Stanly County


In early English colonial times, the Stanly County area was politically part of the New Hanover “precinct”, out of which Bladen was created in 1734. The renamed Bladen County was subdivided to create Anson County in 1750, which in turn spawned Montgomery County in 1779.

Stanly County was formed in 1841 from the part of Montgomery County west of the Pee Dee River. It was named for John Stanly of New Bern, who served several terms in the North Carolina House of Commons and two terms (1801–1803, 1809–1811) in the United States House of Representatives.

According to Stanly County historian Chris Bramlett, John Stanly apparently had no connection with the area named for him and was chosen to curry favor with Stanly and other state legislators. Stanly’s name was originally spelled “Stanley” but he dropped the “e” for reasons historians haven’t quite pinpointed. Because the county’s name was so often misspelled, the North Carolina General Assembly in 1971 passed legislation making the “Stanly” spelling official. 

The Stanly town of Badin was home for over a century to aluminum manufacturer Alcoa, whose plant divided the segregated town in the 1950s and produced over 100,000 tons per year in its heyday. Alcoa became the subject of litigation and major community outcry in the 1980s and 1990s for its failure to clean up waste around its plant and for polluting Badin Lake, one of the county’s major natural resources.

More recently, Stanly County has found economic success through companies \like Fiberon. Other companies are moving to Stanly County due to its low tax rates (which have changed little in over two decades) and close proximity to the Charlotte metro. Charlotte Pipe and Foundry recently chose Stanly as the site of its new headquarters and a new foundry, after over 100 years in Uptown Charlotte.

Stanly is home to Badin Lake and Lake Tillery, popular summer spots for at least two state senators, as well as Morrow Mountain State Park.


County Seat: Albemarle
Biggest Cities:
  • Albemarle
  • Locust
  • Red Cross
  • Badin
  • Norwood
  • Oakboro
Media Market: Charlotte

Elected Officials

County Data