Date: April 14, 2006
Creator: Belden, Dreanna L.
Description: Photograph of a historic plaque in Albany, Texas. It reads: "Hartfield Building. Charles A. Hartfield purchased the lot on this site in 1881. A noted area cook, he quickly established "Charley's Restaurant," which included a bakery and boardinghouse. Hartfield was so successful that he planned an elegant rock structure in which to house his business. Construction began in March 1884 amid a flurry of development in the area. Scottish stonemason Patrick McDonnell, who was responsible for much of the stonework on the new courthouse, was foreman for the Hartfield worksite. The project's scope proved too grand for Hartfield's finances, however, and in September of 1884 he sold the building to J. C. Lynch. Financially ruined, Hartfield was found dead within the year. Lynch sold his building in 1885 to three Albany businessmen: Max Blach, N. H. Burns and Sam Webb. Charles Hartfield's widow, Lettie Hartfield, joined them as an equal partner and the group completed the structure, probably using Charles Hartfield's original plans. The building was occupied over time by such businesses as a grocery, a general merchandise store, a bowling alley and an auto repair shop. The Albany Masonic Lodge began meeting in the structure as early as 1893, ...
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