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Origins of Gaston County's Culture can be Found in our Museums

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

Born out of the boom of the textile industry in the 1800, followed by continued growth in railroads, today Gaston County is seeing a major resurgence due partly to the outward sprawl of nearby Charlotte, turning our mill towns into bustling neighborhoods, each with a unique story to tell.

Preserving Our Past

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Downtown Historic Dallas, features several original buildings including the original Gaston County Courthouse, Gaston County Museum, Old Jail and other buildings. Walking tours available at Gaston County Museum which is located in the former Hoffman Hotel and features authentically furnished period rooms, a “hands-on” parlor, and more.

The 1890s Heritage Village in the County Park in Dallas was born with the gift of the mule barn. Gaston County's 150-year "Sesquicentennial" was celebrated as the barn was set on its new site. The master plan for the Parks and Recreation Board had called for a historic area, and the GAMTRA organization had begun a very successful Cotton Ginning Days program. As more buildings were added to the area the plan evolved to portray our county's early textile history by interpreting the story of the cotton farmer's family life before they had a tractor.

In Cherryville visitors will find the J. Ralph Beam, Jr. Heritage Park. Five original buildings including: the first city hall, an old jailhouse, a one-room schoolhouse, a smoke house and an early warehouse for federally licensed bonded liquor. While you are there don't miss the Cherryville Historical Museum located in the old city hall.

Located in historical homes across the street from each other in Belmont is the Belmont Historical Society and the Millican Pictorial History Museum.

A History In Textiles

Housed in the renovated Loray Mill is the Alfred C. Kessell Center featuring touch screen monitors that display Digital Loray, an online interactive exhibit. This museum preserves the history of daily life for mill workers.

African American History

Also found in the Loray Mill is the African American Museum of History & Culture. This museum preserves the history of the innumerable contributions of African Americans to the growth and prosperity of Gaston County.

The Evolution of Transportation

Learn how Gaston County evolved from locomotion into trucking at the C. Grier Beam Truck Museum. What began with one truck in 1932 eventually became Carolina Freight, one of the nation’s top carriers, until its sale in 1995.The museum is located in the gas station where the company began.

Named for Stanley’s original train depot, Brevard Station, covers the railroad’s advent. Other exhibits include information about the textile industry, our military, gold mining history and the discovery of a rare magnolia by French botanist, Andre Michaux.

A Historic Cathedral

The Abbey Basilica is the central figure in the composition of Belmont Abbey College and of the Belmont Abbey Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. Its beautiful painted-glass windows won 4 gold medals at the 1892 World’s Fair.

Revolutionary War

The Battle of Kings Mountain was proclaimed as "the turning point of the American Revolution" by Thomas Jefferson. At the Kings Mountain Historical Museum visitors can step back in time to learn about this famous battle site and engage with the history of the area.

Our Military

Founded by American Legion Post 23, the American Military Museum has an extensive collection of authentic U.S. military and related memorabilia from past wars and time periods. The weapons collection also includes pieces from Germany, Japan and Russia. The museum is housed in the American Legion Memorial Hall in downtown Gastonia.


The Mount Holly Historical Museum is the official home of the city of Mount Holly archives and features rotating exhibits as well as a research library with online access to genealogical websites and back issues of the Mount Holly News from 1945-2005.




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