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Shelby City


Shelby City Hall is located at 300 South Washington Street, Shelby, NC 28150; phone: 704-484-6800.

Beginnings [1]

Shelby was established as the county seat of newly formed Cleveland County in 1841. By 1850 house lots had been surveyed and purchased in the linear strip between Warren and Marion streets with longer house/field lots extending southward from Warren.

The arrival of rail lines, prosperity from cotton cultivation, and the establishment of cotton mills and other manufacturing plants contributed to the growth of Shelby during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Railroads entered Cleveland County in the early 1870s, causing cotton production to skyrocket from 530 bales in 1870 to 6,126 bales in 1880. The exponential increase in cotton harvests created a basis for local textile manufacturing, and by the end of the nineteenth century several cotton mills had opened in the county. Rural prosperity and the development of the manufacturing sector spurred the growth of Shelby. The town's population increased from 1,874 at the turn of the twentieth century to 3,609 in 1920 and then jumped again to over 10,000 in 1930, presumably as a result of annexation of built-up adjacent areas.

  1. J. Daniel Pezzoni, Landmark Preservation Associates, West Warren Street Historic District, Shelby, Cleveland County, NC, nomination document, 2008, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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