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  • Charlie Leonard

Walk Down Main Street: The friendly town of Stanley from train depots to classic eats

As a part of our Walk Down Main Street series, our writers take you on a stroll down the beautiful streets that make up our county's down towns, sharing a bit of insider info along the way.

In western Gaston County sits the town of Stanley. Founded in 1879, Stanley has prided itself on the town tagline of “A Friendly Place.” Originally called “Stanley Creek” by a gold prospector, the town of Stanley has often played the role of an inviting guest, welcoming historical figures like botanist André Michaux and various historic war generals.

Downtown Train Mural - Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

The placement of a rail depot in the middle of town in 1860 positioned Stanley to be a destination for travelers. Today Stanley’s downtown is still halved by the railroad that runs through it, with nods to the railway history present throughout. Being a short drive from Gastonia and Charlotte, and with a myriad of old and new businesses right along Main Street, Stanley has maintained its small-town charm nestled between city and rural life.

Stanley Hardware and Feed

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

100 N. Main St.

Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Located on the corner of N. Main Street and the intersecting Chestnut Street, Stanley Hardware and Feed is a one-stop-shop for hardware tools, farm equipment, home and garden supplies, and more. They’ve also got some unique services in-store like ax and machete sharpening, pet ID and luggage tag engraving, and key making. Stanley Hardware and Feed holds a little bit of everything, and in true Stanley fashion, they’ll be happy to see you.

TJ’s Hot Dog Shack

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

129 S. Main St.

Monday - Saturday, 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.

One of the newer businesses in town (opened since July of 2020) is TJ’s Hot Dog Shack, home of all things hot dogs. TJ’s is operating in the former Brevard Station, the town’s train depot; now it’s the quality hot-dogs and brats that will bring you into town. Besides hot dogs are BBQ sandwiches, nachos, veggie dogs, and brats. Try their Stanley brat, featuring pimento cheese, red cabbage, slaw, and tomatoes, and pretend like you’re waiting for your train to arrive.

Brevard Station Museum

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

112 S. Main St.

Saturday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., or open by appointment

Across the train tracks from TJ’s is the Brevard Station Museum, a repository of Stanley’s history. Beginning in 1991, the museum has housed vital records, genealogical information, and various artifacts that span the length of the town’s history. Notably, the museum contains more information about Stanley’s gold mining history and the discovery of a rare Magnolia species by the French botanist, André Michaux.

Friendly’s of Stanley

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

119 N. Main St.

Tuesday - Wednesday, 7 a.m. - 3 p.m.; Thursday 7 a.m. - 2 p.m.; Friday 7 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m. - 2 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Down the street from the Brevard Station Museum is Friendly’s of Stanley. Occupying a log cabin up on a hill, the homestyle cooking will make you feel right at home in Stanley’s friendly confines. Friendly’s serves breakfast all day, which includes pancakes, omelets, breakfast sandwiches, and plates with local favorites like sausage, country ham, and livermush. If you’d rather have lunch or dinner style food, get a cheeseburger, Philly cheesesteak, or another one of their sandwich options.

105 Main Florist and Home Decor

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

105 S. Main St.

Monday - Friday, 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Saturday 9:30 a.m. to-12 p.m.

Just like Stanley, the gift of flowers are timeless, and that’s exactly what you’ll be shopping for at 105 Main Florist and Home Decor. With 45 years of experience, the full-service floral shop offers many selections like wreaths, bouquets, flower baskets, and more. 105 Main Florist and Home Decor is right across from Stanley Hardware and Feed, making shopping for all your home needs simple. There’s never a bad excuse for flowers, and this place has you covered.

Stanley Barber Shop

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

110 S. Main St.

Tuesday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m. - noon

If you need a haircut, look no further than the Stanley Barber Shop. The barbershop is as classic as they come, complete with the iconic barber’s pole outside the door. It’s a great place to get your haircut the old-fashioned way—including their old-fashioned pricing. Get a cut and a shave some time and get a smile at another one of Stanley’s home town spots.

The Woodshed

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

210 S. Main St.

Tuesday - Thursday, 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.; Friday - Saturday, 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.

The Woodshed is a Stanley cult classic. The restaurant dates back to 1985 and was converted from a part-time sandwich shop and dance hall—known for shagging and line dancing—to a steakhouse. They’ve got great steaks, with cuts prime rib and ribeye being the go-to choices. Grab a tomato and onion sandwich (Woodshed’s claim to fame) while you wait for the main course.

Stanley Train Mural

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

Corner of South Main and West Chestnut Streets

The Stanley Train Mural is placemaking at its finest–an effort to create public spaces that foster identity and connect communities among other things. Created by Boyce and Joe McKinney in 2011, the mural emphasizes and pays homage to Stanley’s importance as a place of gathering. The mural portrays that meaning through a depiction of a green locomotive with green passenger cars stopped at the train depot. It’s simple yet thematically and aesthetically important for the town of Stanley and all that visit.

Stanley Creek Treasures

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

710 S. Main St., Stanley

Thursday-Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-4 pm.

A mix of old and new. Stanley Creek Treasures offers antiques and collectibles alongside modern wares as well as seasonal décor. Add this to your must-do list in downtown Stanley.

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