Natural aesthetic appeal, increased economic vitality, a reason to leave your car behind, a walking and biking connection between communities in two states: Organizers hope to deliver all of that, and more, through the growing Carolina Thread Trail network of greenways, waterways and trails.
The revivalists in Shelby focused on Uncle Earl and Gibson, approaching the county, the courthouse’s owner, about a first-rate Scruggs exhibit and arranged to lease it for $1 a year. The city of Shelby had bought the empty theater 30 years earlier and was threatening to tear it down for a parking lot, until task force members asked to rent the space for the same amount, said Anthony, the mayor.
What happened in Shelby played out across the Carolinas, where textiles were once the driver of small-town economies.
Shelby’s mills once paid some of the state’s highest wages. The industry’s long collapse in Cleveland County started in the late 1940s with a boll weevil infestation that destroyed the state’s largest cotton production, and ended in the late 1990s and early 2000s when global trade policies expanded markets, flooding the United States with cheaper goods.