Stanly County History Center

Stanly County History Center Stanly County is a crossroads of history. Its people have helped mold and define the cultural landscape of the county, the state, and the nation for more than 10,000 years. Our citizens value their history and have diligently worked together to establish the Stanly County Museum to safeguard the objects of their heritage. With so many different cultures and catalysts creating history in this “land between the rivers,” the Stanly County Museum has a unique collection of artifacts—from examples of Native American art and pottery to restored pioneer homes. We invite you to discover the rich heritage that is Stanly County, North Carolina. The museum is run in collaboration with the Stanly County HIstorical Society and the Stanly County Public Library.

The Stanly County History Center is open the following days: Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm First Saturday of each month from 9am to 1pm

Mission: The Mission of the Stanly County Museum is to research, record, conserve, and interpret the history of Stanly County, North Carolina. In addition to supporting the preservation of historic architecture, cemeteries, and sites throughout the county, the museum conserves and displays hundreds of artifacts and historic documents.

During the early part of the 1900’s, most students in high schools in North Carolina graduated after the 11th grade. O...
06/24/2019

During the early part of the 1900’s, most students in high schools in North Carolina graduated after the 11th grade. Over time the idea of adding a twelfth grade began to slowly appear in a few select school districts around the state. The depression, that initially hit during late 1929 and lasted through most of the 1930’s, made it difficult for many of the school systems to be able to afford to add a 12th grade.

On March 14, 1938, the Albemarle City School board voted that the students that would be completing the 11th grade that year would have the option to either graduate or they could return for the 1938-39 school year and graduate as part of a to be added 12th grade. Eleventh graders during 1938-39 would also be allowed to graduate so there were actually two graduating classes during this transition year. During the 1939-40 school year graduates would only be from the 12th grade.

Today’s pictures, from the May 31, 1939 Full Moon, are the two graduating classes from the 1938-39 school year. The first photo is the last 11th grade class allowed to graduate and the second is the very first 12th grade class to graduate from Albemarle High School.

Below is a list of students in this first 12th grade class:
Iris Almond
Menefee Bennett
Marshall Boyce
Clara Faye Burris
Rachael Burris
Clarence Burns Clark
Sue Coble
Douglas Cranford
Geraldine Crisco
Franklin Deese, Jr.
Ed Dennis
Calvin Doby
Mary Elizabeth Drye
Mary Katherine East
Carl B. Efird, Jr.
Martha Efird
Sidney Gulledge
Edythe Holt
William Hough, Jr.
Jeannie Hurt
Olyn Lowder
Bonnie Hayes McCubbins
William Mann, Jr.
Lorene Melton
Ernestine Morton
Wilma Morton
Elberta Ragsdale
Kathleen Russell
Claude Shankle
Oscar DeBerry Show, Jr.
Glenn Smith
Johnnie Lou Taylor
Mary Katherine Underwood
Jack Williams

Unfortunately I haven't been able to find information about a twelfth grade in the county schools. Please add comments if you can add more to the story!

{On a side note: It wasn’t until 1942 before the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina passed legislation to make a 12th grade mandatory in all public schools throughout statewide.}

Jacob Efird began hosting church services in his home in 1814. On April 23, 1820, those who were attending formed the St...
06/23/2019

Jacob Efird began hosting church services in his home in 1814. On April 23, 1820, those who were attending formed the St. Martin’s Lutheran Church but it wasn’t until 1830 when the congregation was able to build their first church building.

In 1860, a new frame building replaced the original structure. This building, seen in the first photo, was thought to be the largest in Stanly County at the time. You will notice there are two doors in the photo. The right-hand door was for women and children to enter. The left door was for men to enter.
There were three sets of pews, with the middle pews divided by a short wall. Women, infants, and small children sat on the right. Men sat on the left.

A new building made of brick, seen in the second photo, was constructed in 1908/09. This building was made of timber that had been cut on church property and the bricks were made on Little Bear Creek of clay that was dug from the farm of a church member.

The current church building, that is in the third photo, was built in 1969-1970. The Educational Wing was added in 1978-79 and the Fellowship Hall was built in 1986.

{Information from St. Martin's Lutheran Church and the History Center collection}

I realize that today’s first picture may seem a little odd but I just had to share this story…My wife, kids and I we...
06/22/2019

I realize that today’s first picture may seem a little odd but I just had to share this story…

My wife, kids and I were in Albemarle earlier this month. While we were there my mother shared this cassette tape she had found with me and said she thought it might be my grandfather, Francis Starnes, Jr.

After we returned to our home in Kennesaw, Georgia, my older son and I were able to digitize the cassette and listen to it. I was excited to find it is in fact my grandfather!

Francis Starnes was the second generation owner of Starnes Jewelry Store. He passed away relatively young in November of 1976 when I was still just 8 years old. I do have a few memories of him but they are very limited.

The recording on this cassette has my grandfather telling about a trip that he and my grandmother had taken to Peru. It also includes him reading a story to my sister and me. My grandmother read a chapter as well. Since my brother, who was born in November of 1976 isn’t mentioned we know this would have been recorded in late 1968 or early 1969 before he was born making it 50 years old! What a wonderful treasure to find!

Talk to your family members to preserve a part of your family history. Record their stories, even if only on paper! Don’t wait until it’s too late and your relatives are gone!

I truly enjoy finding new information for these Facebook posts on the History Center page. I try to include as much deta...
06/21/2019

I truly enjoy finding new information for these Facebook posts on the History Center page. I try to include as much detail when I can, but sometimes information or pictures surface later that can add to a story.

Back in January, I shared a brief story about the “Homes by Fisher” plant in Richfield building what became the very first building at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro when construction began in March of 1972. I contacted the Zoo and a couple of other places hoping to find a decent picture of the building but unfortunately one never turned up.

The first two pictures with this post are the best pictures I could find at the time. Later, I found the third picture in the January 21, 1972 edition of the Stanly News & Press and just recently found the last picture of the model of the building in the History Center collection! I would still love to find a better photo but for now these will do!

Today's photos are all from the library that was located beside the courthouse on North Second Street. It was in this lo...
06/20/2019

Today's photos are all from the library that was located beside the courthouse on North Second Street. It was in this location from 1938 until the current library was built in the 1970's. Be sure to click on the pictures and scroll through to see them all! A blue print of the layout inside is the last one.

{The photo with the two women behind the desk is from the Tommy Taylor collection}

The first library in Stanly County was opened in 1916 in the Community Building that was located on South Second Street....
06/19/2019

The first library in Stanly County was opened in 1916 in the Community Building that was located on South Second Street. This library was organized and run by the local Women’s Club and the first librarian was Pauline Whitley. In 1927, with the help of the local Lion’s Club, the Women’s Club was able to help the county open the first public library. This new library was located on the first floor of the Albemarle Hotel (see first photo).

Since the opening of the public library there have been 14 known men and women to serve as the library director. I have been able to find pictures of 11 so far and I am hoping that someone can provide a lead how I can find the other three. It’s interesting that the three I am missing are the men who served between 1980 and 1994!

1. Willie Welch 1927—1929
2. Julius Amis 1929—1937
3. Evelyn Parks 1937—1942
4. Evelyn Peeler 1942—1945
5. Elmina Hearne Surratt 1946—1948
6. Marion Middleton Johnson 1948—1954
7. Jane L McDaniel 1955—1958
8. Margaret Johnston 1959—1976
9. Sue Darden 1976—1980
10. Henry Hall (NEED PHOTO) 1980—1987
11. Jim Govern (NEED PHOTO) 1987—1994
12. Richard Thau (NEED PHOTO) 1994—1994 ?
13. Penny Welling 1995—2009
14. Melanie Holles 2009—Present

Please click on the photos and scroll through to see all of the pictures and add comments of any memories you may have of our library directors!

During the early 1920’s, Albemarle was connected to several nearby communities via bus routes. According to the Decemb...
06/18/2019

During the early 1920’s, Albemarle was connected to several nearby communities via bus routes. According to the December 20, 1922 Stanly News-Herald, there were two daily round trips between Albemarle and Troy and two between Albemarle and Salisbury. In addition, there was one round trip with Candor and one with Concord. Today’s photo, from the History Center collection, is one of the buses from this time.

Today's photos, from the History Center courtesy of Dr. Bill Hatley, are all of local Lions Clubs. Please click on the p...
06/17/2019

Today's photos, from the History Center courtesy of Dr. Bill Hatley, are all of local Lions Clubs. Please click on the photos and scroll through to see all four. Please add comments if you can identify anyone in the pictures.

Wishing everyone a Happy Father's Day! Feel free to post pictures of your father in the comments!
06/16/2019

Wishing everyone a Happy Father's Day! Feel free to post pictures of your father in the comments!

Today's photos are assumed to all be Stanly County World War II veterans and are all a part of a collection that was  do...
06/15/2019

Today's photos are assumed to all be Stanly County World War II veterans and are all a part of a collection that was donated to the History Center by Dr. Bill Hatley before he passed away.

Be sure to click on the photos and scroll through all 10 to see the names. Please add comments if you happen to know anything about these men or their families.

During World War II, Wiscassett Mills, like many other businesses, made their own unique contribution to the war effort....
06/14/2019

During World War II, Wiscassett Mills, like many other businesses, made their own unique contribution to the war effort. Today's picture is a small part of a full, double page ad for Wiscassett from the July 4, 1944 Stanly News and Press. This part shows some of the ways that Wiscassett yarn was used during the war.

About 2 years ago I posted this first photo from Margaret Ivey and asked for help in trying to identify where this might...
06/13/2019

About 2 years ago I posted this first photo from Margaret Ivey and asked for help in trying to identify where this might have been located. Unfortunately we weren't able to figure it out.

Recently I was looking through old newspapers and ran across the second picture that is an ad from the March 30, 1950 Albemarle Enterprise. This ad includes the first photo and says it is from 1922 and is looking south on First Street in Albemarle! I am excited to have an answer but even with this clue, however, I am still not sure exactly where this would have been on First Street!

Be sure to click on the photos for a better view and please post comments if you have any ideas where this is on First Street!

Today's first photo from the History Center collection is of the West Badin School. The pictures that follow are of seve...
06/12/2019

Today's first photo from the History Center collection is of the West Badin School. The pictures that follow are of several of the school graduating classes from the 1960's. Be sure to click on the pictures and scroll through to see them all.

The graduating class photos were shared by Catherine Metzger. They had belonged to her father, Jacob Carter. Carter and his wife Millie were both well known educators in the local schools for quite a few years. Thank you Catherine for sharing these pictures!

Kevin Bridges was a member of the South Stanly High School class of 1983. He was senior class president and when he grad...
06/11/2019

Kevin Bridges was a member of the South Stanly High School class of 1983.

He was senior class president and when he graduated, I believe he was the first African American Valedictorian of a Stanly County School after integration.

Bridges also has the distinction of being the first African American from Stanly County to win what is now known as the Morehead-Cain Scholarship.

He graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in Political Science and Public Policy Analysis in 1987 and he later received his law degree from the UNC School of Law in 1990.

After passing the bar exam, Bridges became a private attorney. He later became a prosecutor in the D.A.’s office then a District Court Judge. In 2008 he was elected as a Superior Court Judge.

{The first picture is from Stanly Stanly High School and the second is from Stanly Community College}

The earliest reference I have found for a private school in Norwood was from 1878. At different times during its existen...
06/10/2019

The earliest reference I have found for a private school in Norwood was from 1878. At different times during its existence it was known as Centre Academy, Norwood Academy and Norwood High School.

The first known principal was R.H. Lentz. He was joined by L.D. Andrews in 1881 who then took over the school in 1882.

In 1888, R.L. Smith, who later became a prominent lawyer in Albemarle, became the new principal while Andrews moved to Monroe. The enrollment at the school reached 130 students by 1890. A fire in 1894 destroyed much of the school property. It was suspected to have been caused by an arsonist but whether this was ever confirmed is unclear. Even though most of the property was lost, Smith was able to use another building and keep the school from closing. Smith left the school in 1895 when he was elected to the state legislature.

The history of the school at this point becomes hard to follow. The school principal changed numerous times over the next few years. Some of the men who held the role include A.P. Harris, Alma Smith, W.A. Sherrill and L.C. Blalock.

The school remained in existence until about 1913 when the citizens of Norwood voted to open a public school and a new brick building was constructed.

{The photo with this post was published in the January 8, 1953 edition of the Albemarle Enterprise. This was the building used by the school prior to the fire in 1894.}

Over the 5+ years I have been doing these Facebook posts, I have posted quite a few brief versions of area church histor...
06/09/2019

Over the 5+ years I have been doing these Facebook posts, I have posted quite a few brief versions of area church histories. I would love to have access to more details!

Please contact me at [email protected] if you can help me get copies of the history of any churches in Stanly County. Either booklets, like are in today's picture, or electronic copies will work!

Thank you!!
Lewis P. Bramlett

The first picture today, from the March 15, 1938 Stanly News and Press, is a view of what the new Albemarle City Hall wo...
06/08/2019

The first picture today, from the March 15, 1938 Stanly News and Press, is a view of what the new Albemarle City Hall would look like when completed. The second photo, from John Williams's "Wallace Ivey Collection" shows the completed building.

Today's first picture is a full page ad promoting businesses in the Oakboro area that ran in the October 15, 1929 editio...
06/07/2019

Today's first picture is a full page ad promoting businesses in the Oakboro area that ran in the October 15, 1929 edition of the Stanly News-Herald. The photos that follow are better views of each of the ads. {Be sure to click on the pictures and scroll through to read them}

Please post comments or send me an email to [email protected] if you know any history of these businesses or if recall any people connected to them.

Today on the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion, please take the time to honor and remember those who fought for our...
06/06/2019

Today on the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion, please take the time to honor and remember those who fought for our freedom.

Did you have any family or friends who participated in D-Day? Please add comments or send me an email to [email protected] and share what you know of their story.

{Photo from the National WWII Museum}

Recently Alice Albright, daughter of druggist C.R. Edwards, shared a wonderful description of the Albemarle Drug Company...
06/05/2019

Recently Alice Albright, daughter of druggist C.R. Edwards, shared a wonderful description of the Albemarle Drug Company while it was owned by her family in the 1950's and early 1960's. At the time the business was located at Five Points in the building now occupied by Roger Martin's Gallery. {Alice we thank you for sharing a part of your family story}

"He bought Albemarle Drug Company from Mr. Lamar in 1950 after working for B. B. Black Drugs in Kannapolis for 10 years. The building was owned by Mrs. Anderson who had a grocery store there before it was a drugstore. He owned Albemarle Drug Company from 1950 to 1962 when he died. My mother ran the drugstore without a pharmacy for about 5 years after his death. It had to be renamed because there was no pharmacy. It was called Albemarle Drug Sundries. I have misplaced some photos and have not been able to find them yet. Dad served a lot of customers from the Badin area and the Kingville area as well as in town. Everyone called him “Doc” as a lot of the customers depended on his help as there were some who could not afford a doctor. We had a soda fountain with booths and stools. My mother made sandwiches every day that were sold at the fountain. My dad would fix castor oil doses at the fountain with a chaser for customers and then tell them to go home immediately. We also had regular customers who would get Bromo seltzers at the fountain every day. We had magazines and comics for the kids. It was your typical 50’s drugstore with a cosmetics lady, a fountain lady, and over the counter drug salesperson. We sold Norris boxed candy at Easter and Christmas and Evening in Paris perfume sets. We had big blocks of ice delivered that would have to be chunked off in pieces to go in the ice crusher that hung above it. Later on, we got a modern ice machine that made very small balls of ice that you cannot get anywhere today. We had Coca Cola, cherry smash, grape smash, fresh squeezed lemonade and orange juice and Sealtest Ice cream. Not sure when but later on other stores had Pepsi. Some only wanted coke but I remember the war between fountain Pepsi and Coca Cola. Sometime in the 50’s a sign painter came and repainted the side of the building by hand with the Coca Cola logo and name of the store."

My wife, kids and I had a brief visit in Albemarle this past weekend. While we were there my mother showed me these wond...
06/04/2019

My wife, kids and I had a brief visit in Albemarle this past weekend. While we were there my mother showed me these wonderful photos. My grandfather, F.E. Starnes, enjoyed photography. He took these photos of my mother and my Uncle Gene when they were little. {Thanks Mom for allowing me to post the photos!}

Address

157 North Second Street
Albemarle, NC
28001

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(704) 986-3777

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