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Mount Airy is a city in Surry County, North Carolinamarker, United Statesmarker. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 8,484.


Mount Airy is located at (36.500756, -80.609311) , along the Ararat River.

The United States Census Bureau says the city has a total area of 8.4 square miles (21.7 km²), all of it land.


Downtown Mount Airy, NC on January 27, 2008.
As of the census of 2000, there were 8,484 people, 3,667 households, and 2,130 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,010.8 people per square mile (390.4/km²). There were 4,129 housing units at an average density of 491.9/sq mi (190.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.34% White descent, 7.99% African American, 0.35% Native American, 2.55% Asian American, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 2.49% from other races, and 1.24% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.87% of the population.

World's largest open faced granite quarry, near Mount Airy.
were 3,667 households out of which 24.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.6% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.9% were non-families. 38.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.16 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.6% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 25.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 84.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,910, and the median income for a family was $33,412. Males had a median income of $27,299 versus $24,830 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,237. About 17.4% of families and 19.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.7% of those under age 18 and 20.7% of those age 65 or over.


Mount Airy was the birthplace and childhood home of American actor Andy Griffith, and is widely believed to be the inspiration for the fictional community Mayberry, the setting of The Andy Griffith Show and its sequel, Mayberry RFD. Until he returned to Mount Airy, 45 years after the show, Griffith denied the connection. Several locations and names mentioned in both shows reflect real places and people in or near Mount Airy, including Mount Pilot (nearby Pilot Mountainmarker and the town named for itmarker) and Snappy Lunch, a restaurant which still operates in the city's downtown area and is famous for its pork chop sandwich. The community holds an annual "Mayberry Days" celebration during the last weekend of September; the celebration regularly attracts thousands of visitors from around the world.In episode #154 of the Andy Griffith Show,"Aunt Bee's Invisible Beau" Andy is clearly seen in closeup reading what could be a Mount Airy newspaper. All that is visible are the words "Airy News". This could be another connection between Mount Airy and Mayberry.

Bluegrass and Old-Time music

The home of old-time music legend Tommy Jarrell and country singer Donna Fargo, Mount Airy has a long history with regional music. Mount Airy's WPAQ 740 AM radio is one of the few Bluegrass and Old-Time music stations still operating and has been airing the live radio show Merry-Go-Round from the Downtown Cinema Theatre since 1948. Weekly bluegrass jam sessions at The Andy Griffith Playhouse and the annual Mount Airy Fiddlers Convention also serve to attract old-time musicians from across the region and the world. The Blue Ridge Music Centermarker with its amphitheater and music museum of old-time music is just a few miles away on the Blue Ridge Parkwaymarker at Milepost 213, near Galax, Virginiamarker.

Chang and Eng Bunker

Mount Airy was also the home of the famous Siamese Twins, Chang and Eng Bunker (1811–1874), Chinese brothers born in Siam, now Thailandmarker. Chang and Eng were joined by a band of cartilage at the chest (xiphopagus) and with current surgical procedures could have easily been separated. For many years they traveled with the Barnum circus, and upon retiring in the 1840s they married sisters Sarah and Adelaide Yates of North Carolina and purchased two adjoining farm properties just west of Mount Airy in the community of White Plainsmarker.

Together they fathered between 20 and 23 children (accounts vary, and many of the children died in early childhood). The twins would spend three days at one farm then three days at the second farm. They owned slaves before and during the American Civil War; Chang's son Christopher and Eng's son Stephen both fought for the Confederacy. In January 1874, Chang, who was a heavy drinker, fell ill with pneumonia and died during the night. Eng also died within a few hours, surrounded by his and his brother's families. The brothers are buried at White Plains Baptist Church, and many of their descendants still live in the Mount Airy area.

The June, 2006, issue of National Geographicmarker has an article that focuses on the Bunkers. There are some 1,500 descendants of the Bunker twins. Among them are 11 sets of twins, none of them conjoined.

In addition, "The Wedding of the Siamese Twins" by Burton Cohen, a play detailing the salacious and often amusing lives of Chang and Eng Bunker, is scheduled to be performed annually at the Andy Griffith Playhouse in Mount Airy.

William Alfred Moore House

The William Alfred Moore house, built in 1860, is the earliest known structure still standing in Mount Airy. The house is known for its Italianate and Victorian exterior and Greek revival interior. In the front yard stands a rare (c.1865) hexagonal gazebo made of wood poles and intervening laurel root walls. The Moore house is owned by the Mount Airy Restoration Foundation.[19354]


Millnnium Charter Academy an Independent Public School, serving the grades from kindergarten - year eight, charging no tuition fees and open to all is located at 500 Old Springs Road near the intersection of Old Springs Road and Riverside Drive.

Notable people



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