he Historic Shelby Foundation, Inc.
has been the premier catalyst for the preservation of Cleveland County's historic architectural resources since 1982.
  • East Marion--Belvedere Park Historic District

    The East Marion--Belvedere Park Historic District was one of Shelby's earliest suburban neighborhoods developed east of town from 1921 through the 1950s. It was also the most successful neighborhood in Shelby to follow the new suburban ideas of the City Beautiful Movement. At the turn of the 20th century, in reaction to the industrial revolution, the City Beautiful Movement advocated for the creation of parklike settings within cities. In response, suburban neighborhoods were developed across the country with small parks, large lots, tree-lined medians and a curvilinear street pattern which followed the natural topography of the land--a dramatic departure from the traditional grid patterns of earlier neighborhoods like the Central Shelby Historic District. These types of neighborhoods were common in towns throughout the southeast, and the Nation, as growing populations required development of neighborhoods beyond the central city core, and new modes of transportation enabled people to live further out. Shelby's greatest period of population growth was during the 1920s, just as the popularity of the automobile increased the demand for good roads. East Marion Street heading east from downtown Shelby was paved in 1921, and lots along the street were laid out for new subdivisions.

    That same year, William B. Lineberger, a Shelby banker and businessman, hired Leigh Colyer, a professional landscape architect from Charlotte, North Carolina, to design a subdivision for him out of 45 acres of farm land he had purchased south of East Marion Street. In keeping with the tenets of the City Beautiful movement, Colyer's design for Belvedere Park included a curvilinear layout, with tree-lined streets, and a central median down Belvedere Avenue. A portion of Colyer's 1921 plat for the neighborhood included small lots along Chestnut Street, only 30 to 50 feet wide, intended for investment rental housing. The majority of the lots were 100 to 125 feet wide, facing wide boulevards, and generally sold for $2,000. These lots were reserved for prominent Shelby residents who built owner-occupied houses. Building restrictions were placed on the lots to ensure that buyers would erect houses in at least two years that cost no less than $5,000 and were set back at least 50 feet from the sidewalk.

    Lineberger built his own home in the neighborhood at 804 Hawthorne Road to entice others to build. Occupations of residents within Belvedere Park and along East Marion Street included small business owners, managers and employees, mechanics, mill owners, workers and supervisors, clergy, theater owners, physicians, attorneys, bankers and government workers. The houses built in the district were typical of the building styles of the day. Of the 123 buildings within the district that contribute to its architectural history, the most predominant style in the district is the Bungalow. Other styles in the district include small hip-roof or gable-roof cottages, Four-Square and Cape Cod, and several Classical Revival styles including Colonial, Dutch and Tudor. After Lineberger's death in 1936, the remaining undeveloped lots on the east side of the neighborhood became part of his estate, and his heirs did not sell them until the late 1940s and early 1950s. In this later developed section, good examples of Ranch and Modern houses can be found.

    The East Marion--Belvedere Park Historic District, approximately one-half mile east of downtown Shelby, is roughly bounded by Cline and Chestnut Sts. to the west, East Marion St. to the north, Edgemont Ave. to the east and Belvedere Ave. and Elizabeth Rd. to the south. The houses in the district are private and not open to the public. Historic Shelby Foundation was established in 1982 to protect and preserve the architectural and historical integrity that best defines Shelby and Cleveland County.

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    Historic Shelby Foundation
    P.O.Box 2321
    Shelby North Carolina 28151
    Email: info@historicshelby.org