaining to Margaret Mitchell and her amazing book. Well, it was so much fun to see this about the house in Covington! I drive by it all the time when I am heading south and want to go the back way! It is still for sale and, yes, I do “dream”! Also, I have heard for years that the fabulous staircase in the house Rhett built for Scarlett in Atlanta was inspired by the one in “The Hotel Jefferson” in Richmond, Virginia. I don’t know it it is true, but I purposely went to see that hotel and it certainly is very similar!

Susanne April 1, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Whitehall is a lovely antebellum estate that has been all but destroyed by either its prior owners or by the bank that repossessed it or both. The bank likely did not winterize the house after it was repossessed as there is quite a bit of water damage to both ceilings and hardwood floors and possibly a black mold problem as well. If the hardwood flooring is original to replace it will involve paying for all pieces of antique flooring (assuming any can be found) to be x-rayed which is not an inexpensive process. Apparently the water was shut off and that pipe was fixed but when the water gets turned back on there is a likelihood of the rest of the piping bursting under pressure if indeed the problem was caused by a frozen pipe. If so, I assume the whole house will need to be re-piped and with 6 bathrooms that will be pricey. The kitchen, though updated is also without all major appliances. The bank will not let anyone inside the house before buying it, which makes it look like there is a lot to hide. The previous owners had also been updating the house with can lighting as well as adding the wraparound decking and modernizing the yard – not that you can tell anymore the place has been neglected so long and the pool is now a frog pond. Possibly the house is in such bad shape that it is a total loss – black mold, dry rot, structural damage – who knows what is wrong? Further the bank is requiring monies be payed up front (you can’t make an offer without paying earnest money and you can’t order an inspection without that payment – which is highly unusual). Furthermore this money is not to be held by your Realtor but directly payed to the bank so that if an offer falls through you cannot easily get your money back. My Realtor said “Run Away!”.

Jolie Ward June 14, 2011 at 6:25 pm

I know this is an old article but it is wonderful to let my son search the web on his ancestors home. It is true that Whitehall was the inspiration for Twelve Oaks in Gone With The Wind but also the inspiration for Margaret Mitchell as it has been stated by many generations of my family. Lovely article and lovely pictures of this beautiful Greek Revival.

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