- Associated Press - Sunday, May 14, 2017

SCHUYLER, Va. (AP) - “The Waltons” creator Earl Hamner Jr.’s childhood home is for sale and a group of his fans have gathered to buy it.

“We’re going to try to buy it,” Carole Johnson, of Ukiah, California, said on May 6. “We’ll see what happens.”

“It’s Earl’s childhood home,” she said. “All of us have been there numerous times. It holds sentimental value to all of us, and that’s all we want it for - the sentimental value.”

Hamner was best known for writing the TV series “The Waltons.” Born in 1924, Hamner died of cancer in March 2016 at 92.

According to Zillow, a real estate and rental website, the Schuyler home is listed for $249,000.

The home, built in 1925, was put up for sale on May 4, according to Zillow.

Johnson said Ray Castro, director of 2015 documentary “Earl Hamner Storyteller,” learned of the sale Friday and immediately contacted her.

“Immediately I got several calls,” she said. “. All of us Walton fans know already.”

Johnson would not say Saturday how many people are part of the group of potential buyers.

Gayle Harvey with Gayle Harvey Real Estate is the listing agent for the home. She said she was contacted about selling the house two weeks ago.

“The home has been restored beautifully,” Harvey said. “It’s a really neat place and I feel honored to be marketing it . I grew up watching ‘The Waltons’ too, like everybody else.”

She said her and Castro had plans to speak sometime soon.

The home is currently owned by Original Walton Home, LLC., with its registered agent listed as Stephanie Rutherford, according to online state and county records. The organization purchased the house in 2010 for $136,600 from Original Waltons Homes, LLC., which was managed by Pam Rutherford, according to online county records.

The home was sold in 2004 to Original Waltons Homes, LLC., by Earl Hamner’s brother James “Jim” Hamner for $128,100.

“The house where we lived fell into disrepair for a while, but happily it was bought by someone I respect and admire and am most grateful to, a fellow Virginian, Pam R.,” the Waltons Mountain Country Store’s website reads in a message the site says was from Hamner. “She has restored the house from top to bottom. I was afraid that when I visited there after the restoration I might be disappointed but Pam has paid such incredible attention to detail that when I was there a couple of weeks ago I walked through the door and I was home again.

“In memory I go there each night, I stand beside the gate, look up to the house, and once again I (hear) the voices of my mother and father, my brothers and sisters as we call goodnight to each other before we sleep.”

Woody Greenberg, secretary of the Nelson County Historical Society, said he hopes whoever buys the home keeps it as is.

“I hope it remains in the hands of people who are sensitive to the history of that house,” he said. “. It would be nice to see it kept as it is where people who are fans or knew about Earl Hamner (Jr.) or ‘The Waltons’ could visit there.”

Johnson said the group plans to keep the home exactly the same.

“We want to keep it the same,” she said. “We don’t want it to just be a regular, old house. We want to honor Earl.”

According to a Nelson County Historical Society 2017 tour pamphlet, the Hamner home is one of a few surviving company houses connected to the local soapstone industry, having been originally built by M. J. Copps, the soapstone company manager.

The home was added to the Virginia Landmarks Register in 2004, though its status on the National Register of Historic Places was still pending as of 2016, according to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources’ online master list.

Emily Brown contributed to this report.

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