The Town of Cleveland is the only incorporated town in western Rowan County. The Town dates to 1831 but was not incorporated until 1883.
In 1831, the first post office in the Cleveland was established under the name Cowansville. By 1850, before the Western North Carolina Railroad was built, the post office and the town were called Rowan Mills, for the name of the five-story flour mill owned by A.G. Ford. After the railroad construction, the railroad station was called Third Creek. The town and post office kept the name Rowan Mills until 1876 when the town was incorporated and named Third Creek. In 1884, the township people decided to rename the town Cleveland, in honor of Grover Cleveland, the first Democratic president elected since the Civil War.
Today, we remain committed to preserving hometown, quality living. The Town possesses a host of historic homes and buildings, small-town charm galore, and sidewalks and front porches to connect the friendly people every day. The Town of Cleveland is surrounded by awe- inspiring nature, centuries-owned family horse and cattle farms, Third Creek, lush landscapes, and some of the best family-owned restaurants in Rowan County.
Once the center of dairy farming operations in the state, the Town is steeped in history, including the following National Register of Historic Places within the Town limits or 10 miles of the Town limits:
Christ Episcopal Church
Christ Episcopal Church was established in 1754. The church campus includes the 1826-1827 gable front vernacular Gothic Revival and American Craftsman-style brick veneered, heavy timber-framed chapel; a 1926 Crafts-style parish house attached to the original building by an open brick arcade breezeway, and a historic cemetery. The church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011.
R.A. Clement School
R.A. Clement School is a historic H-shaped brick building built in 1929 as part of the Rosenwald school project. Rufus Alexander Clement, born a slave in 1847, helped to get the school built, along with his wife Emma. The school closed in 1968. A group later known as West Rowan Neighborhood Center Advisory Council bought the building and made it into a community center. The historic school was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in January 2019.
216 Krider St.
Cleveland, NC 27013
The John Phifer Farm
The Jacob Phifer House was built in the 1850s and is a two-story, rectangular, weatherboarded log dwelling. The oldest building is the John Phifer House, built in 1819, and is a small two-story log dwelling. The historic farm complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
The Knox Farm Historic District
This historic farm complex is located near the Town of Cleveland. The origins of the farm can be connected to John Knox, who traveled here from Pennsylvania in the early 1700s, settling on the 600 acres of land. The farm was originally deeded in 1758.
The Knox-Johnstone House-The Robert Knox House was built between 1854 and 1856 and is a two-story, single-pile, three-bay vernacular Greek Revival style frame dwelling. The home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
Third Creek Presbyterian Church and Cemetery
Third Creek Presbyterian Church and Cemetery is a historic Presbyterian church and cemetery built in 1835; however, the congregation dates to 1751. The cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
A grave site, a brick box with glass for viewing, is believed to be of French military commander, Marshal Michel Ney, who served in Napoleon Bonaparte’s Army during the Napoleonic Wars. He is believed to have lived in Cleveland as the town’s schoolteacher, using the name Peer Stuart Ney.
History: Historic Third Creek Presbyterian by John Kerr Fleming
The Town of Cleveland Publications
The families and history of the Town of Cleveland are chronicled in two books by local author and long-standing Town of Cleveland resident Evelyn Myers Allison Looney. Both books are available at the Town Hall or on Amazon.