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Gaston County History: Cities & Towns: High Shoals

North Carolina Collection Books

High Shoals

See TopoQuest map.

See current census information (High Shoals zipcode 28077.)

Official city website High Shoals, NC on Ning.

High Shoals is named for the shoals (submerged sandbars) in the South Fork River where the resulting rapids provided water power for industry. While not incorporated until 1973, the village community dates back to the 1780's when the discovery of iron ore brought settlers to the area. John Fulenwider founded High Shoals Ironworks about 1795, and the business flourished until 1875; but the Civil War disrupted the iron foundry industry, and textile manufacturing moved in. The town was incorporated November 6, 1973, with Jack Whitener serving as the first mayor.

The High Shoals Mills, chartered in 1893 by Daniel A. Tomkins, took over the site of the ironworks, and the mill began operation in 1901. The company constructed a school around 1924, and water works in 1941, which were donated to the city when it incorporated in 1973. From the 1890's, the High Shoals Mills owned the entire town until eventually the mill houses were sold to private buyers.

Official High Shoals population figures are not available before 1973.

  • 1890 - 1973 -- no count;
  • 1975 -- 563;
  • 1980 -- 586; 1990 -- 594;
  • 2000 -- 708; 2005 -- 684;
  • 2010 -- 696

High Shoals Historical Resources:

Online Sources

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