Acres Of Greenway

Miles Of Trail

Family Friendly Parks


Lawndale Downtown

Project Background Info

In 2017, Cleveland County Water began purchasing property along the First Broad River from Lawndale to their operations facility just two miles north with a vision to improve local quality of life, enhance access to the river, and spur economic growth. CCW is leading the current master planning effort with guidance from a greenway steering committee composed of members who represent the Cleveland County Water Board of Commissioners, Cleveland County Schools, Lawndale Historical Society, Lawndale Town Council, and community citizens. 

The Carolina Thread Trail (CTT), a regional network of greenways, trails, and blueways, is lending planning support. The CTT has identified the First Broad River corridor in Cleveland County as a central spine and north-south trail connection priority. When completed, the Carolina Thread Trail will connect 2.9 million people in 15 counties in North and South Carolina.

The Town of Lawndale has also provided planning support for the Stagecoach Greenway realizing the significance of the project for the area and surrounding communities. Lawndale can once again take advantage of the First Broad River and establish itself as a “Trail Town” that provides a greenway, parks, and paddle accesses for locals and tourists.  Safe and accessible access to the River will enhance quality of life and help spur economic growth.

    Study Area

    Cleveland County is located in the North Carolina Piedmont and features a rolling forested and agricultural landscape. The County is approximately 55 miles west of Charlotte, 70 miles east of Asheville, and 50 miles north of Spartanburg, SC. The First Broad River is centrally located in the County and meanders from North to South through the communities of Lawndale and Shelby.

    The River

    The headwaters of the First Broad River begin in the protected and rugged South Mountains of northeastern Rutherford County and flow south into the low lying agricultural fields of upper Cleveland County. The River continues through the former stagecoach stop and textile mill town of Lawndale before slowly meandering its way through the City of Shelby until its confluence with the Broad River near the NC/SC state line. It covers a distance of approximately 65 miles from beginning to end.


    The Town

    The Town of Lawndale sits on the First Broad River at the site of the former Gardner’s Ford stagecoach stop. The Lincolnton – Rutherfordton stagecoach route passed through the area and crossed the River at Gardner’s Ford, near the present-day bridge crossing of the river by Main Street.

    The area also has a long history of utilizing the First Broad River to power grist and cotton mills. In 1874, the Double Shoals Cotton Mill, the first in Cleveland County, opened approximately three miles south of Lawndale. In 1875, Major Henry Franklin Schenck converted an old grist mill on Knob Creek, approximately one mile north of present-day Lawndale, to a cotton mill, and the community that developed around it was known as Cleveland Mills. In 1889, Major Schenck constructed a new mill and dam on the First Broad River, and the Town of Lawndale was born. With the opening of the mill, a school, movie theater, and downtown businesses were created and flourished. The Town continued to thrive until the Cleveland Mills Cotton Mill closed in early 2001.

    Cleveland County Water

    Cleveland County Water (CCW), originally created as the Upper Cleveland County Sanitary District in 1980, utilizes the First Broad River to provide water to residents and businesses across the County. The CCW operations facility is located on the River just two miles north of Lawndale. The water system is a form of local government authorized under the laws of the State of North Carolina and is managed under the oversight of a seven-member Board of Commissioners.