By Shannon Beamon, Staff Writer
Stanly County Museum
Monday, October 7, 2013 —
Following Monday night’s presentation on the Changing Landscape of Downtown Albemarle, it was hard to quiet the room.
After hearing Jonathan Underwood, the speaker for part one of this series, share about the histories of specific buildings and families in early Albemarle, people couldn’t help but murmur to their neighbors about what they knew and whisper tidbits that hadn’t been mentioned.
Underwood, who is director of the Stanly County Museum, had to speak up even with a microphone to ask for questions.
“I live on First Street. ... We were told there was a livery stable behind there on Second Street, about where the dental offices are; is that right?” one audience member asked.
“That wouldn’t surprise me, because First Street was also Highway 52, so that would have been on the way out of town,” Underwood said.
“I can remember conversations of the slavery quarters behind the Hearne’s residence,” another audience member said.
Everyone seemed to have a detail to add to Albemarle’s past.
Even after the session was over, people stayed and talked with Underwood about what they knew or remembered.
Underwood was more than happy to stay.
“I’ve become very interested in the early history of the town since it was established in 1842, how it was laid out, how the buildings were,” Underwood said.
However, prior to the railroad coming through Albemarle, Underwood said there aren’t many photographs or records that show what the town and its buildings looked like.
“It’s a real challenge piecing together what this frontier town looked like,” he said.
“What I’m doing is taking snippets of photographs and analyzing them, just figuring where these buildings were, how they’re put together, what angle are we looking at.”
Several times throughout the presentation, Underwood invited the audience to share any photographs they had of the early buildings with him.
“Or if any of you recognize some of these buildings, I’d love to hear it,” Underwood said.
However, even with limited materials, Underwood pieced together a detailed history.
“Albemarle was established in 1842 and incorporated in 1857. Originally it was all rolling grasslands and scrub brush. Albemarle was established on a ridge, with the town square at the highest point,” Underwood said.
He showed where the major roads had been and described where the early houses and businesses were in comparison to what stands there today.
“Your primary road going north was the Old Salisbury Road and it was really more of a pig path until the road was established. Broome Street is the old road that went to Concord,” Underwood said.
“This is the R.B. Kluttz residence, which was probably built in 1885. I’m pretty sure it’s where the city had its early offices. That’s where the town hall sits now.”
Overall, Underwood covered the town’s history from it’s origins in 1842 until the turn of the century in 1900. The rest of its history will be covered in part two of the series.
“There was just too much good history to cram into one session,” announcer Pat Bramlett said.
“We hope you’ll join us for the next one.”
The next part will be sometime in 2014.
To submit story ideas, contact Shannon Beamon at (704) 982-2121 ext. 24 or at shannon@stanlynews press.com.