History is all around us in the Cleveland County area. From the national park that borders us to the south, to the music legends that got their start here, we often take much of our area's history for granted.
One organization that strives to protect and preserve the history of our county is the Historic Shelby Foundation (HSF). Founded in 1982 by Harvey B. Hamrick, this nonprofit is constantly working to purchase, restore and save Shelby's prominent historical structures.
"Many local residents would be surprised to learn that Cleveland County has 20 properties on The National Register of Historic Places, which is the official list of the nation's historic places worthy of preservation," says Fred Blackley, HSF secretary. "We are lucky to have many beautiful Cleveland County properties on this list."
As part of its mission, the HSF provides the volunteer work necessary to inquire, acquire, educate, and ultimately preserve county homes, landmarks and buildings. One project the organization is currently working on is the Andrews-Royster House, located at 417 S. Washington Street in Shelby.
"In April of 2017, we purchased the Andrews-Royster house, and since that time we have gained more knowledge about this home than we ever thought we would," says Blackley. "While the Andrews-Royster home boasts a Colonial Revival portico, unique concrete shingles and beautiful brick walls, we now know it was not always this way."
After researching the house's history, HSF learned that Dr. William Perry Andrews, Shelby's first surgeon, built this home in 1858. The following diary entry, written in 1938 by Sue Andrews, Dr. Andrews' granddaughter, details the rooms and memories of the original home:
The entrance to the house was a small porch with four small double columns.... Through the center of the house was a small narrow hall. Steep stairs led to the second floor. On the right of the hallways was the parlor, a large sunny room with windows facing east and west and two south on each side of the chimney... Two large oil paintings and family photographs hung on the plain white walls.... To the left of the hall was a large bed room.... From a door in the dining room, at the back, a walk of planks led to the kitchen (about 15 feet) which was a small house itself.
Once the home was purchased by the Royster family in 1921, extensive exterior remodeling took place. The chimneys were rebuilt, brick covered the white clapboard, and side porches were added.
"Other than an 'L' shaped addition which occurred in the 1950s or 1960s, we know of no other major exterior renovations," says Blackley. "We can only assume interior renovations have occurred, such as adding bathrooms and other modern comforts."
The Andrews-Royster home was a beneficiary of an Eagle Scout project headed by Grady Morgan. Morgan cleaned the inside and outside of the home to ready it for sale.
"The Historic Shelby Foundation's goal is to sell the proporty with protective covenants to ensure that it will be preserved and maintained" says Blackley.
For more information about the Andrews-Royster House or any of the HSF's other projects, visit the organization's website at www.historicshelby.org.
Cleveland County Properties on The National Register of Historic Places
The Banker's House
Double Shoals Cotton Mill
Joshua Beam House
Central School Historic
Central Shelby Historic
(original and expansion)
Cleveland County Courthouse
East Marion-Belvedere Park
E.B. Hamrick Hall
James Hayward Hull House
Irvin-Hamrick Log House
King Street Overhead Bridge
Dr. Victor McBrayer House
Margrace Mill Village Historic
Masonic Temple Building
Shiloh Presbyterian Church
George Sperling House and
Outbuildings (George and
Mary Jane Sperling Farm)
Joseph Suttle House (Twin
Webbley (Governor O. Max
West Warren Street Historic