‘Gilmore Girls’: The Dragonfly Inn Was Once Part of a Classic TV Series

1972 was a turbulent time in America. The entertainment industry reflected these ongoing changes in the United States. All in the Family was a cutting-edge TV show that delivered raunchy laughs to living rooms across America. Based on the atmosphere in the country, it’s surprising that tons of people were tuning in every week for a wholesome family drama–but they were. The Waltons remains one of the most popular family series in television history. It was so popular, in fact, that the set was rebuilt for later films and part of it was used in another beloved family drama…

(L-R) Michael Learned as Olivia Walton and Mary McDonough as Erin Walton on a porch on 'The Waltons'
(L-R) Michael Learned as Olivia Walton and Mary McDonough as Erin Walton | CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

‘The Waltons’: The Great Depression in rural Virginia

The Waltons was a family drama that ran from 1972 to 1981. The series followed the lives of the many members of the Walton family. It was set in rural Virginia during the Great Depression and later, WWII. The popular show was based on the book, Spencer’s Mountain, which was released in 1961.

John and Olivia Walton have seven children — John Jr. (better known as John-Boy), Jason, Mary Ellen, Erin, Benjamin, James, and Elizabeth. James also had a twin brother who died at birth. Grandma and Grandpa Walton also live with the rest of the brood, bringing the family’s grand total to a whopping 11 people. 

A middle-aged John-Boy narrates each episode. He became a journalist and a novelist, and tells the audience the many stories of his beloved family. John Sr. runs a lumber mill with the help of his sons, and the family also farms to help put food on the table and bring in more income. They were a caring, generous family, always willing to help out their neighbors and those in need in any way they could.

The series follows the children through school, and then through WWII. All four boys enlist in the service, and Olivia volunteers as a nurse. The family weathers numerous storms, including their grandmother’s stroke and the death of their grandfather. 

Stars Hollow and The Dragonfly Inn

RELATED: ‘The Waltons’ Star Ralph Waite Struggled With Alcohol Behind the Scenes, Called Himself a ‘Drunk on the Side’

Gilmore Girls was a drama sprinkled with a healthy dose of witty sarcastic humor. The series followed the mother/daughter duo of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, along with a series of everyday adventures in the fictional, sleepy town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut. 

When the series opens, Lorelai is working as the manager of the Independence Inn. The inn is owned by her good friend, Mia, who took Lorelai in when she was 16 and pregnant and had left home. Eventually, Lorelai plans to purchase an inn with her closest friend and chef, Sookie St. James. However, the inn was burned in a fire and not reopened, which led to the pair opening a new place. 

Lorelai and Sookie opened The Dragonfly Inn at the end of season four. When they first visit the house, it is run down and in serious need of a facelift. Lorelai takes a loan from the local diner owner, Luke, and uses it to kickstart the new business. The finished product is a quaint and charming inn, with two horses and beautiful grounds. 

Part of ‘The Waltons’ set was replicated and used as The Dragonfly Inn

If any fans of the series, Gilmore Girls, happened to watch The Waltons, one of the sets might look familiar. The saga of the Walton family didn’t stop when the television series ended — there were actually six movies and several reunion specials. These specials reunited the family during holidays and weddings, giving the audience a glimpse of their favorite characters and new additions to the family. The house that served as The Walton family home ultimately became the model for The Dragonfly Inn.

The original set had to be rebuilt after a studio fire and then relocated to Warner Bros. Studio. That set was used for the 1993 movie, as well as appearing in several other films and television shows. According to Fox News, one of those shows was Gilmore Girls, where the house appeared as the infamous Dragonfly Inn. Funnily enough, in the first season, Rory makes a reference to The Waltons while her mother tells her the story of her birth.