The stately home at 503 West Elk St. in Siler City is beautiful enough to sell on its own merits, without even knowing it’s the most famous house in town.
The 5,000-square-foot, three-story brick home with stone accents is best known as the former home of Frances Bavier, who herself is best known as Aunt Bee from “The Andy Griffith Show.”
Bavier purchased the home in 1972 and lived there until her death at age 86, in 1989.
The home is now for sale for $425,000. (The price was cut by $125,000 in early March, according to the real estate listing site Zillow.com.) Though there is a contract already, the Realtor is accepting backup offers.
The updated kitchen has more than enough counter space for making a double batch of kerosene pickles, and the spacious dining room is large enough to have Barney, Helen and the preacher over for Sunday lunch. The Darling Family would have plenty of room to set up for a little show in the wood-paneled den.
The Mount Airy News wrote an extensive article about the home when it was for sale in 2009 by owners Larry and Vickie Russell. Chatham County tax records show that the home is owned by Larry and Viola Russell.
The Mount Airy News article says that the house was custom built in 1951 by a local doctor, whose wife was a horticulturist.
Russell told the newspaper that each room in the house has two entrances, which allows people to walk through the entire house without having to turn around. The first floor has 11-foot ceilings, crystal chandeliers, hardwood floors and ornate woodwork. The Russells told the Mount Airy News that with the basement, attic and porches, the home is 9,000 square feet.
When she died, an Associated Press obituary said Bavier’s cats used a downstairs shower stall as a litter box, but the Russells told The News & Observer in 2019 that there was never any indication that that actually happened.
The home has been a big attraction for “Andy Griffith Show” fans for years. They drive by the home and then visit Bavier’s grave, in nearby Oakwood Cemetery in Siler City.
Bavier was known around town as a bit of a recluse, living alone with her cats. But when she died, she left a $100,000 trust fund for the Siler City Police Department. The principal is kept at that amount, The News & Observer previously reported, and the interest is divided between staff of roughly 20 every year around Dec. 15.
Bavier also left a good bit of her estate to UNC-TV.
A beautifully restored home
The photos on the Zillow site show that the home has been beautifully restored and maintained, keeping the 1950s retro charm of the tile bathrooms.
From the official online listing:
“This is your chance to own a part of NC history! The former home of “Aunt Bee” from The Andy Griffith Show! This beautiful estate boasts a stately entrance, 11’ ceilings, hardwood floors throughout, 3 fireplaces, large main level primary bedroom, huge living room & kitchen, spacious dining, cozy library, office, & sunroom. 4 bedrooms on second level with Jack’n’Jill bathrooms. Basement offers 2 car garage, huge game/recreation room with wood stove, shower, sink, a “safe room/vault”, and an abundance of storage! This is a must see, too many features to list!”
The listing, by Angela Bailey of Realty One Group, states that interested parties must have a bank letter to view.