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Andy Griffith From Mount Airy, North Carolina

Updated on January 28, 2020
Jackie Lynnley profile image

The author is from this part of the country with a great understanding of the southern people and their loving and special ways.

If you want more than to kick back and watch reruns for serenity and if you are looking for a physical Mayberry, then Mount Airy is your place. The only thing missing are the characters who have all passed but one and who knows, maybe they too come to visit now and then.

Mount Airy: Andy's Home Town
Mount Airy: Andy's Home Town | Source

The Andy Griffith Museum

Provides a permanent place for world’s largest collection of Andy Griffith memorabilia. Located next to Andy Griffith Playhouse 1/2 mile from Andy’s boyhood home, the museum houses items collected by childhood friend Emmett Forrest. The museum includes iconic signs from the show’s courthouse doors that read: “Sheriff” and “Justice of the Peace.” There are also mementos from Don Knotts who played Deputy Barney Fife, actress Betty Lynn who plated Thelma Lou and George Lindsey who played Goober.

Andy Griffith - What a guy he was! We love you Andy! RIP
Andy Griffith - What a guy he was! We love you Andy! RIP | Source

"I was baptized alongside my mother when I was 8 years old. Since then, I have tried to walk a Christian life.

~ Andy Griffith

Is Mayberry Mount Airy?

Maybe everyone doesn't know Andy Griffith who played Andy Taylor; the sheriff of Mayberry, but most in the US over 40 surely must. I know we southerners all do!

Even today the reruns are as popular as they ever were and no one tires of them. It is a relaxing time to sit and watch Andy and Barney and laugh at the same scenes we know by heart.

So we may fall off to sleep after dinner watching it, it is so relaxing and because we know Andy is always there in Mayberry, all is well with the world. We can never bring back the past, except with a show like this.

There was no literal Mayberry, North Carolina but it was based on Andy’s location of birth in Mount Airy where he was born in 1926. Some say he denied that but if he did I would guess it was for legal purposes for anyone seeing the show and knowing the town could not be more sure of this.

Even today people hold on to that legacy in Mount Airy, to preserve it as long as is possible. There are many left with Andy’s spirit and love of his hometown. Will that ever die? Not until all memory of AKA, Andy Taylor dies. He will always live on in film, very real to many of us.

Today Mount Airy claims Mayberry and all it's memories. You could say that the town of Mount Airy is all about Andy and I cannot help but think that pleased him…so much. He is top dog now in a town where he must have felt many times in youth as an underdog.

Rest in peace Andy; your friends will never forget you.

The Darlings/Mount Airy Gift Shop

Photo of sketch in shop in Mount Airy
Photo of sketch in shop in Mount Airy

Andy's Bloodline

Andy was an only child and preceded in death by a son, Sam and has a daughter living, named Dixie. He only had these two children with one of his three wives.

Full Circle. He Did Come Home Again.

Andy Griffith was born in 1926 and raised in Mount Airy, then went right through high school and became interested in drama and the arts right there!

He was very poor and as in most cases of comedians; no doubt used comedy as a cover for not caring. Who can laugh at you when you laugh at yourself?

Andy went on to Chapel Hill in North Carolina to college with plans to be a Moravian preacher. I only learned that as of this writing which is quite interesting to me with my own interest and writings of the Moravian religion with the Anna Catharina archives the Moravians left us that I have written several articles on.

I hope to find more on that later as to why he chose the Moravian faith although it is the earliest Christian religion in America and in this near area to Mount Airy; I still would be curious to find out more. But alas; he chose show biz in the end anyway!

Andy Griffith; who died in 2012 at the age of 86; was not only beloved as Andy Taylor; sheriff of Mayberry but also for his long running series Matlock. As Ben Matlock he was quite loveable too. (Besides the many plays and films.)

My sister-in-law and many others like her would not watch him play another role wanting only to see him as the Mayberry sheriff.

I could not understand this until I had a bit of a shock myself. He also made several movies and was such a terrific actor.

One movie he did and I do not recall the title; he plays a dirty old man and I am sitting with my mouth hanging open in disgust!

Well I am over it now and realize that is just a terrific actor but I was not quite ready for that at that time! When I told my sister-in-law all she had to say was “See?”

"People started saying that Mayberry was based on Mount Airy. It sure sounds like it, doesn't it?"

–Andy Griffith

If you watched this show this was one of the best. Barney is taking everyone out to show off his car and the steering wheel knob is like a cobra and really scares Thelma Lou!
If you watched this show this was one of the best. Barney is taking everyone out to show off his car and the steering wheel knob is like a cobra and really scares Thelma Lou!

Fans of Andy Griffith Show

Can step back to a simpler time when they visit Mount Airy. Actor Andy Griffith grew up here, and it’s no coincidence that a stroll down Main Street in the "Friendly City" reminds people of the town of Mayberry on the endearing popular ‘60s hit TV series, The Andy Griffith Show. Fans of the show can visit Floyd’s City Barber Shop, the Old Mayberry Jail, Snappy Lunch, and even Andy’s childhood home. You’ll be sure to relish the generous spirit of The Andy Griffith Show.

The Town of Mount Airy Made Andy Proud

As I visited Mount Airy and the part they called Mayberry, it was just so amazing how like the things of Mayberry they had it.

There was Otis Campbell's jail cell in Mayberry's jail house of course. There was the cooler that Otis hid his booze in and Barney later got drunk on!

The desk that Andy and Barney sat at for many series shots was there and even the file cabinet in the corner Barney often went through. (All replica's of course but it is real while you are looking.)

Many of my photos had modern day people in them but I could hardly ask people to move!

I loved the old Wally’s station with the ancient gas pumps but as many as six people would be sitting around them drinking a cool soda right out of those old machines on that hot day and so no Wally originals to take home!

I loved the big long coke machine that looked more like an old time deep freezer and the old tires and machinery to fix the cars. Pure trash to some folks but a happy memories for so many of us!

More than memories to many

Andy the Singer

Have you ever heard Andy sing? He was also a gospel singer who won a Grammy Award in 1997 for his album “I Love to Tell the Story” He sang on his Mayberry show and Matlock plus other of his performances; most notably "A Face in the Crowd".

Otis's Jail Cell

I don't remember it being quite this comfy for Otis; do you?
I don't remember it being quite this comfy for Otis; do you?

Widow Destroys Andy's Home

The widow of actor Andy Griffith has demolished the house where he lived for many years on the North Carolina waterfront, ensuring that the site will never be used for an Andy Griffith museum, as the actor may have envisaged.

Cindi Griffith obtained a demolition permit for the Dare County home in March; the house was torn down in late May, according to county planning director Donna Creef. The house was on Roanoke Island, near Manteo, N.C. It’s one of two homes Griffith owned in the area. The second, larger home still stands. Griffith died in July, 2012.

Friend's of Andy's Shocked

Many of Griffith's older friends met him while they worked in "The Lost Colony," an outdoor drama that tells the story of the 1587 colony on the North Carolina coast that mysteriously disappeared.

Ira David Wood III, who is the show's executive director this summer, first worked at "The Lost Colony" in 1968. He recalled going to Griffith's house and taking a pontoon boat to a sandbar where Griffith and his guests played volleyball for hours. "He hated to lose, and he did cheat," Wood said, laughing at the fond memory.

He said he was shocked to learn the house would be demolished. "I always assumed the property would be eventually preserved and opened to the public," Wood said, saying he thought it might be maintained like Elvis Presley's property Graceland in Memphis, Tenn. Just as Presley is buried at Graceland, Griffith is buried on the large piece of property he owned on the North Carolina coast. It was not immediately clear how far Griffith's grave is from his older house or the newer one.

The Andy Griffith Show

Did you watch it?

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Mayberry stars

Oops for the sun glare getting some of the shots.
Oops for the sun glare getting some of the shots.

Andy's Fall Festival!

Autumn Leaves Festival

City: Mount Airy, NC

Produced by: Autumn Leaves Festival

The Autumn Leaves Festival showcases our rich musical heritage, such as Old-Time, Blue Grass and Gospel performed by local musicians on the downtown stage; the unique arts & crafts of more than 170 craftsmen line the streets with many demonstrating their talents and skills passed down through the generations; then there is “Food for the Soul”

Wally's Truck

Wally's Truck at Mount Airy. I know it isn't real but it was such a thrill standing beside these treasures and pretending it all really was a true story!
Wally's Truck at Mount Airy. I know it isn't real but it was such a thrill standing beside these treasures and pretending it all really was a true story!

More great photos you will love as Andy sings!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Jackie Lynnley


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