The Marks House

The Marks House from the south, Pike Road, Montgomery County, Alabama

For about five years around 1930, the small town of Monroeville, Alabama was home to two children who would go on to literary fame.  Harper Lee was born and died in Monroeville, and we'll discuss her in depth in later posts, but Truman Capote was only passing through.  He had been born in New Orleans, and before he was 10 he had moved to New York City, but for five years he lived in rural Alabama, and those years were recounted in several of his works.

Truman Capote and Harper Lee signing copies of In Cold Blood - 1966 (photo courtesy of Steve Shapiro/Corbis)

Two years after the release of his masterpiece, In Cold Blood, Capote's short story "The Thanksgiving Visitor" was published in the November 1967 issue of McCall's.  The story is, at least in part, autobiographical, and deals with a young boy and his struggles with the local bully.  The same year the story was published, a TV movie version aired.  The Thanksgiving Visitor starred Geraldine Page, and she earned her second Emmy for the role.  It was also filmed right here in Montgomery County, at the Marks House.

North side of the Marks House, Pike Road, Montgomery County, Alabama

The Marks House was originally built in 1825 by William Mathews Marks.  Additions were made by members of the Churchill Marks family in the 1920s, and in 1957 the home was sold to Dr. Woody Bartlett.  The house was the set of the film a decade later, and a year after that began its stint as the Pike Road Community Club Center, a role it still fills today.

South side of The Marks House, Pike Road, Montgomery County, Alabama

The Marks House historical marker, Pike Road, Montgomery County, Alabama

Marks House
Circa 1825

Built by William Mathews Marks, who immigrated from Oglethorpe County, GA, on acreage purchased from the U.S. land office in Cahaba, AL for $1.25 per acre.
Foundation is pegged-together heart pine; framing is 3” by 9” timbers; mantles, dados, and all the brick are hand made. Kitchen, baths a rose garden and pavilion for dancing were added by the Churchill Marks family in the 1920s. House was purchased by Dr. Haywood B. (Wood) Bartlett in 1957.
In 1967, the movie of Truman Capote’s “Thanksgiving Visitor” was filmed in the house. The facility has served as the Pike Road Community Club Center since 1968. The Pike Road Arts and Crafts fair is held here annually on the first Saturday in November. The house suffered extensive fire damage on August 28, 1997 and was subsequently restored by the Pike Road Community.
— Alabama Historical Association - 1998