Colonel Lawrence Allen House

The oldest building on Main Street, constructed in 1849, the Colonel Lawrence M. Allen House played an important part in the Civil War. A marker in front of the house (part of the Civil War Trails) tells the story. The house itself is a typical “I-house” which was a common form throughout Western North Carolina from the early 1800s into the 1900s.  All I-houses feature gables on the side and are at least two rooms in length, one room deep, and two full stories in height. They also often have a rear wing or ell for a kitchen or additional space. The facade of an I-house tends to be symmetrical. The style I-house got the name from a specialist in folk architecture who used it to describe a style that was quite common in the states beginning with the letter “I”, although the style was found in other states.  The house also shows the Greek Revival style in its entry detail. The addition of the ell rear addition was completed sometime before 1872.  Although not fully documented, the house may have been an extension of an earlier cabin built prior to 1849. This cabin was owned by David Vance who gave the land to form the town of Marshall so that it would be selected as the location of the county seat.