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A lively crowd gathered in downtown Atlanta’s Margaret Mitchell Square on July 17 to celebrate its recent facelift and renovation. The enthusiastic group of neighbors, community leaders, sponsors and media braved the heat and humidity to pay homage to the memory of Margaret Mitchell, and to admire the magnolia trees and fountains in the spruced up square.  The plaza honoring the legacy of Atlanta’s Pulitzer Prize winning author is located in the Fairlie-Poplar district at the three way intersection of Peachtree, Forsyth and Carnegie Way. The crowd whooped and applauded when Mayor Kasim Reed and VIPS dramatically pressed a big red button which turned on the two fountains in the square.

Originally installed in 1986, Margaret Mitchell Square features graceful, stainless steel sculptures by renowned artist Kit-Yin Snyder who drew her inspiration from Southern antebellum architecture.  The square is nestled among some of Atlanta’s most historic buildings like the Rhodes-Haverty and Candler Buildings.

It looks out on the contemporary architecture of the Atlanta Fulton Public Library and Peachtree Center MARTA station.  The sleek Georgia Pacific skyscraper across Peachtree Street is on the site of the Loew’s Grand, where the premiere of Gone With The Wind took place.  An ideal location, the square reflects the essence of Ms. Mitchell, who had a keen respect for the past, but who was also fiercely independent and modern.

The beautiful restoration work at Margaret Mitchell Square was overseen by the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Program, working in cooperation with Central Atlanta Progress, and with the financial support of Norfolk Southern.  Check it out next next time y’all are downtown.

Editor’s Note: Photos by Robin L. Marshall

Pretty Southern contributing arts, food and lifestyle reporter, Karen Hatchett is a life-long Southerner and resident of Smyrna, Ga.  She’s a PR professional, arts & music lover, jewelry designer and casual gardener.