The Market House was built in 1832 on the site of the old State House, which was where North Carolina delegates had ratified the U.S. Constitution, but the State House later burned during the Great Fire of 1831. It is one of only 40 National Historic Landmarks in North Carolina and the only one in Cumberland County.
Historically, household goods were sold beneath it, while the second floor was utilized as the town hall. Architecturally unique in North Carolina, the Market House is one of the few structures in America to use this town hall market scheme found in England.
Occasionally, enslaved people were sold at the Market Square, and the vast majority of these sales were as a result of indebtedness or estate liquidation. During the Civil War, a skirmish took place around the Market House involving Confederate General Hampton's and Union General Sherman's troops.