Forest City began as a crossroads on the Shelby-Rutherfordton and Spartanburg-Lincolnton Roads. Originally, the town was incorporated as Burnt Chimney in 1877. A replica near the site of the original chimney adorns the public square today. The “chimney” was the remains of the McArthur home that marked the crossroads.
The name was changed to Forest City in 1887, named after a prominent citizen, Forest Davis. In 1914, the Forest City Betterment Club embarked on a project to beautify the town’s Main Street and today the original landscaped medians and fountain still exist.
In 1927, the town was selected as one of the ten most beautiful and best planned towns in the United States by the US Department of Agriculture. The town remains the commercial hub, and the legacy of “community betterment” can still be seen in the pride the town and its residents take in keeping Forest City a beautiful and livable community.
There’s history on wheels, too. One of the newest car museums in North Carolina is Bennett Classics Antique Auto Museum, with a selection that ranges from the Model A era to sports cars of recent decades.
Those interested in agricultural museums in North Carolina will want to visit the Rutherford County Farm Museum, one of the North Carolina farm museums that includes tractors and a still that was used for moonshine.
The new Forest City Owls team provides high-caliber North Carolina summer baseball in the Coastal Plain League at McNair Field, also a venue for outdoor concerts and festivals. From May through August, the Owls fill the new stadium with fans of summer collegiate baseball in North Carolina.
Festivals & Events
For fans of North Carolina car shows, the annual Hot Nights, Cool Rides event in August fills Forest City’s streets with hundreds of participating autos that glitter and gleam. The Forest City car show is one of the biggest car shows in the Southeast.
Brighten your holiday with a visit to Forest City to see an extensive display of Christmas lights in North Carolina. Half a million decorative lights downtown provide a warm setting for shopping, chats with Saint Nick at the Santa House on Main Street and other holiday activities. The Christmas lights in Forest City also illuminate the popular carriage rides along Main Street in December. Eighteen horse-drawn carriages let you enjoy the sights in elegance, one of the few opportunities for Western North Carolina carriage rides.
Farmers Tailgate Market
The Farmer’s Fresh Tailgate Market is a seasonal Farmer’s Market located in the parking lot of the Tri-City Mall in Forest City, right off of Oak St., next to the Carmike movie theater. Open between April and September, Saturday mornings 7- 11am (or Sellout). The farmers in are strictly local, and only sell what they themselves or a neighboring farmer grow.
Forest City is located six miles east of Rutherfordton, the county seat, and is situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. The town is interconnected by three U.S. highways, 74, 221, 64, and one state highway 108.