Located in south-central Cleveland County, Shelby is east 21 miles to Gastonia and west 27 miles to Rutherfordton. Located in between Charlotte and Asheville, Shelby has become a noted tourism and wedding destination in Western North Carolina. Shelby is home to Cleveland Community College, and Gardner-Webb University, the Earl Scruggs Center, the Don Gibson Theatre, and the Cleveland County Arts Council. Shelby is a place where tree-lined streets invite locals and visitors alike to enjoy great shopping and delicious food. Music and special events are also plenty in Uptown Shelby.
The town of Shelby, was named for Isaac Shelby, the Revolutionary War hero of the battle of nearby Kings Mountain, It was officially incorporated by an Act of the Legislature in 1843 as a circular town extending one-quarter mile in each direction from the public square. Shelby’s early growth and development can be attributed solely to its designation as a county seat. With the arrival of the railway in 1870, development and Textiles became Shelby’s chief industry along with manufacturing and agriculture. Shelby stands as a remarkable town because of the contributions made to industrial, literary and political life of North Carolina and the United States.