Cherryville Highlights List of Sites Added to National Historic Register

2016/12/21

The myriad traditions and characteristics that make Cherryville stand apart has never been in question.

Now the city's downtown can hang its hat on another achievement that serves as a further testament to its historic significance.

The Cherryville Downtown Historic District has become the latest area to be added to the National Register of Historic Places. The news is being celebrated this month by the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, after a state advisory committee and historic preservation authorities approved Cherryville's application for the designation.

Downtown Cherryville is among three districts and 13 individual properties across North Carolina to be added to the National Register in the last few months. Other historic buildings to be added recently include the Cleveland County Training School in Shelby, listed in August, and Davidson Elementary School in Kings Mountain, listed in May.

Cherryville's push to join the exclusive club began in 2012 when it became involved with the N.C. Department of Commerce Main Street Program. Andrew West, chairman of the Cherryville Main Street Program, said it will afford numerous opportunities.

Downtowns named to the register are allowed to put plaques on buildings that are more than 50 years old, denoting their historical significance. Signs denoting the designation can be installed at vehicular entry points to the district. And older structures in redevelopment become eligible for valuable, federal and state historic tax credits that make their renovations more financially attractive.

"Most importantly, it gives you a competitive advantage when you're trying to recruit businesses to come into downtown," West said.

Downtown Gastonia, Belmont, McAdenville and Dallas are among the other local districts that have been named to the National Register. West said the work to highlight Cherryville's Main Street has already produced dividends of late.

"We're seeing the effects already," he said. "In the last 10 to 20 years, we may have had one to two buildings downtown that had any work done on their facades. In the past year alone, we've had eight buildings to renovate their facades.

"Businesses are excited and are catching on."

The National Register notes that downtown Cherryville consists of a cohesive group of early- to mid-20th-century commercial buildings and nearby residences, which tell the story of the community’s primarily textile industry-driven commercial expansion from 1901 to 1966.

Merchants lived in stylish Queen Anne, Craftsman and Colonial Revival-style houses on West Main Street and operated their businesses in the Commercial Style, Art Moderne, Spanish Revival and Modernist commercial and institutional buildings found throughout the central business district. Particularly noteworthy are the three-story classical and Commercial Style fraternal and bank buildings, and the distinctive 1911 Classical Revival-style City Hall on East Main Street, according to the National Register.

Cleveland County Training School, Shelby

The Cleveland County Training School is locally significant for its ties to education, African-American ethnic history and architecture, according to the National Register.

The red brick school comprises four different interconnected parts: a 1935 wing that once was attached to the 1927 Rosenwald school (not extant); a 1951 modernist classroom and cafeteria building, which replaced the Rosenwald school; a 1951 auditorium; and a 1960 gymnasium.

The 1951 buildings were designed by Shelby architecture firm V.W. Breeze and Associates, while the 1960s gymnasium was designed by Van Wageningen and Cothran, also of Shelby. The school offered academic and vocational courses to first- through 12th-grade students, became known as Cleveland Training School around 1949 and operated as such until the Shelby school system’s 1967 integration.

The school suffered extensive fire damage on Sept. 15, 2016.

Davidson Elementary School, Kings Mountain

The Davidson Elementary School, designed by architect James Beam Jr., is locally significant for its contributions to the education of African-American students in Kings Mountain, according to the National Register.

With construction complete in 1954, this one-story, six-room school is the last remaining of three buildings constructed for Davidson’s black students. And it continued to serve them until 1968, when integration resulted in the repurposing of the building for special education classes.

Story from Gaston Gazette
You can reach Michael Barrett at 704-869-1826 or on Twitter @GazetteMike.

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