Belmont is a small suburban city in Gaston County, North Carolina, United States, located about 15 miles (24 km) west of uptown Charlotte, North Carolina and 9 miles (14 km) east of Gastonia. The population was 8,705 at the 2000 census. Once known as Garibaldi, the city named in honor of August Belmont, a prominent New York banker. Belmont is home to Belmont Abbey College. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.2 square miles (21 sq.km), of which, 8.1 square miles (21 sq.km) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 sq.km) of it (1.82%) is water. Nestled in the southern Piedmont region of North Carolina, the town of Belmont is flanked by two rivers, the Catawba River and its right tributary, the South Fork Catawba River. Adjacent to Belmont, the rivers make up two arms of Lake Wylie and form a peninsula on which the city is situated.
Points of interest
The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is a 450-acre (1.8 km2) world-class botanical garden located on New Hope Road southwest of Belmont. Daniel J. Stowe, a retired textile executive, set aside the property and established a foundation to develop the Garden. The first gardens opened to the public in 1999.
The Downtown Belmont Historic District has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1996. Roughly bounded by the former campus of Sacred Heart College, the Norfolk Southern Railway line, Main, Glenway, and Bryant Streets, Keener Blvd., and Central Ave, the district covers 1,700 acres (6.9 km2). It contains 264 buildings and 2 structures built between 1850 and 1949, including examples of Tudor Revival, Bungalow/Craftsman, and Colonial Revival architectural styles. It includes the Colonial Revival-style former US Post Office at 115 N. Main Street, now the Belmont City Hall. The Belmont Hosiery Mill at 608 S. Main Street is also listed on National Register.
Stowe Manor, at 217 South Central Avenue, is the 1920s mansion built for textile magnate S.P. Stowe.
The campus of Belmont Abbey has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places as an Historic District since 1973. The Abbey Basilica of Mary Help of Christians is the central feature of the campus. Built in the German Gothic-Revival architectural style, the Basilica was the largest Catholic church in North Carolina at the time of its construction. The monks of Belmont Abbey did much of the construction work themselves. The original art glass windows of the Basilica were designed and executed by the Royal Bavarian Establishment of Francis Mayer and Company of Munich, Germany. They were painted then heat-fused, allowing for greater detail than was possible with stained glass. The windows were part of a display that won four gold medals at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1892. The Basilica held cathedral rank from 1910 to 1977. It was elevated to the rank of a Minor Basilica on July 27, 1998.
The Belmont Historical Society Cultural and Heritage Learning Center is located in the former R.L. Stowe home at 40 Catawba Street. Built in 1899, it is believed to be the third oldest home in Belmont. The property also contains a free-standing kitchen, a mill house, and a garage. Displays include furnishings, artifacts, and pictures which tell the history of Belmont from the time of its Native American inhabitants through the textile age.
The U.S. National Whitewater Center is located just across the Catawba River from Belmont in Mecklenburg County. Situated on the east bank of the river, the Center is a non-profit outdoor recreation facility for whitewater rafting, canoeing, and kayaking. It opened for public use in 2006.
Recently, the downtown area of Belmont has been expanding and adding new attractions like restaurants, bars, and comedy clubs. There also is a coffee shop in the downtown part of Belmont called “Caravan Coffee&Dessert Bar,” that hosts the "Caravan Jam" every Wednesday night and "Piano Nights" every other Thursday. With coffee being enjoyed by those in all aspects of life, Caravan attracts all different types of people in Belmont, some you may not have known lived in Belmont before and then again, you might see an old friend. Since it is right beside Stowe Park, it is a good rest area to get a cold drink during the summer or a hot cup of coffee during the colder parts of the year.
There is a general store by the name of “Stowe Mercantile Co.” that provides everything you need from fixing things around the home to toys for the children. Belmont is home to “Bills Belmont Drive-In”, more commonly known just as the “Drive-In.” the drive in stays busy during the warm summer nights when students are out of school for the summer. These have both been a part of Belmont for a long time, but they still are a major part of the community.