Established in 1994, the Cleveland County Historic Preservation Commission is committed to documenting and preserving Cleveland County's architectural legacy. In 1997-98 the Commission sponsored a survey of more than 900 historic properties, the genesis of this publication.

Cleveland County's history can be read in its architecture. Log cabins and scattered family graveyards tell the story of settlement. After the Civil War, cotton prosperity led to the construction of many fine Victorian farmhouses and stimulated the growth of Shelby, the antebellum county seat, and new communities such as Kings Mountain. In the late nineteenth century the county's towns filled with substantial brick commercial buildings, Gothic-inspired churches, and residences in the popular Italianate, Second Empire, and Queen Anne styles. Cotton miles with their attendant mill villages sprang up near the towns, and cotton gins, country stores, and a host of specialized agricultural buildings appears in rural areas.

Increased support for education led to the construction of public schools in the twentieth century, and the popularity of the automobile spawned service stations, motor courts, and roadside eateries. Cleveland County is home to the stove tower, an architectural innovation that served to vent cookstove heat from kitchens. Shelby boasts several buildings of statewide significance: the Banker's House, a premier Second Empire mansion; the gracious Mission-style bungalow El Nido; and the Masonic Temple, one of the few examples of Egyptian Revival architecture in the state.

This publication traces the county's architectural development in a generously illustrated historical and architectural essay, followed by inventory sections that profile nearly 300 buildings from all area of the country. Readers who have lived in Cleveland County all their lives, or who have just moved to the area, will discover much of interest in this beautifully designed publication.

Architectural Perspectives of Cleveland County North Carolina

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