North Carolina Counties
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North Carolina Counties

North Carolina is divided into one hundred counties. The establishment of North Carolina counties stretches over 240 years, beginning in 1668 with the creation of Albemarle County and ending with the 1911 creation of Avery and Hoke counties. Five counties have been divided or abolished altogether, the last being Dobbs County in 1791.

Cleveland County, North Carolina

Cleveland County Education, Geography, and HistoryCleveland County, North Carolina Courthouse

Cleveland County is a county located in the state of North Carolina. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 98,078. Its county seat is Shelby.

Cleveland County comprises the Shelby, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Charlotte-Concord, NC-SC Combined Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Cleveland County Name

It was named in honor of Colonel Benjamin Cleveland, a noted partisan leader of the western Carolina frontier and one of the heroes at Kings Mountain.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Cleveland County History

Cleveland was formed in 1841 from Rutherford and Lincoln. It was named in honor of Colonel Benjamin Cleveland, a noted partisan leader of the western Carolina frontier and one of the heroes at Kings Mountain. It is in the southwestern section of the state and is bounded by the state of South Carolina and Rutherford, Burke, Lincoln, and Gaston counties. The present land area is 464.63 square miles and the 2000 population was 96,287. The first court was ordered to be held at the home of William Weathers. At this court the justices were to obtain a place to hold future courts until a courthouse was erected. Commissioners were named to acquire land and lay out a town by the name of Shelby where the courthouse and jail were to be located. In 1887 an act was passed changing the spelling of Cleveland from "Cleaveland county" to "Cleveland county." Shelby was incorporated in 1843 and is the county seat.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 468 square miles (1,210 km2), of which 464 square miles (1,200 km2) is land and 4.0 square miles (10 km2) (0.9%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Burke County - north
  • Lincoln County - northeast
  • Gaston County - east
  • York County, South Carolina - southeast
  • Cherokee County, South Carolina - south
  • Rutherford County - west



Ambassador Bible College in Lattimore, North Carolina
Cleveland Community College
Gardner-Webb University

Cleveland County Schools

Cleveland County Schools has 29 schools ranging from pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade. Those 29 schools are separated into five high schools, two alternative schools, four middle schools, and four elementary schools. It was formed from the 2004 merger of Kings Mountain City Schools, Shelby City Schools and the former Cleveland County Schools.

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