With Mount Airy set to celebrate Mayberry Days, a local author has released a book focusing on scenes from the city’s past and present which include Andy Griffith.
The latest work by Tom Perry, who was born in Mount Airy and previously authored other books on various facets of regional history, is titled “Images of Mount Airy, North Carolina.”
Its 220 pages include 14 chapters and more than 200 black-and-white photographs devoted to subject matter that includes Griffith, Donna Fargo, the granite quarry and structures made of that material, the Dinky Railroad, the downtown area, schools and other aspects of the city.
Perry’s newest book project was several years in the making, and the author says it is not meant to be the definitive history of Mount Airy but to highlight notable elements of the city to interest both residents and visitors.
With Andy Griffith being a huge part of that legacy, Perry was assisted by Emmett Forrest, a longtime local friend of the actor, who supplied images of Griffith while he lived in Mount Airy.
Other photos of the book came from the archives of the Surry County Historical Society, Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, Mount Airy High School, the Gilmer-Smith Foundation and many private individuals including Burke Robertson and Steve Talley.
Perry said Donna Fargo personally worked with him on the chapter on her life.
Mayor Deborah Cochran wrote the foreword for “Images of Mount Airy,” supplying a down-to-Earth portrayal of life in the city she now leads which includes the help her family received from a caring community during tough times.
“She speaks about her dreams and how the place she called home made her dreams come true,” Perry says in a news release about the book produced by Laurel Hill Publishing.
Gracing its cover is the James Hadley House on Pine Street, considered one of the oldest and finest examples of granite and Victorian architecture in Mount Airy. Perry has injected his personal knowledge about that house into the book, as he does on other subjects throughout, explaining that his grandparents lived nearby and he often looked at the “giant house” as a youth.
He also covers other aspects surrounding the heritage of Mount Airy, the basis for the fictional town of Mayberry in “The Andy Griffith Show.”
In connection with Mayberry Days this week, Perry will be at Talley’s Frame Shop at 212 N. Main St. on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to sign copies of the book and others he has authored.
He also will be there during the Autumn Leaves Festival, on Friday from noon to 4 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.
The new book is available at outlets including Pages bookstore in Mount Airy.