Main Street is the core of the community. It tells us who we are, who we were, and how the past has shaped us. Our Main Street is a place of shared memories where people still come together to live, work, and play. That’s why the Town of Rutherfordton is working hard to preserve its history and character.
The Rutherfordton Historic District includes portions of the downtown commercial district and residential neighborhoods around the downtown core, including almost 200 historic homes and buildings. It’s bounded by Washington St, Toms Street, 7th Street, and Charlotte Rd. The Town created a historic district because we support efforts to preserve our history and architecture, yet still want to encourage the use of our historic commercial and residential buildings. Click here to see the Historic District Map
The district also embraces some thirty homes and churches that are an integral part of the early downtown history. These lovely old homes include noteworthy examples from the Victorian and Gothic Revival eras of the 19th century up through the Bungalows of the early 20th century and the various Colonial and Classical Revival eras that thrived in the decades before World War II. The architectural jewels in this municipal district include handsome public buildings such as the impressive granite courthouse, a small cluster of remarkable antebellum houses, a charming Greek Revival chapel in use since 1847, and the town cemetery – an enduring witness to generations of inhabitants since the town’s founding in 1787.
National Register of Historic Places
In 1995, after three years of research and preparation, the Rutherfordton Main Street Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service (NPS). “Historic preservation encourages reinvestment in existing neighborhoods which can enhance property values and the local tax base,” said Mayor Jimmy Dancy. Having our downtown make the list does not automatically mean all of our buildings will be preserved and it does not keep buildings or homes from being modified or destroyed. It does give property owners the opportunity to receive grants or possible federal & state investment tax credits to help pay for the cost of rehabilitation projects. Read the application that won us recognition on the National Register of Historic Places, it has a neat listing of all the historic homes and buildings!
Main Street Historic District is a national historic district located in Rutherfordton, Rutherford County, North Carolina. It encompasses 43 contributing buildings and 1 contributing object in the central business district of Rutherfordton. The district developed from about 1898 to 1945 and includes notable examples of Classical Revival and Colonial Revival style architecture. Located in the district is the separately listed Rutherford County Courthouse designed by Louis H. Asbury (1877-1975). Other notable contributing buildings include the U.S. Post Office (1931), the Norris Public Library (1933), (former) Rutherford County Jail, Commercial National Bank, Keeter Hardware Company Building, Geer Commercial Building, Southern Hotel Company Building, Geer-Warlick Motor Company Building, and City Hall (1925) designed by Milburn, Heister & Company. Take a walk around the district using this map to learn a little more about our rich history.
Doing Work in the Historic District?
The design review process provides a system for the timely review of proposed exterior changes before the work is begun. The Historic Preservation Commission reviews the proposed changes to determine if they are consistent with the character of Rutherfordton’s historic district and thus appropriate to undertake. Property owners are advised to contact the HPC staff early in the planning stages to obtain a copy of the Historic District Guidelines and an application for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA). Typically, a completed application form will include photographs of the existing property and scaled drawings that illustrate the proposed work. Since the range of projects varies in complexity and scale, the HDC staff will advise property owners as to what information and drawings are necessary for the specific proposed change. The commission reviews completed COA applications at their monthly meetings. Approved applications are issued Certificates of Appropriateness. For proposed work requiring a building permit, this certificate must be obtained before a building permit can be issued. COA application forms can be obtained from the Rutherfordton Town Hall or here.