Friday, September 18, 2009

Hampton Hotels Heads to Mayberry to Fix Up The Andy Griffith Show’s Old City Jail

(BUSINESS WIRE)--In 1960, the first episode of The Andy Griffith Show aired, and Sheriff Andy Taylor, Deputy Barney Fife, Opie, and Aunt Bee won over the hearts of viewers everywhere. The quaint, fictional town of Mayberry felt like home for many. Now, fans can visit familiar Mayberry landmarks in Mount Airy, N.C., Andy Griffith’s hometown. The historic Old City Jail is one such place, and today local volunteers from Hampton Hotels’ Save-A-Landmark program (www.hamptonlandmarks.com) will help to restore this historic site. The jail is the 48th landmark to be refurbished in the 39th state through the Save-A-Landmark program.

More than 20 volunteers gathered from local Hampton Hotels throughout North Carolina to help preserve the site in time for the town’s annual Mayberry Days festival. The work included general cleaning of the facility, painting, and landscaping. Hampton Hotels’ Save-A-Landmark program will donate $10,000 to the Old City Jail for future refurbishment efforts including renewed flooring at the site. Hampton also surprised the local Jones Intermediate School of Mount Airy with a check for $5,000 to help buy new books and supplies for the school’s library. Spokesperson Chris Epting, author & pop-culture historian, also spoke to the 4th grade class at Jones Intermediate School about the importance of preserving their local community.

“The Andy Griffith Show is truly a representation of American life in the 1960s,” said Judy Christa-Cathey, vice president of global brand marketing for Hampton Hotels. “I can still remember watching the show with my family as a child and feeling a connection to those characters and the town of Mayberry. Hampton Hotels’ Save-A-Landmark program is helping to ensure that the Old City Jail and the spirit of Mayberry are carried on for future generations to enjoy.”

Old City Jail was home to Mount Airy’s real jail for many years and served as its Municipal Building, which housed many city offices and the local police department. Several years ago, the offices moved to a new Municipal Building and the town re-created the Old City Jail. Mount Airy is Andy Griffith’s hometown and is reflected in many ways in The Andy Griffith Show’s town of Mayberry. Every year, fans can celebrate Mayberry’s charm during Mount Airy’s annual festival, Mayberry Days. Mayberry Days is held September 24-27 and offers activities for the whole family, such as tribute actors like “The Deputy” and “Floyd the Barber,” local bands playing The Andy Griffith Show theme songs, and old-fashioned soda pop for all to enjoy.

The Old City Jail is Hampton’s seventh landmark to be restored in 2009 as part of the “All-American Landmarks” campaign. This year, Hampton is devoted to restoring sites that represent what it means to be American, just like Mayberry’s Old City Jail as well as others like the Steamboat Belle of Louisville in Louisville, Ky. and the Neon Museum in Las Vegas, Nev. Each site that Save-A-Landmark will refurbish reflects the individual personalities of the states and their residents and signifies defining moments in the country’s past.

Communities across the country showed their American spirit by casting thousands of votes to help elect the nine landmarks that will be restored this year. The public voted for their favorite “All-American Landmarks” in nine states, including Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Over the years, Hampton has worked to preserve 47 other historical, fun and cultural landmarks from the Carousel Gardens in New Orleans, La. to the historical National Monument to the Forefathers in Plymouth, Mass. During this time, the program has helped research landmarks in need, promoted landmark sites and their importance, facilitated tens of thousands of volunteer hours, donated several tons of supplies and worked with matching grants – all at an investment of more than $3.5 million. Uniting its hotels together in the communities they serve, Hampton employee-volunteers work hand-in-hand on the landmarks while Hampton provides the financial support to refurbish selected sites. The Save-A-Landmark program has already successfully refurbished a landmark in 38 states, continuing on with the ultimate goal to “save” a landmark from each of the 50 states by the end of 2010.

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