The Surprising Connection Between Gilmore Girls And The Waltons

John-Boy Walton and Rory Gilmore may both be talented writers, but the similarities between "The Waltons" and "Gilmore Girls" mostly end there. While John-Boy narrates the exploits of the large Walton household in Depression-era Virginia, Rory is a talented reporter for her school newspaper in early-2000s Connecticut.

"The Waltons," airing from 1972 to 1981, told the story of seven children, their parents, and their grandparents making do in rural Virginia during the mid-1930s and, toward the end of the series, World War II (via IMDb). The show depicted traditional family values during a tumultuous time for the United States, and it quickly gained popularity, especially among audiences in America's heartland (via Everything Zoomer).

Nearly two decades after "The Waltons" concluded, "Gilmore Girls" ran from 2000 to 2007, telling the story of a young single mother and her teenage daughter navigating life together. Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, played by Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel, respectively, represented a less traditional family unit than "The Waltons" (via IMDb). Lorelai brought up her daughter alone — but also with the help of the entire town of Stars Hollow — and refused to ask her wealthy parents for support.

Though the two shows are very different, there is one surprising connection between the famous TV families that even the most hardcore fans might not know.

Gilmore Girls and The Waltons share an important set-piece

Fans of both shows may recognize the similarities between Lorelai's Dragonfly Inn and the Walton family home. They both share that big front porch, for starters. Surprisingly, the two buildings are the same set-piece, repurposed for several fictional TV families throughout the decades.

The farmhouse in question is known as Doonevan Flats, originally constructed by Warner Bros. in the mid-1960s on a backlot known affectionately as "The Jungle" (via MeTV). One of its earliest uses was in "Mayberry R.F.D.," a spin-off of "The Andy Griffith Show" (via Outsider). That show ran for three years, from 1968 to 1971, followed by the first season of "The Waltons" just one year after its cancellation (via IMDb). 

Doonevan Flats did not go to waste. According to Stephen Bingen, author of "Warner Bros.: Hollywood's Ultimate Backlot," the set-piece was spotted by Earl Hamner Jr., creator of "The Waltons," who "noticed its resemblance to his own family home in Schuyler, Virginia." The farmhouse was painted white and became a staple on TV for the next nine seasons (via Outsider).

Sadly, as reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Doonevan Flats burned down in 1991 during a studio fire. It was ultimately reconstructed in a different Warner Bros. lot and used for "The Waltons" reunion films, starting with "A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion" in 1993 (via IMDb).

The Waltons' home became the Gilmore Girls' Dragonfly Inn

Decades later, the house from "The Waltons" became the beloved Dragonfly Inn on "Gilmore Girls," hosting a wide array of quirky guests and even acting as the backdrop for Luke and Lorelai's first kiss (via Showbiz CheatSheet).

Lorelai and her friend Sookie St. James (played by Melissa McCarthy) officially open the Dragonfly Inn at the tail end of Season 4, having transformed it from a run-down house into a charming destination (complete with Desdemona and Cletus, two resident horses). During its renovations, the inn is painted from Walton white to a bright yellow and decorated with hanging flowers. 

Just as the Walton family reunited at their (albeit reconstructed) family home during their reunion specials, the "Gilmore" cast reunited at the Dragonfly Inn during 2016's "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life" (via Marie Claire).

For fans hoping to go back in time and get a look at the famous Walton farmhouse without all that Stars Hollow flair, check out The Walton Hamner House, a period bed and breakfast in Schuyler, Virginia. The boyhood home of "The Waltons" creator Earl Hamner Jr. is the spitting image of the set-piece.