Charming Piedmont Towns
Salisbury: Busy Historic Main Street
Idyllic Salisbury could have been the set for 50s TV sitcoms like Leave It To Beaver and Father Knows Best. Its tree-lined streets and busy downtown are paradise for shoppers and history buffs alike. Shops feature original art and pottery from local craftsmen, and even bibbed overalls. Before you start shopping, go to the Visitor Information Center to get your valuable discount coupons from local merchants.
Salisbury Emporium, a 15,000 square foot center filled with an assortment of antiques, decorations and gifts, is your next downtown destination. In nearby Spencer, home of the NC Transportation Museum, is Bridge to the World, a unique non-profit store that features the works of craftspeople from poverty-stricken countries around the world.
Civil War buffs will want to discover Salisbury’s important role in that conflict. Start with a tour of the Salisbury Confederate Prison site and the Salisbury National Cemetery, where an estimated 11,700 soldiers died while incarcerated at the prison. An audiotape-guided tour is available at the Rowan County Visitor Information Center.
The former home of Dr. Josephus Hall, who served as the Chief Surgeon at the Salisbury Confederate Prison, is your next stop. It features an impressive collection of mid-Victorian furnishings and decorative accessories belonging to the Hall family. Dr. Hall's pardon, signed by President Andrew Johnson, hangs in the upstairs hallway.
There are 10 historic districts in Salisbury. The 30-square-block area consisting of the historic Downtown and the West Square residential district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Salisbury’s historic district contains many beautiful homes like that of Dr. Hall. There’s the Utzman-Chambers House, 116 S. Jackson St., a Federal townhouse that was built in 1819. Period rooms contain Hepplewhite and Chippendale furniture as well as furniture made by Rowan County craftsmen.
Michael Braun built the Old Stone House in 1766, when the site was a virtual wilderness. The two-story Georgian house is stately for its time. On the second floor high up next to the chimney are two openings believed to be gun ports for the inhabitants to fight off hostile Indians.
Don’t miss the Waterworks Visual Arts Center, located in the city's first waterworks building, on the corner of West Kerr and Water Streets. It offers regional and national gallery exhibitions, hands-on gallery for children, studio classes, workshops and lectures as well as outreach programs.
The Hamlin Sensory Garden in the Taylor/Johnson Courtyard invites visitors to participate in the art experience through touch, sound, fragrance and sight.
added: December 31, 2008
updated: January 2, 2009