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Town of Earl
North Carolina
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Earl, NC 28038


Earl 
is located in Cleveland County 
7 miles south of Shelby
on NC Highway 198 and about one mile north 
of the South Carolina state line. 

The Town of Earl (ToE) is a small rural village first settled in the late 1700s. With the coming of the railroad in 1870s the town was a center of rural and agricultural commerce for southern Cleveland County as well as upper Cherokee County, SC, boasting three general stores, blacksmith, assorted service businesses and a cotton gin. When Farm-to-Market roads were improved in the mid 20th century and textile industrialization occurred, Earl again became a quiet rural village with little commerce. 

As the Interstate Highway System developed in the last quarter of the 20th century, the emerging SouthEastern Piedmont Megalopolis from Atlanta to Raleigh on I-85 spawned bedroom and support communities for the urban centers along the route. Located virtually equidistant from Charlotte and Greenville (55 minutes to city centers), the Earl community has seen residential growth taking advantage of our proximity (6 minutes) to I-85 as well as commuters to Shelby, Boiling Springs  (home of Gardner Webb University) and other towns seeking a short commute with easy big city access from a more rural setting.  Earl is fully served by Duke Energy, Time Warner Cable, AT&T, Shelby Municipal Natural Gas, Cleveland County Water System and a U.S. Post Office. Our location and these services, including hi-speed internet, make life in Earl more connected, comfortable and convenient than many communities that share our rural lifestyle. 

Earl is proud of the rural village quality of life enjoyed in our community and makes preservation and enhancement of the landscape, viewscape and rural village character a cornerstone of town policy. Earl proper is surrounded by woodlands, farms, neighborhoods and open lands. While the Town of Earl is small in area, the Earl Community is large and diverse, welcoming visitors and newcomers into its churches, businesses and neighborhoods.