GT MAG Spotlight: Cherryville, NC
Geography: Cherryville is located along a divide between three watersheds. The western end of Cherryville is in the watershed of Muddy Creek, a right tributary of Buffalo Creek and part of the Broad River catchment basin. The north side of Cherryville is in the Indian Creek watershed, drained by Lick Fork Creek and an unnamed tributary of Indian Creek. The south side Cherryville Township is in the Beaverdam Creek watershed, drained by unnamed right-hand tributaries of Beaverdam Creek. Indian Creek and Beaverdam Creek are tributaries of the South Fork Catawba River.
History: During the last half of the 18th century, German, Dutch, and Scots-Irish families from the Colony of Pennsylvania migrated south and settled in the Cherryville area. Land grants made by King George III of England date back to 1768, and as early as 1792 Governor Samuel Ashe of North Carolina made grants in and around “White Pine”, as the settlement was known at the time. A village began to develop at a crossroads on the Old Post Road, a main thoroughfare between Salisbury, North Carolina and Spartanburg, South Carolina.
In 1862, the Wilmington, Charlotte and Rutherford Railroad (later known as Carolina Central Railroad) reached White Pine. The town served as a water and coal stop. Along the railroad, a local resident planted cherry trees, and the train engineers soon began calling the settlement “Cherryville”. The town was incorporated under this name in 1881.
Business/Industry: Agriculture was Cherryville’s main economic base for many years. However, during the late 1800s, the textile industry became established in the town. Cherryville’s first cotton mill, Cherryville Manufacturing Plant, was incorporated in 1891. It was soon followed by the opening of three other mills. By the turn of the century, the rural village had become an industrial community of a thousand people. Eventually, 13 mills would be opened in Cherryville, including Gaston Manufacturing Company (later operated as Dora Yarn Mills), Vivian Manufacturing Company (“Old Sardine”, later operated as Nuway Spinning Company), Melville Manufacturing Company (later Burlington Industries’ Pinnacle Plant), Howell Manufacturing Company, Rhyne Houser Manufacturing Company (later part of Burlington Industries’ Madision Division), and Carlton Yarn Mills, Inc. All of these plants have since closed.
In 1932, a trucking company began operating in Cherryville with one truck hauling produce from Florida to Cherryville. This company would become one of the largest freight carriers in the nation, known as Carolina Freight Carriers Corporation. After operating for more than sixty years, Carolina Freight was bought by the Arkansas Best Trucking Company in October 1995 and operations moved from Cherryville.
Points of Interest: The Cherryville Historical Museum preserves the history of the Cherryville area, and is open to the public each week during specified days. The C. Grier Beam Truck Museum, interpreting the history of freight trucking and Carolina Freight Carriers, is in the former Beam’s Shell Service Station and Office, 117 N. Mountain St., listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 1922 Noah Benjamin Kendrick House at 402 N. Mountain Street is a Designated Gaston County Historic Property. Recreational sites in Cherryville include the semi-private Cherryville Country Club, with a nine-hole golf course, on the northeast side of town. The Cherryville Little Theatre.
The New Year’s Shooters preserve the area’s German heritage by honoring the custom of beginning each year with a chant and the shooting of muskets.