Albemarle Opera House

The Albemarle Opera House is one of Albemarle, North Carolina’s best known landmarks.  A book is now available that chronicles the ownership and activities that have taken place in the building since it was built in 1907/08 to the present.

Located on Main Street in downtown Albemarle, the Opera House building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  The building was built by local Albemarle contractor Locke Anderson Moody and is currently owned by Gene Starnes, a descendant of the original owners, F.E. Starnes, D.F. Parker and J.C. Parker.

Over the years the Opera House hosted live performances, housed various businesses, and served as a meeting hall, a dance hall, and as storage space.  The book explores the history of this Albemarle landmark and the people involved in its story from its beginning until the present.  Portions of the book address businesses that have been located in the street front stores and in the upstairs offices.  One section covers information about the performance hall and the many uses of that large space.  No book about the opera house would be complete without mention of the rumors of ghosts.

The book includes many pictures, newspaper articles, and ads about people and events important to the history of the building. 

Lewis P. Bramlett, who compiled the book Albemarle Opera House, is the great-grandson of F.E. Starnes, Sr. one of the original owners of the building.  Lewis was always fascinated by stories about the Opera House that he heard from his grandfather, Francis Starnes, and later from his uncle Gene Starnes.  During his teenage years he worked at Starnes Jewelry Store after school and never passed up an opportunity to go up to the Opera House.  The stories he heard from his grandfather and uncle continued to pique his interest into adulthood.  Over a period of years he has researched the history of the building and compiled all of the known information into one resource.  In June 2012 Bramlett presented a program for the Stanly County Museum on the Albemarle Opera House building based on the information he had at that time.   His research continued and he was able to discover additional information which has been included in the book.

Bramlett is a graduate of Albemarle High School and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He currently resides in Kennesaw, GA, with his wife and two sons.  Lewis has always been interested in history including the history of Albemarle.