Local Legend: Belle Brezing
Long before Belle Brezing made her appearance in Gone With the Wind under the name Belle Watling, she had achieved the status of a local folk hero in her native Lexington (or perennial villain, depending on your viewpoint). She was a poor girl who made good, a queen of the underworld, a hooker with a heart of gold. A rough childhood helped put her on a path that included alcoholism, morphine addiction, a daughter raised as an orphan and another dead as an infant, but also helped make her an avid reader, a local philanthropist, and a fashion plate. Learn more about her fame, her infamy, and the dark edges of her childhood and old age .