Perhaps the most famous home in Siler City — the one previously owned by Frances Bavier, who played Aunt Bee on “The Andy Griffith Show” — has a new owner, and fans of the classic show could eventually be able to visit the home as a tourist attraction.
The home, located at 503 W. Elk St. in the Chatham County town of Siler City, was up for sale last year, The News & Observer reported. Chatham County tax records show that Kathryn Nail now owns the property.
Bavier purchased the home in 1972 and lived there until her death at age 86, in 1989, The N&O previously reported.
In an article posted last week, Nail, the new owner, told The Chatham News + Record she is considering plans to turn the stately home into either an official tourist attraction for fans of “The Andy Griffith Show,” or possibly a bed and breakfast.
Nail moved to Siler City from California after she purchased the home, The News + Record reported.
The Zillow listing for the home says the home sold in August of last year for $375,000 — significantly less than the $600,000 price tag on the home when it was originally listed in September 2020, according to Zillow. Chatham County tax records show the home has an assessed value of about $361,000.
Nail told The News + Record that the 5,000-square-feet, three-story home “was a mess” when she first bought it, and that it will need significant work — totaling about $250,000 — before it can fully operate for tourists, or whatever purpose its future may hold.
When the home was previously for sale in 2009, The Mount Airy News reported that the house was custom built in 1951 by a local doctor, whose wife was a horticulturist.
The large, stately home has a brick exterior with stone accents. Inside, there are five bedrooms and four bathrooms, along with 11-foot-tall ceilings, crystal chandeliers, hardwood floors and ornate woodwork. The N&O previously reported that each room in the house has two entrances, which allows people to walk through the entire house without having to turn around.
The home also has a basement, attic, two-car garage and porches, bringing its total footprint to about 9,000-square-feet.
Before her death, Bavier was known in Siler City to keep to herself and be reclusive, living alone with her 14 cats. An Associated Press obituary said Bavier used the home’s downstairs shower as a litter box, but there are no indications that was actually the case, according to later owners of the home.
When Bavier died, she left part of her estate to the Siler City Police Department and UNC-TV, now known as PBS North Carolina.
Even now, before the home has been transformed to an official tourist destination by Nail, it is already known to draw fans of “The Andy Griffith Show” looking for a glimpse of “Aunt Bee’s” real-life home. Fans are known to drive by the home, as well as Bavier’s gravesite in Siler City’s Oakwood Cemetery.
This story was originally published August 25, 2022 10:49 AM.
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