News From Terre Haute, Indiana


July 4, 2012

So long, sheriff

In ‘Mayberry of the Midwest,’ Griffith’s spirit alive and well

CLAY CITY, IND. — The people of Clay City, a town self-identified as the “Mayberry of the Midwest,” were saddened Tuesday as word spread of the death in North Carolina of Andy Griffith, the father-figure, sheriff and star of the classic television series, “The Andy Griffith Show.”

Griffith created the fictional town of Mayberry as a place where the telephone operator is on a first-name basis with everyone, where the town drunk is a lovable character who locks himself in jail at night, where the sheriff doesn’t carry a gun and where the deputy sheriff is limited to a single bullet.

In late 1999, civic-minded residents of Clay City, a small Clay County town, voted to make “Mayberry of the Midwest” the town’s slogan. The next year, Clay City USA, an organization promoting tourism and business, had the slogan trademarked. Donations paid for signs at the city’s main entrances welcoming visitors to the “Mayberry of the Midwest.”

Some people, at the time, objected, but it was hard to find anyone Tuesday who didn’t embrace the association.

“I’ve lived here all my life,” said Jeff Fritz, owner of the Mayberry Malt & Coffee Shoppe, about a block from Main Street. The shop features dozens of pictures from the “Andy Griffith Show” and offers the “Mayberry Loyalty Punch Card” for repeat customers.

“Things don’t change a lot in Clay City,” Fritz said.

Last summer, the bluegrass musicians known as The Dillards, who played the backwoods Darling family on the “Andy Griffith Show,” made a stop at the Mayberry Malt Shoppe, Fritz recalled. They played bluegrass music and answered questions about the classic TV program, which aired from 1960 to 1968. Fritz asked one of the Dillards whether it was as fun to be a part of the TV program as it appeared.

“It was more fun than that,” was the answer, Fritz said.

Clay City’s connection to Griffith’s “Mayberry” seems genuine. Most people interviewed Tuesday said the town of fewer than 900 lives up to its adopted slogan.

“Most everybody’s friendly,” said Lynne Brough, a Clay City native, who was eating Tuesday afternoon at the Clay City A&W Root Beer restaurant with her husband and fellow native, Fred.

“Nobody knows a stranger. Everybody knows everybody in town,” Lynne said.

“If I didn’t like it, I’d have moved a long time ago,” Fred added before sipping his tall A&W Root Beer.

In addition to the relatively new malt and coffee shop on the other side of town, several Clay City businesses capitalize on the Mayberry connection. Bob and Angie’s Hometown Restaurant on Main Street features Mayberry fries and the local IGA grocery store sells the Mayberry salad, to name only a few.

“Everyone just goes with it,” said Maggie Dryer, chef and restaurant manager at the 1950s-style Glory Days Restaurant and Pub, also on Main Street. “We’re a very small town. Everybody’s kind of close knit. Everybody’s there to help one another out.”

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Mother of 2 Makes NFL Cheerleading Squad at 40 Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Trial Begins Over OKC Bombing Video Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Thousands at Peace Rally in Tel Aviv Today in History for July 28th Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa Raw: Sirens After Explosions in Israel
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010

Real Estate News