• Charlie Leonard

Walk Down Main Street: Cramerton's Parks, Patios and Pastries

The snaking South Fork Catawba River is the perfect metaphor for the town of Cramerton that’s built along its banks, small but mighty and a tributary to something greater. Defined geographically by the South Fork Catawba River and the nearby Cramer and Berry mountains, the only thing more immediate than Cramerton’s idyllic scenery is its historic impact in such a short time frame.

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

Cramerton’s rise is due to the work of one of Gaston County’s most powerful figures, Stuart Warren Cramer. Cramer was a revolutionary inventor and is credited for the design of over 150 mills or a third of the mills in the South at the time. Cramer personally founded 11 mills on his own with an essential feature at the time, the Cramer System of Air Conditioning. With over 60 patents and successful design prowess, Cramer quickly accumulated his personal wealth.

Through his newfound riches, Cramer’s mission was to mold Cramerton–known as Mayworth at the time– into the “model mill village” through a varied series of services. The most prominent features still standing today are the Mayworth School (now apartments for senior living) on the drive downtown, the Town Hall, and Cramer’s personal Maymont Mansion which hosted figures such as James B. Duke of the Duke Power Company, General George Patton Jr., and Presidents Herbert Hoover and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Cramer also commissioned parks, playgrounds, and other recreational amenities which remains a key part of Cramerton’s identity today.

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

The town’s name was eventually changed to Cramerton after Cramer, and the improvements Cramer brought about with the help of the newly named Cramerton Mills Inc. received praise from Textile World magazine, which said: “The business of town-building is the accomplishment of this corporation”.

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

In 1929, Cramer’s company provided yet another major service, this time to the United States Army. Influenced by his son, Major Stuart W. Cramer Jr., and the failings of the “doughboy” uniforms of World War 1, Cramer began manufacturing 8.2 ounce Army khakis for military service. Called “Cramerton Army Cloth,” Cramer voluntarily gave the technical schematics for his khakis at the beginning of World War II for mass production. Cramerton Cloth eventually grew to become the standard service uniform for the entire armed forces, seeing service in the Korean War and the Vietnam War as well. “Cramerton Cloth” was rebranded as “Cramerton Khaki” by Dockers, and Cramerton earned the nickname of “Khaki Town USA” for its service to the efforts of multiple wars.

The modern town of Cramerton recently celebrated its centennial in 2015 and is still a desirable place to settle down amidst the natural beauty. On Main Street, there’s still that sense of the “model mill village,” providing a unique look at history with many new modern amenities that give this small town its might.

Shopping & Services

Shop like you’re the long-lost ancestor of Stuart Warren Cramer with Cramerton’s selection of retail offerings.

Cramerton Drug

149 Eighth Ave.

Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m.-4 p.m.

Since 1955, Cramerton Drug has been the hometown pharmacy for the Cramerton area. With a reputation of quality service, low prices, and a friendly staff that’s always ready to help, Cramerton Drug is the place to go for all your prescription needs.

EllaB & Co. Boutique

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

1 S. Main St.

Monday 1 p.m.-6 p.m.; Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Run by owners Zack Stone and Pam Baxter, EllaB & Co. Boutique is a family-owned boutique store showcasing a modern, Southern style. With a variety of clothes, shoes, and accessories from designers like Matisse Footwear, Erimish, and Half United, there’s an outfit available for every taste and every price range. Stop by their Cramerton store or check out their up-to-date selection on their Instagram page.

Sacred Corner

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

100 Center St. B

Open Daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Sacred Corner is a supply store for all things spiritual. The metaphysical supply store offers a range of intuitive crystals and gemstones, incense, handmade jewelry, and other spiritual accessories and home decor. Sacred Corner is a certified cool space with a unique atmosphere that’s certain to give you nothing but positive vibes.

Dining & Beverages

Some of the most creative and high-quality food and coffee in all of Gaston County are right here in downtown Cramerton.

Doffer's Canteen

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

119 Center St.

Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Opened in 2016 by the former manager of Pinky’s Westside Grill in Charlotte, Doffer’s Canteen has already catapulted itself up to cult classic status. Doffer’s’ vegan-friendly Tex-Mex menu and diverse selection of wine and craft beer is a delicious way to hang out after a day of Cramerton’s outdoor activities. If the weather permits, sit outside on one of the most unique patios around that features beer tap fountains and local artwork adorning the nearby walls.

Floyd & Blackie’s

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

137 Eighth Ave.

Monday-Wednesday, 6 a.m.-9 p.m.; Thursday 6 a.m.-9:09 p.m.; Friday 6 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m.-6 p.m.

Situated right beside the South Fork Catawba River is Floyd & Blackie’s, one of Gaston County’s finest coffee shops. Floyd & Blackie’s uses organic and fair trade coffee that’s locally roasted in all of their coffee and espresso drinks. The riverside coffee shop serves a pretty great breakfast and homemade baked goodsthe baked treats are so good, you’ll routinely see them featured in other restaurants and coffee shops across Gaston County. Sit outside on their patio and enjoy the lush green outdoors and the sounds of the rushing river.

Mayworth’s Public House

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

115 Center St.

Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Mayworth’s Public Hosue offers an upscale pub atmosphere and menu to match. There’s a great spread of food selections for any time of the day. That could be a nice homemade brunch, a specialty burger, their shrimp and grits, or one of their vegan options. No matter what you eat, it’s perfect with Mayworth’s selection of wine, beer, and cocktails, and best enjoyed outside.

Things to Do

Cramerton is perfectly positioned along the Carolina Thread Trail, a network of greenways that spans several North Carolina counties. Get outside and enjoy Cramerton’s natural beauty, and enjoy some artwork on Cramerton’s most famous thread.

Goat Island Park and Greenway

Photo Courtesy of Perceptive Travel

141 Eighth Ave.

Open Daily 7 a.m.-9 p.m.

The Goat Island Park and Greenway spans 30 acres of green space right in the middle of downtown Cramerton. There’s a multitude of options to choose from here including two canoe/kayak landings accessing the South Fork Catawba River, a natural treehouse-style playground, an 18-hole disc golf course, walking trails, an amphitheater, and more.

“Welcome to Cramerton, Khaki Town USA” Mural

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

109 Center St.

To celebrate the importance of khaki, Cramerton’s most famous thread, a mural was commissioned in 2019 to honor the legacy of Khaki Town USA. Created by Bizzell Design from Mooresville, the mural showcases a World War II-era Women Air Force Service Pilot member dressed in Cramerton Khaki and an excerpt of a speech in 1942 when Cramerton received the Army-Navy “E” Production Award for “high achievement in the production of war materials.” Cramerton’s role in service to the US armed forces is an important piece of history-making this mural a must-see for your Cramerton visit.

Riverside Greenway Trailhead

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

75 Riverside Dr.

Immediately alongside the South Fork Catawba River, the Riverside Greenway Trailhead is an easy and scenic outdoor option that’s great for walkers, runners, and bikers of all ages. With such close proximity to the water, it’s not uncommon to see beavers, wood ducks, and other wildlife in the area.