A Slice of Shelby History
A Slice of Shelby History. Long before Wize Guyz created its NYC-style pizza in Shelby, The State of North Carolina incorporated Shelby in 1843 as the official seat of Cleveland County’s government. In choosing a name for Shelby, the city’s founders honored Army General Isaac Shelby (1750-1826). General Shelby was a hero of the American Revolutionary War and several other military campaigns.
Prior to the arrival of Europeans to North America in the 16th century, Native American Cherokee people inhabited the land that is now Shelby. The Cherokee spoke Iroquois, which was very common at that time on the continent and the particular region of the Carolinas. Its use became near extinguished as the immigration of European settlers altogether displaced the Cherokee and other Iroquois-speaking tribes.
European Waves in Several Shades
Spanish soldiers, traveling from Cuba, passed through Florida and Georgia heading north. They arrived at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the 16th century. They soon encountered conflicts with the Cherokee people. Because of this, most of these Spanish settlers eventually vacated the region. Those who remained were very few in number. In the following two centuries, other Europeans, including the French and British, attempted to settle the land. Those years contained frequent clashes between settlers and the Cherokee people. However, the Cherokee were skilled in battle, and they even gained victories over the British during the French-Indian war.
After waves of British and French immigration to North Carolina, Scottish and German descendants gradually settled the land. These settlers migrated from Pennsylvania and Virginia, and they generally succeeded in establishing permanent and prosperous settlements. Today, many of the proper names common to Shelby’s culture hold a great deal of these settlers’ legacies.
War, Renewal, and Growth
Prior to the American Civil War, only a few hundred people inhabited Shelby. However, the war’s aftermath contributed to heavy population growth. By the end of the Reconstruction period, Shelby’s population had reached over 1,800. Shelby’s new residents had arrived to take advantage of opportunities that were not available prior to the war. Reconstruction’s conditions enabled entrepreneurs to invest large amounts of capital into Shelby’s industrial sector. Entrepreneurs from Pennsylvania and Massachusetts contributed most of it.
Throughout the 20th century, mining and manufacturing held up Shelby’s economy. These industries strongly shaped Shelby’s culture. As well, Shelby closely resembled the Southern American cultural prototype. This held especially true for food and music. Accordingly, Shelby’s notable historic figures include country music star, Don Gibson (1928-2003), known for many popular country-music hits in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. In addition, North Carolinians honored the musician in 2009 by renaming The State Theatre, which opened in 1939, as Don Gibson Theater.
Shelby also claims home status for the late country music legend, Earl Scruggs (1924-2012), who played alongside the great Lester Flatt. Mr. Scruggs’s popularity achieved cosmic stardom in 1969 when he played his anthemic Foggy Mountain Breakdown to a crowd of one million people in Washington, D.C. Ronowned for innovative and exciting banjo picking, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1985. A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame took his name in 2003, and Berklee College of Music awarded him an Honorary Doctorate Degree in 2004.
For a Growing Appetite: New York City Pizza in Shelby
While Shelby has traditionally been a small industrial and agricultural city, it sits between two larger cities, Charlotte and Asheville. Shelby thus receives much traffic consisting of people who pass through on their way from one city to the other. Noting that construction teams will soon complete several highways in Shelby’s vicinity, the city will soon connect more thoroughly to the surrounding urban areas. The U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2015 that Shelby’s population exceeded approximately 20,150 residents. The city’s official website, along with Cleveland County’s site, forecasts rapid growth to arrive in the near future.
Wize Guyz’s bistro is honored to continue the Southern American tradition of hearty joy — with an Italian twist, of course — by serving delicious Italian cuisine and delivering world-class pizza in Shelby and to its neighbors. Please see our menu for a mouth-watering selection, and call (704) 406-9494 to place your order!