A hidden gem — and Scarlett O’Hara — await…
By Cory Sekine-Pettite
Residents of Cobb County know that it is a special place with a seemingly endless variety of parks and other green spaces, entertainment and sports venues, museums and other cultural institutions, a major university, and much more. It is a mission of this publication to inform locals and visitors about all that our great county has to offer. It is especially rewarding to share the news on so-called “hidden gems,” places that deserve a little more recognition. One such locale is Brumby Hall & Gardens.
Picture it: You’re standing in a brick-paved courtyard; there’s a calming fountain on one end and an historic, impeccably maintained home on the other end. This intimate and peaceful setting is lined with trees and floral splendor. As you stroll slowly through the greenspace, taking in the sounds of the birds and fragrant flora, your destination is just ahead — a cozy, romantic gazebo.
Doesn’t this sound like the perfect location for a wedding, a baby shower, or even a corporate event? Well, what if I told you this hidden oasis not only was nearby, but in fact, is just minutes from Marietta Square? There is, indeed, an almost magical atmosphere to Brumby Hall & Gardens, so we asked representatives Deborah Koss and Lindsey Wiles to tell us all about it. But first, here’s a brief history lesson on the property (which is now cared for by the City of Marietta).
Brumby Hall & Gardens
According to the city, Brumby Hall is a pre-Civil War home built by Colonel Arnoldus V. Brumby in 1851 while he served as the first superintendent of the nearby Georgia Military Institute (GMI), which was located where the Hilton Marietta Hotel & Conference Center stands today. The house was used as a makeshift hospital during the Civil War, and survived Gen. Sherman’s torch during the burning of Atlanta as an apparent courtesy to Col. Brumby since the men had attended West Point at the same time (U.S. Military Academy).
The Moore/Trezevant family owned the house for many years, with daughter Matilda “Tilly” Trezevant its final occupant until 1995. A group known as Friends of Brumby Hall became overseers for the house for several years, holding meetings in the home and furnishing the interior with period antiques. In 2018, the Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum, a popular tourist attraction on the Marietta Square for decades, needed a new home. With the Tara-like facade and large front porch, Brumby Hall seemed to be the perfect location. After the move, the Hilton Atlanta Marietta Hotel and Conference Center, which had previously overseen the almost 15,000 square feet of gardens, relinquished caretaker duties to the City of Marietta. Thanks to the city’s Parks & Recreation Department, the gardens have become a virtual wonderland of floral delight. A favorite venue with brides-to-be due to the beauty and tranquility that permeates the house and gardens, it appears that nature’s “perfect spot for a wedding” will not remain a hidden gem very long.
Since the city took over, officials have been overseeing a series of updates and improvements to both the home and the gardens. According to Wiles, who is communications manager for the City of Marietta, there are four total gardens that are available for facilities or for event rentals, She says that with recent enhancements “it’s easier for visitors to walk [around] and see the spaces, and it’s more inviting for weddings and any other kind of events — more so than it has been in the past.”
If you’re planning a wedding or another type of event soon, place Brumby Hall & Gardens on your list. Koss, facilities coordinator, says they can accommodate just about anything for up to 200 guests. “We’ve had a number of baby showers, engagement parties, birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, so we even had a reception after a funeral,” she said. “So, yes, we have all sorts of events in the gardens.”
Additionally, you may choose your own vendors, or work with the vendors approved by Brumby Hall. There’s a full list of approved providers on the facility’s website, as well as a thorough FAQ page to answer most questions related to bookings. Visit brumbyhallmarietta.com for details.
All the gardens can be rented year-round, and they can be both tented and heated for slightly inclement weather. Plus, if your event includes guests from out of town, the adjacent Hilton Atlanta Marietta Hotel and Conference Center (and its golf course) are a convenient option for overnight or weekend stays. “I think we’re lucky that we are right next to the Hilton,” Wiles said. “We have the use because the city of Marietta owns the conference center and also owns the museum. We have the use of that parking lot right there, so that’s convenient. Also, if you were to get married at the gardens, you could have your guests stay at the Hilton right there. So, convenience is a big thing.
“We are very close to the Marietta Square and everything that the square has to offer,” she continued. “I think the gardens are just a lovely place to get married. In one of our bigger gardens, we have a pavilion and a gazebo already, and those are structures people can utilize for ceremonies and receptions. So, I think it’s just a good outdoor experience, and it doesn’t feel like you’re in the middle of a city, but you have the convenience of being right here.”
Marietta Gone with the Wind Museum
According to museum officials, the Marietta Gone with the Wind Museum has been a mainstay in Marietta since 2003, when it opened in the historic Old Thomas Warehouse Building near the Marietta Square. The museum moved to its new home (Brumby Hall) in April of 2018. Following a series of upgrades, officials held a grand reopening this past June.
“Making that move, there was a lot of improvements and repair work that needed to be done to the house before that. Our facilities crew did a lot of repairs — HVAC work, repairs to the siding, the roof, and that took up a good deal of funds. After that, over the last couple of years, we’ve worked slowly to enhance the gardens in the back,” said Wiles.
With an extensive collection of memorabilia relating to the book and movie, you do not have to be a die-hard fan of the film to enjoy the vast history surrounding one of the world’s most beloved books and movies. The book has never left bookshelves since 1936, and the film is the number-one box office movie of all time (when allowing for inflation).
This exclusive exhibit is owned by Vicky Lynn Rogers who has been collecting these items for more than 30 years. Mrs. Rogers currently owns and operates the Gone With the Wind Remembered Museum in Cleburne, Texas. It features several original pieces as well as items that are extremely rare, including one of the most iconic costume pieces from the movie, the mourning bonnet worn by Scarlett O’Hara, played by Vivien Leigh. Additionally, there are one-of-a-kind pieces including, the Shantytown dress, and Rhett Butler’s (Clark Gable) jacket. The collection also includes the original Dan Sayre Groesbeck painting which hung in Loews Lobby during the premier of Gone With the Wind on Dec. 15, 1939. The museum is also home to the six original Walter Plunkett costume sketches which include Scarlett’s iconic green BBQ dress.
To learn more about the museum and to plan your visit, go to gwtwmarietta.com.