Shelby, North Carolina
—  City  —
Nickname(s): City of Pleasant Living
Location of Shelby, North Carolina
Coordinates: 35°17′18″N 81°32′16″W / 35.28833, -81.53778Coordinates: 35°17′18″N 81°32′16″W / 35.28833, -81.53778
Country United States
State North Carolina
County Cleveland
 • Total 18.2 sq mi (47.0 km2)
 • Land 18.1 sq mi (47.0 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 869 ft (265 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 19,477
 • Density 1,073.8/sq mi (414.6/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 28150-28152
Area code(s) 704
FIPS code 37-61200[1]
GNIS feature ID 0994631[2]

Shelby is a city in Cleveland County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 19,477 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Cleveland County[3].


Shelby is located at 35°17′18″N 81°32′16″W / 35.28833, -81.53778 (35.288272, -81.537787)[4].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.2 square miles (47.0 km²), of which, 18.1 square miles (47.0 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.11%) is water.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 19,477 people, 7,927 households, and 5,144 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,073.8 people per square mile (414.6/km²). There were 8,853 housing units at an average density of 488.1 per square mile (188.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 56.88% White, 40.97% African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.56% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.72% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.56% of the population.

There were 7,927 households out of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.3% were married couples living together, 20.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.1% were non-families. 31.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.0% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 19.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 83.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,345, and the median income for a family was $38,603. Males had a median income of $30,038 versus $21,362 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,708. About 14.3% of families and 17.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.7% of those under age 18 and 13.7% of those age 65 or over.[5]

In their October 9, 2008 issue, Forbes magazine named Shelby, North Carolina the third most vulnerable city in America because of the high unemployment rate, poverty rate, and lack of economical development. [6]

Annual events[]

The Cleveland County Fair in 2010

  • Cleveland County Fair - October 1, 2009 marked the 85th anniversary of the Cleveland County Fair. The Cleveland County Fair is one of the biggest in the state. Around 200,000 visitors attend each year and more and more people are coming every year.
  • Livermush Expo - Shelby, North Carolina hosts an annual Livermush Exposition, which began in 1987 to celebrate the unique delicacy. In that year the Cleveland County Commissioners and the Shelby City Council passed resolutions proclaiming that "livermush is the most delicious, most economical and most versatile of meats."
  • Alive After Five Outdoor Concerts- Live music on the court square, presented by the Uptown Shelby Association and its community partners. Food and beverage vendors on site, Uptown restaurants open late for dinner.
  • American Legion World Series - Between 2011 and 2013 Shelby will play host to the American Legion World Series with a view to becoming the permanent home of the tournament. In order to host the event Shelby High School's Hoyt S. Keeter Stadium underwent an extensive renovation and expansion to 5,500-capacity.

In popular culture[]

The film adaptation of the novel Blood Done Signed My Name was filmed in Shelby, as well as the film adaptations of The Hunger Games.

A fictionalized version of the city is the setting of HBO comedy show, Eastbound & Down. Filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina, it bears little geographic or cultural resemblance to the real place. Actor–writer Danny McBride chose the location as an inspiration because of its size, attitude, and name.[7]

In the 10th episode of the TV show Make It or Break It, Shelby is mentioned as being the location of Lauren Tanner's mother.

On the 41st episode of the TV show Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, the host travels to the annual Livermush festival in Shelby.[8]

On November 11, 2007, the Oxygen Network's "Captured" aired a profile of the The Brenda Sue Brown Murder mystery that took place in Shelby, North Carolina in 1966. [9]

Notable persons from Shelby[]

  • Bobby Bell, NFL Hall of Famer
  • Alicia Bridges, disco singer
  • Bill Champion, MLB player.[10]
  • Morris Davis, Colonel in US Air Force
  • Thomas Dixon, Jr., minister, author
  • Eddie Dodson, bank robber
  • Manny Fernandez, "The Raging Bull", professional wrestler, former NFL player
  • David Flair, Professional Wrestler
  • Oliver Max Gardner, 57th Governor of North Carolina
  • Alvin Gentry, Head coach of the Phoenix Suns of the NBA
  • Don Gibson, Country Music Hall of Famer
  • Kay Hagan, current junior Senator from North Carolina.[11]
  • Robert Harrill, The Fort Fisher Hermit
  • Keith E. Haynes, Maryland Statesman, Lawyer
  • Trey Hill, Grammy-nominated Guitarist, Songwriter and Producer. See SONICFLOOd.
  • Norris Hopper, MLB player
  • Hatcher Hughes, Pulitzer Prize winner
  • Charlie Justice, NFL player, two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up
  • Doug Limerick, ABC radio newscaster
  • Patty Loveless, country music singer
  • Scottie Montgomery, NFL wide receiver, Oakland Raiders, Arena Football League player
  • Travis Padgett, Olympic athlete in Track & Field
  • Floyd Patterson, heavyweight boxing champion, Boxing Hall Of Famer
  • Mel Phillips, former NFL safety, former NFL coach
  • Rodney Allen Rippy, former child actor
  • Earl Scruggs, banjo player and composer on Hollywood Walk Of Fame
  • Isaac Shelby, soldier, governor
  • Charlotte Smith, WNBA basketball player
  • Brandon Spikes, American football linebacker for the New England Patriots
  • Billy Standridge, NASCAR driver
  • Tim Steele, 3-time ARCA champion, NASCAR driver
  • David Thompson, NBA Hall of Famer
  • Cliff Washburn, NFL offensive tackle, Houston Texans
  • Tim Wilkison, Tennis
  • Tom Wright, MLB player.[12]


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ [1], Cleveland County Schools website
  6. ^ Ruiz, Rebecca (October 9, 2008). "America's Most And Least Vulnerable Towns". Forbes. 
  7. ^ Cawthon, Graham (February 28, 2009). "How HBO's "Eastbound & Down" came to Shelby". The Star. Retrieved 2009-07-14. 
  8. ^ Allen, David (May 7, 2009). "Livermush (and Shelby) featured on Travel Channel". The Shelby Star. Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
  9. ^ . 
  10. ^ "Bill Champion's career statistics". Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  11. ^ "About Kay Hagan". United States Senate. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  12. ^ "Tom Wright's career statistics". Retrieved 2008-09-08. 

External links[]

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Shelby, North Carolina. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.