Wednesday, September 26, 2007

There's a Mayberry, all right

Associated Press National Writer Allen Breed's story
about Thelma Lou’s decision to move from California to Mount Airy reminded me that folks often say the fictional Mayberry of the “Andy Griffith Show” doesn’t really exist. No place could be so wholesome, so American, so laden with the kinds of values most folks hold dear, at least in spirit if not in reality, the theory goes.
Betty Lynn, the actress who played Barney’s girlfriend Thelma Lou in the sitcom, is not only a new resident of Mount Airy but also an honoree of the 18th annual Mayberry Days this weekend and grand marshal of the Mayberry Days Parade Saturday (Sept. 29).
Mount Airy probably comes pretty close to being Mayberry, what with its Snappy Lunch and Floyd’s Barbership (“Two chairs, no waiting”). And it is Andy Griffith’s hometown, of course, though the actor has lived in Manteo at the eastern end of the state for many years.
Mount Airy sits in the foothills very near where the Blue Ridge Mountains rise up in, as Sam Ervin once said about Table Rock, “indescribable glory.” Yes, they do. And they embrace in their loving grasp the real Mayberry. It’s not in North Carolina. It’s in Virginia, overlooking North Carolina.
If you’ve been down the Blue Ridge Parkway near its crossing into North Carolina, you’ve just about been through Mayberry. It’s a tiny settlement, not even a town. It can’t be more than 15 miles from Griffith’s hometown, but it’s been there for more than a century.
Mayberry Trading Post dates to 1892 and once housed the post office for residents of the region. You can see a picture of it here.
And many families, including ours, still worship from time to time just up the road at Mayberry Presbyterian Church, built by the late mountain preacher Bob Childress in the 1920s. His grandson Stuart Childress preaches there today.
The Mayberry church land was given by a man named Ceph Scott, whose home still stands. It’s currently owned by Dr. Harold Spangler, who says he’s a cousin – “a poor cousin,” he emphasizes – of Charlotte and Chapel Hill businessman C.D. Spangler, one of North Carolina’s wealthiest men.
For more history on the real Mayberry, here’s a link to a 1984 article in The Mountain Laurel.

19 comments:

Steve said...

I was unaware of Va's Mayberry. Thanks for the tip. Imagine that, Thelma Lou comes home! Lol. I know that "Aunt Bee" lived for a long time in Siler City until her death a number of years ago. "Mayberry" did have that peaceful lure.

David McKnight said...

Good for Mayberry, Va.! Andy Griffith is from North Carolina and Don Knotts was from West Virginia, so they could have met up in good ol' Mayberry, Va., for a cup of coffee at the diner especially if Juanita was working the counter.

A toast also to a couple of Carolina towns which, if you took the first part of one and the second part of the other, would give you a composite Mayberry of sorts:

Mayodan, N.C., and Newberry, S.C.

Anonymous said...

I have traveled the North Carolinas only second to DANIEL BOONE and they have beautiful towns; This is one good thing I'll say about North Carolina. Morganton, Forest City just behind Chimney Rock, Mt. Airy another great city Bryson city, Hendersonville in warm seasons, Brevardand Waynesville mountain town is to die for. Try Wilkesboro is you really want senic driving and the town is wonderful. Charlotte does not represent what N.C. is all about. Greensboro, Raliegh and Calabash , New Bern all fine towns with nice People. Even Raliegh has a pleasing attitude and astetics.

Anonymous said...

I wish People in Charlotte would model themselves after the small towns we would all be in better shape.

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