Historic Shelby Walking Tour
This self-guided walking tour in Shelby highlights historic structures dating back to the 1850s which include Webbley, a national historic landmark and house of O. Max Gardner; a 1907 Classic Revival courthouse which now houses the Earl Scruggs Center: Music & Stories from the American South; the Cleveland County Arts Council located in a 1916 Classical Revival Post Office; Mason Square, a 1923 Egyptian-Revival mixed use office and apartment complex; and Lafayette Place, a commercial historic tax credit project. Start and end on Uptown Shelby’s picturesque courtsquare.
* Denotes locally designated landmark.
** Denotes properties individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
*** Denotes both local and federal designation.
1 day | 31 stops
STOP 1: The (former) Cleveland County Court House ***
This Classical Revival court house highlighting the center of Uptown Shelby was designed by H.F. Newman. It now serves as the Earl Scruggs Center, Music & Stories from the American South.
STOP 2: The Well House
The Well House, located on the east side of the court square, was built by the county to house the fountain where citizens could get Lithia water that was piped in for citizens from Lithia Springs located north of Shelby. The building now serves as Guest Services and the Gift Shop for the Earl Scruggs Center.
STOP 3: Central United Methodist Church
Central United Methodist Church, constructed in 1924, is of Gothic Revival architecture and believed to have been designed by prominent Charlotte architects, Louis H. Asbury and J.M. McMichael.
STOP 4: Rogers Theater Block
Rogers Theater Block was constructed in the Art Deco style by R.H. Rogers, Sr. The largest movie house in Shelby was designed by noted theatrical architect Charles C. Benson. The balcony had a separate section for Black citizens. Spaces adjacent to the Theater have been repurposed for businesses and apartments.
STOP 5: Original City Hall & Fire Station*
The original City Hall and Fire Station was built to house the first fire department and city hall for Shelby. A restaurant, Toscano's Bistro, now occupies the space.
STOP 6: Sterchi's Building
Sterchi's Building was designed by local architect V.W. Breeze in a restrained Art Modern motif to house the local franchise of Sterchi's Brothers (furniture) Stores, Inc. claiming at the time to be the world's largest furniture chain.
STOP 7: Campbell Building *
Campbell Building* was the largest department store in Uptown Shelby and retains the original store plan of both the exterior and interior architecture. The building was rehabilitated between 2015 and 2018 and now houses Uptown Indigo, an event venue, and Greenbrook Design, a kitchen and bath design center.
STOP 8: First Baptist Church
First Baptist Church is made of yellow brick in an exuberant version of the Gothic Revival Style. It replaced a previous church built in 1889. Additions made in the 1920's combine Art Deco and Gothic design features.
STOP 9: Cleveland Savings and Loan Building
Cleveland Savings and Loan Building, now PNC Bank, is one of Cleveland County's best examples of International style, popular with corporate America after World War II. It was designed by Pegram Holland.
STOP 10: Washburn Brick Block
Washburn Brick Block is the only surviving, intact, commercial brick block built when brick buildings replaced wooden structures.
STOP 11: City Pavilion
The City of Shelby built this Pavilion for the use of its citizens. It serves as the site of the the twice-weekly Foothills Farmers' Market as well as a spot for outdoor events like Alive After Five, reunions and weddings. Future plans include trail access for the Rail Trail currently in planning stages.
STOP 12: Kouri's Warehouse
Kouri's Warehouse was built adjacent to the railroad and major thoroughfares as a fruit and vegetable warehouse. It later served as the Farmers' Market and now has been converted into residential units.
STOP 13: Trade Street Alley
(late 19th century)
Trade Street Alley, a warehouse with brick arches having had a variety of uses including the Blanton-Eskridge livery stable. It later served as a parts and service warehouse for Sears prior to 2000 when Uptown Shelby Association redeveloped the entire block. USA currently occupies one of the three distinctive storefronts.
STOP 14: Shelby Café
Shelby Café is a Shelby institution serving southern fare, including the local delicacy, liver mush. The distinctive neon sign reflects an Art Deco influence.
STOP 15: Hudson's *
This sturdy brick building maintains its distinctive brickwork and window pattern from a 1946-1948 renovation when Hudson's Department Store opened for business. The current owners completely renovated it and it now is Shelby's first craft brewery, Newgrass Brewing Co. You will find many features true to the origins throughout the brewery.
STOP 16: Shelby City Hall
This Georgian Revival brick building and former Firehouse was completed using WPA (Works Progress Administration ) funds. It was designed by Fred Van Wageningen and Pegram Holland of the V.W. Breeze firm. It features a distinctive cupola above the slate roof.
STOP 17: The Don Gibson Theatre
The Don Gibson Theatre opened as the State Theater and was transformed in 2009 into a premier performance venue and special event space centrally located between Charlotte and Asheville. The theater honors native son and noted singer/songwriter Don Gibson.
STOP 18: Webbley***
J.A. Anthony remodeled this 19th century vernacular house in the Neo-Classical Style. Judge James L. Webb occupied the house in 1911. His daughter, Fay, became the wife of Governor O. Max Gardner. She, along with her husband, entertained many national dignitaries there. Webbley is the county's only National Historic Landmark.
STOP 19: Fullenwider-Ebeltoft House
The Fullenwider-Ebeltoft House was built in the 1850's by Swiss pioneer Eli Fullenwider, whose family was known for a successful iron works enterprise. The house was later owned and occupied by the T.W. Ebeltoft family. It is one of the few surviving antebellum structures in Shelby.
STOP 20: The Masonic Temple ***
The Masonic Temple, now known as Mason Square, is a prime example of Egyptian Revival architecture in North Carolina. The building housed the Masonic Lodge on the top floor, with various businesses located below. The building was renovated in the 1980s with professional offices on the first and second floors and residential units above.
STOP 21: The Cleveland County Arts Council/ Annex *
This Colonial Revival structure was built as the US Post Office in 1916 and served as Shelby's post office until 1967. It presently houses the Cleveland County Arts Council with gallery space, classrooms, studio and offices. The Annex served as the law offices of federal judge E.Y. Webb.
STOP 22: The Royster Building
The Royster Building is a yellow brick, commercial building designed by J.M McMichael in the Colonial Revival Style.
STOP 23: Hotel Charles & Bank Building
The Hotel Charles & Bank Building is a 3 story building that originally housed the Central Hotel on the upper floors and First National Bank on the ground floor. The structure was damaged by fire in 1928 and rebuilt as the Charles Hotel which operated from 1929-1967. After the original structure was destroyed by a fire in 1928, it rebuilt with the hotel named Hotel Charles. The hotel operated from 1929-1967. Bank OZK now occupies the ground floor.
STOP 24: Shelby City Park Carrousel
This Herschell-Spillman carrousel is one of a very few 'year round' carrousels still found in a traditional city park location. Twenty-nine original horses and three hand-carved replacements were restored in a joint effort of the City of Shelby and Shelby City Park Carrousel Friends, Inc. Along with thirty-two jumping horses, the Carrousel features twenty-eight colorful hand painted rounding boards and scenery panels. A period Carrousel Band Organ provides authentic music to complete the experience.
STOP 25: Rotary Special Train
Rotary Special Train: After the train at the City Park fell into despair, the City of Shelby, the Shelby Rotary Club and volunteer mechanics worked to restore the scale model train. The train, track and tunnel were restored in 2000 and the new Depot, including room for parties and picnics, was completed in 2001.
STOP 26: Sunset Cemetary
Sunset Cemetery brings about an awareness and understanding of the historical significance of the people buried here who made an impact on the city, the state and the nation. Musician and songwriter Don Gibson is buried here, as well as writers Thomas Dixon and W.J. Cash as well as many prominent citizens. During the fall, visitors enjoy the beautiful autumn colors of over 550 trees.
STOP 27: The Banker's House **
The Banker's House is a resplendent example of the Second Empire style design and one of the state's leading works in the popular Gilded Age Style. Jesse Jenkins, one of the state's early bankers, had this house built for his wife Hattie in the late 1870's. Mr. Jenkins was forced to sell the house at public auction. The property was acquired by banker H. Dekalb Lee who, in 1894, sold it to his business partner, Burwell Blanton, also a banker. The house remained in the Blanton Family for over 100 years when it was gifted to a local foundation with the intent to preserve the home for the community's use.
STOP 28: Clyde R. Hoey House
The Clyde R. Hoey House is a pre-fab stucco structure in the Colonial Revival style. Hoey served as North Carolina governor and later as US senator. Hoey lived in the house until his death in 1954.
STOP 29: Dr. Victor McBrayer House **
The Dr. Victor McBrayer House was built by Dr. Victor McBrayer in 1893 and served as a residence for his descendants. It was later purchased by a local doctor who used the home for medical offices. It has recently been resold and is once again a private residence. Its architecture reflects the influence of several late 19th century styles: Italianate, Gothic Revival and Queen Anne.
STOP 30: El Nido
El Nido is a Spanish Mission-style bungalow designed from a house plan book produced by the Aurelius-Swanson Company out of Oklahoma City, OK. It was named El Nido ("the Nest"). There may be only one other house like El Nido left in the country. This property was donated to Preservation North Carolina which in turn, leased it to a preservation minded individual.
STOP 31: The Blanton House *
The Blanton House was originally a 1 1/2 story farm house and was acquired by George Blanton, Sr. from his brother in 1898 and remodeled to a brick Colonial Revival in 1928. The Blanton heirs donated it to Gardner-Webb University in 1981.
In 2019, it was sold to Caulder and Valentine Law Firm.