5 Fun Facts About Covington Film Tourism
Have you heard about the Hollywood of the South™? Contrary to popular belief, it is officially Covington Georgia, where more than 125 films and TV productions have been made. There are many filming locations to visit, and you might recognize some of them in the movies and TV series that were filmed here. Recognizing a film tourism destination is one thing, but knowing some interesting facts about the locations is another matter.
Count on us to give you bite-sized chunks of filming facts. Here are some fun facts you might not know about our filming locations:
An Inspirational Filming Location
The Twelve Oaks is one of our most popular filming locations in Covington, and it’s well-known for its inspiration in the epic award-winning 1939 film Gone With the Wind. As the story goes, author Margaret Mitchell saw a photo of The Twelve Oaks in The Atlanta Journal and sent the clipping to the movie producers, who ended up using it as inspiration for the home of Ashley Wilkes.
This location is movie-induced tourism, where you can relive the emotions of the location as depicted in the movie, at its finest! While many people visit the home, not a single scene of Gone With the Wind was filmed in Georgia. However, this beautiful Antebellum home was used in many films and TV productions since then, including The Vampire Diaries, In the Heat of the Night, Vacation, Bessie and Halloween II.
The Church that is More Southern
One of the first filming locations where cameras started rolling in Covington was at the First United Methodist Church in 1954. The film A Man Called Peter was about a Scotsman who immigrated to the U.S. and became a Presbyterian minister and Chaplain for the Senate. He was the pastor of the Covington First Presbyterian Church. The movie is based on a true story, but the church scenes were not filmed at the real place. Producers chose the First United Methodist Church as the filming location because this beautiful Greek Revival was said to be more southern!
The Hauntings at Gaither's at Myrtle Creek Farm
Gaither's at Myrtle Creek Farm already had a history and haunting past before Hollywood came along. It is said that the Gaither House is haunted by Cecilia Gaither, one of its previous owners. People have heard her ghost move the furniture and make a lot of noise around the house.
A fun fact is that Cecilia made noise during the filming of one scene in Madea’s Family Reunion. Strange noises were heard from upstairs, so the film crew kept going to check and couldn’t find anything. Maybe Cecilia wanted to be a part of the movie-induced tourism! In any event, the noise finally stopped after someone shouted, “Will the ghost please cooperate this time.”
The Recognizable Clock Tower
Anyone interested in film tourism must visit our downtown Square. The Historic Newton County Courthouse with its clock tower is one of the places along the Square which is easily recognizable. You might have seen it in The Dukes of Hazzard and In the Heat of the Night. If you are a fan of The Vampire Diaries, you might have lost count of how many times town vampires hung out on the clock tower.
So, here’s an interesting fact. You can’t climb up to the clock tower. You might get lucky one day to have the opportunity to tour the Bell Tower, by appointment only at the Historic Courthouse. The good news is that you can snap a picture in front of it. You can also get a really good view of it on the rooftop of Mystic Grill. As a side note, slip into The Alley at Mystic Grill on your way down from the rooftop to see props from films and get souvenirs. You can also go across the street to see the On Location TV and Movie museum and get souvenirs.
Transformation of the Courthouse
As mentioned above, the Historic Courthouse was seen in many movies and TV productions. It was filmed as the Hazzard Courthouse and the Sparta Courthouse; in addition, it was magically transformed into Hotel Albert during the filming of Selma. What you might not know is that Hotel Albert’s Reception Desk, Pigeon Hole Key and Letter Holder is now a part of our film tourism! SELMA Productions graciously donated these items to the Courthouse for tourists to enjoy. The room keys are even still hanging in the Pigeon Holes. It remains on the first floor as you enter the Historic Courthouse. The building is open to the public from Monday to Friday.
While you are visiting Covington, stop by our Visitors Center to get more tidbits of information. Also, plan for a tour! You can take your own self-guided tour or arrange for a tour from The Vampire Stalkers Mystic Falls Tours.