Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Discovering Cleveland County

Posted November 9, 2007

Our 100 county sweep of North Carolina continues with a stop in Cleveland County west of Charlotte. If you like pottery this foothills county is the place to be this weekend. More than 200 potters will gather at the county fairgrounds in Shelby for the 7th annual Carolina Pottery Festival.

Fall colors should also still be excellent this weekend in Cleveland County which was named after a hero in the Revolutionary War. The Battle of Kings Mountain was fought in the county in the fall of 1780 in what was seen as the turning point of the American Revolution.

Cleveland County earned a place on the national map this week with Gardner-Webb's stunning victory over Kentucky in college basketball. Gardner-Webb is a small university in Boiling Springs. Someone on our staff is related to the namesake of that college. Can you name the WRAL staffer and her famous relative?

Did you know that Cleveland County has a penchant for liver mush? What is this concoction and why it is such a hit in Shelby?

Can you name two North Carolina governors from NC?

Can you name perhaps the greatest ACC basketball player of all time? He grew up in Cleveland County.

What about the world heavy weight boxing champion who grew up in Waco, NC?

Can you name an NFL Hall of Famer with roots in Cleveland County? I can.

Can you name the Cleveland County native who is a member of the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame?  Hint - he used to be my boss.

What about a world famous banjo picker who grew up in Shelby ?

Did you know that the composer who wrote "I Can't Stop Loving You" made famous by Ray Charles is buried in Shelby? Can you name him?

Cleveland County is also home to a wealthy, famous and eccentric filmmaker who has been interviewed twice by CBS's 60 Minutes. Can you name him?

Please, one answer per blog entry on all of these.

Finally, does anyone know the two slogans for Cleveland County?


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  • feistync Nov 15, 2007

    excellent info! i thought i might be stopping in cleveland county this past weekend for my gastronomic tour of nc, but we ended up in rowan instead. i'll have to bookmark this info for when i get to go to cleveland county. thanks!

  • bleslie Nov 13, 2007

    Former WRAL TV General Manager John Greene is the broadcasting hall of famer from Cleveland County and Floyd Patterson is the Cleveland County native who became heavyweight boxing champion.

  • moo Nov 10, 2007

    Cleveland County is also the home of NC's largest county fair & the only place in the country that the Jaws of Life are manufactured. You'll also find some of the greatest barbecue in NC there!

    I grew up in Cleveland County and I didn't know a lot of the facts you asked about. Of course I knew David Thompson, you can't attend Crest High School for four years and NC State for four years without knowing about the man who put Cleveland County on the map!

  • fishnett5977 Nov 10, 2007

    I think that Bill's former boss is Charlie Gaddy - but dont quote me on that!!!lol

  • wilfhh29 Nov 9, 2007

    Thanks a lot for this weblog post. I have been craving livermush all day. No one around here knows about it, but every time I go up to those southern foothills (visiting neighboring Rutherford County), I have to buy some livermush.

    Gardner-Webb has an enrollment of 4000, so it is not that little anymore.

  • Kathleen Nov 9, 2007

    I would guess that the WRAL connection would be Elizabeth Gardner, related to the Gov Max Gardner for whom the university is named? It is actually named in honor of Gov.Gardner and his wife, Faye Webb Gardner, hence the Gardner-Webb name.

  • Mtn Man Nov 9, 2007

    The banjo picker is Earl Scruggs and he actually grew up near Harris, NC.

    Another banjo picker from Cleveland County (I think) was Snuffy Jenkins.

  • bleslie Nov 9, 2007

    You're good!

  • robertslaw Nov 9, 2007

    Called my mom
    Slogans are "Connecting The best of the Carolinas" and "Scenic Pleasures, Historic Treasures"

  • robertslaw Nov 9, 2007

    I have no clue on the NFL player, the broadcaster, or the slogans. Shelby's is the City of Pleasant Living.




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