top of page

Historic Shelby Foundation

Our mission is to protect and restore prominent historical structures throughout Cleveland County.

OurStory &Mission

The Historic Shelby Foundation traces its roots back to the late 1970s, emerging in response to the demolition of Shelby Junior High School. Formed by community leaders like Harvey B. Hamrick, George Blanton, and J.L. Suttle, along with others committed to preservation like Elva Gheen and Loyd and Becky Smith, the foundation aimed to safeguard historic properties in Shelby and its surroundings.

Our mission is to protect and restore prominent historical structures throughout Cleveland County, ensuring that the past remains alive for future generations. Through our efforts, we continue to safeguard the rich heritage of the area, allowing residents and visitors alike to appreciate the significance of these structures.

As early as 1980, the foundation advocated for the designation of the Central Shelby Historic District, which encompassed significant areas of uptown, South Washington Street, West Marion Street, and parts of West Warren Street. Over the years, the foundation's efforts led to the designation of additional historic districts such as West Shelby and Belvedere Park, with the installation of signage to highlight these areas' significance.

Throughout its existence, the Historic Shelby Foundation and its board members have been instrumental in advocating for various preservation projects and community initiatives. From spearheading the designation of Shelby as a Main Street community to preserving landmarks like the State Theater (now the Don Gibson Theater) and the Belk Building (now Lafayette Place), the foundation has played a pivotal role in conserving Shelby's rich architectural heritage. Additionally, the foundation has supported numerous endeavors, including Eagle Scout projects focused on historic properties, preservation month activities, and initiatives such as the Campbell Building adaptive reuse and the Uptown Shelby alley system enhancement.

Despite numerous successes, the Historic Shelby Foundation has faced challenges and setbacks in its mission to preserve Shelby's historic fabric. Battles lost include the demolition of notable structures like the Shelby Star building and the demolition of 5 historic homes alongside Bethel Baptist Church, highlighting ongoing struggles against damaging rezonings, demolitions, and inadequate planning. 

However, the foundation's commitment to preservation remains unwavering, as evidenced by its continued advocacy, awards recognizing friends of preservation, and annual Christmas soirées that celebrate the community's heritage and resilience.

bottom of page