These 7 NC Sites Are Now On The National Register Of Historic Places

Nov 3, 2019

Seven North Carolina properties have been added to the National Register of Historic Places, including a movie theater in Kannapolis.

The Gem Theatre in Kannapolis has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Credit N.C. DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL AND CULTURAL RESOURCES / FLICKR

The Gem Theatre has been a fixture in Kannapolis since 1936. The original theater burned down in 1942 but was rebuilt six years later. According to the Gem, the West First Street facility is one of the oldest single-screen theaters still in operation – and it offers balcony seating.

The theater was originally built by Cannon Mills and, per the state, "exemplifies the range of influence of a mill company town from employment to recreation."

The Gem and the other six properties join nearly 3,000 others in North Carolina to be represented on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Register is meant to help support efforts to protect and preserve property that helps tell America's story. Many spots on the list are privately owned, but tax credits are often available for property owners to want to rehabilitate and preserve properties on the list.

The seven new sites were reviewed by the state before being submitted to the National Park Service for review.

“These historic places are part of North Carolina’s rich and diverse story, and they need our protection,” N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Susi Hamilton said Oct. 25 in a statement announcing the news. “The National Register is a vital tool in the preservation of our state’s historic resources, and North Carolina has long been a leader in the nation’s preservation movement.”

The state made the announcement last month but said the Gem and these six other sites were added to the Register in August:

The Hezekiah Alexander house in east Charlotte was built in 1774.
Credit NICK DE LA CANAL / WFAE

More than 95,000 properties across the country have been included on the register since the program began in 1966. More than 2,900 of them are in North Carolina, and about 1,400 are in South Carolina.

There are hundreds of sites around the Charlotte region on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mecklenburg County alone has more than 100 spots on the National Register, including the 265-acre Rural Hill in Huntersville that was once a Revolutionary War-era farm and the Hezekiah Alexander House in east Charlotte – the county's oldest structure.

Cabarrus County has many more sites than just the Gem Theatre, including the Reed Gold Mine – the site of the first documented gold find in the country.

Catawba County has plenty of sites, including Balls Creek Campground, a Methodist camp-meet site where several wooden "tents" burned in September, and the early 1900s Murray's Mill.

The Loray Mill in Gastonia was once the largest textile mill in the South. Now it's a mixed-use apartment complex.
Credit WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Much of the Belmont Abbey campus and cathedral in Gaston County are on the National Register, as is the old Loray Mill in Gastonia – once the largest textile mill in the South and now a mixed-use residential complex.

There are more than 50 sites in York County, South Carolina, including the downtowns of Fort Mill and Rock Hill and part of Kings Mountain National Military Park.

There are another 27 in Lancaster County, including the Mount Carmel A.M.E. Zion Campground and the North Carolina-South Carolina cornerstone – a two-foot-tall rock that was erected in 1813 to mark the border between the two states.

A piece of the rock that included "N.C." and "S.C." was apparently knocked off by a car in 1977.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the President James K. Polk State Historic Site in Pineville was on the National Register of Historic Places.