History and Facts

Image of Downtown FountainWhat is now 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. The 1880 census counted 110 residents in the small crossroads town. By 1890, 419 people lived in Forest City - the increase was primarily due to the coming of the railroad and the building of the Florence Mill. By 1910, Forest City was a flourishing community with 1,090 residents with electric lights and water and 12 passenger trains daily.

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. By 1940, Forest City had 4,068 residents and had established itself as the commercial hub of the county.

Image of Downtown Fountain Christmas LightsToday, the population of Forest City is approximately 7,404. 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.

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 US highways, 74, 221, 64, and one state highway 108. Forest City is only 15 minutes away from the Tryon International Equestrian Center.

  • Incorporated in 1877 as Burnt Chimney.

  • Name changed to Forest City in 1887.

  • Population as of the 2014 Census Estimate is 7,404.

  • Forest City is an electric distribution city, with customers using approximately 151,281,716-kilowatt hours per year.

  • Forest City has approximately 7,443 residential water customers using some 22.4 million gallons of water per month.

  • Forest City has approximately 56.47 miles of city streets, 70 miles of power lines, 100 miles of sewer lines and 208 miles of water lines.

  • The Forest City Fire Rescue responds to approximately 1400 calls per year with an average response time of 3.18 minutes.

  • More than 2,500 children participate in recreation programs sponsored by the Forest City Parks and Recreation Department

  • Two senior citizens clubs are sponsored by the recreation department with 150 members.

  • In 2007 the town began construction on McNair Field. McNair Field was designed by McGill Associates of Asheville, NC. The park is named after Forest City native and the owner of the NFL's Houston Texans, Robert McNair, whose contribution made construction of the stadium possible.

  • Forest City is also home to a Facebook Data Center that was opened in 2010.

  • In 2016 Forest City began planning the Thermal Belt Rail Trail that extends from Forest W. Hunt Elementary school to Gilkey North Carolina. It was completed in 2019.

  • In 2016 POPS or Pavilion on Park Square began construction. In May of 2019 the park was officially opened, it is home to two splash pads, an amphitheater, and a concessions stand. With a grassy tiered seating area, capable of holding 2000 people.