Block Smith Memorial Gymnasium – UNDER CONTRACT

  • 130 E. Rhodes Street
    USA Lincolnton , NC 28092
    Lincoln County
  • $50,000
  • 12,608 square feet
  • Lot Size: 1.335 acres / Zoning: R-15

Jack Thomson , Regional Director
Preservation NC, Western Office


Mid-Century Gymnasium Primed for Sensitive Adaptive Reuse!

Architectural and Historical Information

The mid-century Block Smith Memorial Gymnasium is nestled in the South Aspen Street Historic District, just two blocks from thriving downtown Lincolnton and adjacent to Gaston College’s Lincoln Campus.

In 1954, Lincolnton High School made a significant expansion to its facilities through the construction of a modern gymnasium across East Rhodes Street from the main school building. Dedicated on December 8th, the gym was named for Charles D. “Block” Smith (1901-1944), a beloved coach and teacher at the high school from 1925 to 1937.

The brick building is a worthy example of mid-twentieth-century modernism. A broad segmental-vaulted roof dominates the two-level structure. The symmetrical façade on East Rhodes Street has a tall, concrete-bordered projecting lobby with three pairs of double-leaf glass doors surrounded by glass panels. Projecting one-story rooms flank the lobby. The interior of the lobby has striking tile walls with a gray background and red zig-zagging lines. Plain brick pilasters line the sides and rear of the gym, and the east and west side elevations have a band of metal tilt windows positioned high on the wall.

With the school district no longer occupying the main building on South Aspen Street, the gym is currently used by the Lincoln County Parks and Recreation Department. At the time of the preparation of the 2003 National Register nomination, the gym was less than fifty years old and therefore non-contributing to the historic and architectural character of the district. With time, that designation will likely change.

Intimately placed within a residential neighborhood, sensitive adaptation will likely require rezoning. The property is currently subject to a Conditional Use Permit from 2003. The property would benefit from a complete rehabilitation including updates to all systems—mechanical, plumbing and electrical.

Area Information

The charming city of Lincolnton is steeped in history and located just minutes from I-40 and I-85 in the heart of the North Carolina Piedmont. Lincolnton is ideally located just northwest of Charlotte, where the Queen City’s professional athletics and world class cultural activities are easily accessible. Lincolnton is just an hour from the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains & Asheville, and close to rivers, lakes, state parks and a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities.

Lincolnton also makes for easy day trips to Hickory for furniture shopping, Gastonia for the Schiele Museum of Natural History, and Blowing Rock for fresh mountain air and regional arts & crafts. Folks find Lincolnton an excellent place to visit. A flourishing downtown central business district is enjoying a renaissance with local merchants selling antiques, boutique clothing, fine jewelry and unique gifts. A new music store, recording studio, butcher shop and wood fired pizzeria are a few of the most recent business openings. A growing restaurant and craft brewery movement is creating opportunities for entrepreneurs and leading the charge to redevelop and repurpose historic buildings. Lincolnton has maintained its small-town charm while providing big city opportunities.

Click here to view the pdf brochure for the Block Smith Memorial Gymnasium