The North Carolina
History of the Freeman-Marks House
by Jonathan Underwood
Local Albemarle merchant and civic leader Daniel Freeman is thought to have constructed this Federal style home in the early nineteenth century. However, archival evidence first mentions the house in 1847. By either date, the house is now the oldest public building still standing in Albemarle.
The Freeman home was originally situated on the Freeman’s farm just outside Albemarle’s old town limits. As the town grew Freeman moved his home to a lot he purchased on Second Street—now a grassy park to the right of Albemarle’s present city hall. The site’s proximity to the County Courthouse made it an ideal location for business. With the help of his son Archibald, Freeman operated a general store, which became a Confederate Commissary during the Civil War, on the site.
It is unknown whether the house itself served as the general store and commissary or an office, but it is known that the enclosed back porch served as an office for doctors Richard Anderson and William Lilly, and attorneys Samuel Pemberton and John Redwine.
In 1884 the house was sold to Whitson Marks, a successful local businessman. Marks lived in the home with his children until 1906 when he moved the house to the rear of the lot and constructed a two-story brick office building and boarding house. The small dwelling was used as a tenant house until the middle of the twentieth century.
The house was nearing collapse when the County designated it as an historic property in 1975. The following year Whitson Marks daughter Pattie, and her niece, Jo Dunn Tucker, donated the structure to the County. The house was moved, once more, to a hill facing Main Street and restored to its late 1840s appearance as a residence and law office.
The house is now a part of the Stanly County Museum, located on Main Street in Albemarle. The Freeman-Marks house is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday between 10am and 4pm. For more information check out the museum’s website at www.stanlycountymuseum.com or call (704) 986-3777.
Jonathan A. Underwood, Director
The Stanly County Museum