First known as White Pines, Cherryville was settled in 1792 by German, Dutch, and Scotch-Irish pioneers. The original grants of land were made by Governor Samuel Ashe. During the 1700s, Old Post Road in Cherryville served as a main thoroughfare between Charlotte, North Carolina and Spartanburg, South Carolina; as well as, a highway connection between Washington, D.C. and important locations throughout the South.
During the 1860s the town served as a water and coal stop on the Carolina Central (later Seaboard Coastal) Railroad line. Along this railroad, a local resident planted flowering cherry trees, spurring train engineers to refer to the settlement as Cherryville, the name under which the town was incorporated in 1881.
In the 1900s Carolina Freight Carriers Corporation, which became the fifth largest trucking company in the United States, established itself as a major economic force shaping the community, region, and nation. Carolina Freight was purchased and moved in 1995. The C. Grier Beam Truck Museum celebrates the legacy of this important company.
Agriculture was Cherryville's main economic base for many years. During the 1800s, however, the town, as did many communities in the Piedmont area of North Carolina, established itself in the textile industry, following the mill village concept still somewhat evident today.
Today, a diversity of manufacturing and service business has created a more balanced economy.