Salisbury, North Carolina

Salisbury, North Carolina


Location of Salisbury, North Carolina
Coordinates: 35°40′6″N 80°28′43″W / 35.66833°N 80.47861°W / 35.66833; -80.47861Coordinates: 35°40′6″N 80°28′43″W / 35.66833°N 80.47861°W / 35.66833; -80.47861
Country United States
State North Carolina
County Rowan
  Total 17.8 sq mi (46.0 km2)
  Land 17.8 sq mi (46.0 km2)
  Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 791 ft (241 m)
Population (2010)
  Total 33,662
  Estimate (2016)[1] 34,001
  Density 1,900/sq mi (730/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC−5)
  Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
ZIP codes 28144-28147-28146
Area code(s) 704,980
FIPS code 37-58860[2]
GNIS feature ID 0994186[3]

Salisbury (/ˈsɔːlzbəri/ SAWLZ-bər-ee) is a city in North Carolina and the county seat of Rowan County, North Carolina, United States.[4] Located 44 miles northeast of Charlotte and within its metropolitan area, the town has attracted a growing population. This was 33,663 in the 2010 Census (growing 27.8% from the Census in 2000).

Founded in 1753, Salisbury is noted for its historic preservation, with five Local Historic Districts and ten National Register Historic Districts. Salisbury is the home to North Carolina soft drink, Cheerwine, regional supermarket Food Lion, and the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. It is one of two cities in North Carolina to have gigabit capacity through its municipally owned broadband system Fibrant. In 2015 Salisbury's Fibrant system became capable of 10 gigabit capacity town-wide; it is thought to be the only town-owned system in the world with such capacity.[5][6][7]


In 1753 an appointed trustee for Rowan County was directed to enter 40 acres (16 ha) of land for a County Seat, and public buildings were erected. The deed is dated February 11, 1755, when Earl Granville conveyed 635 acres (257 ha) for the "Salisbury Township"[8] The city, built at the intersection of longtime Native American trading routes, became an economic hub along the Great Wagon Road in North Carolina.[9] It became the principal city of the Salisbury judicial and militia districts in the years leading up to the American War of Independence.[10]

In the antebellum period and after the war, Salisbury was the trading city of an area devoted to cultivation of cotton as a commodity crop. It was also the business and law center of the county. Numerous houses and other structures were built by wealthy planters and merchants in this period. In the late 19th century the City became a railroad hub as people traveled along the eastern corridor.

In the 20th century, Salisbury's economy grew into an industrial-based economy, in a large part because of the development of the textile industry and the numerous textile mills operating in the city.[11]

The late 20th century shift of textile mills offshore cost the city and area many jobs. But since 2000, the population has grown rapidly, with people attracted to the city's resources and amenities.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.8 square miles (46 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Est. 201634,001[1]1.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 33,663 people, 10,276 households, and 6,186 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,488.3 people per square mile (574.6/km²). There were 11,288 housing units at an average density of 634.9 per square mile (245.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 57.30% White, 37.56% African American, 0.28% Native American, 1.39% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 1.92% from other races, and 1.48% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.30% of the population.

There were 10,276 households out of which 26.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.0% were married couples living together, 17.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.8% were non-families. 34.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the city, the population was spread out with 21.8% under the age of 18, 13.1% from 18 to 24, 25.0% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 19.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,923, and the median income for a family was $41,108. Males had a median income of $31,149 versus $25,019 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,864. About 12.2% of families and 16.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.3% of those under age 18 and 11.0% of those age 65 or over. 2010 Census data will be available in January 2011.



Salisbury is home to a downtown area that encompasses several blocks near the intersection of Innes Street and Main Street. Because of the decline in the textile industry and the rise of suburban malls, the downtown area still has vacant buildings. The retail features more unique, locally owned businesses and merchants. Downtown Salisbury provides an array of shops, antique stores, and cultural attractions. Downtown Nights Out, held from time to time throughout the year, provide opportunities for late night shopping, musical entertainment, and fine dining.

Major employers

Major employers in Salisbury include the headquarters of Food Lion, a regional grocery chain that is one of the US subsidiaries of Delhaize;[13] the W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center, the City of Salisbury, and the County of Rowan. Rowan Regional Medical Center and the Rowan Salisbury School System, are also major employers. Smaller employers include textile mills and other manufacturing businesses.

Arts and culture

Historic preservation

Salisbury has developed a strong record of historic preservation since the late 20th century. It is the site of a noted prisoner of war camp during the American Civil War and has ten National Register historic districts. The city has many historic homes and commercial buildings dating from the 19th century and early 20th century, several of which are individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[14]

Since 1975, Salisbury City Council has designated five Local Historic Districts, encompassing hundreds of historically and architecturally significant buildings. Owners of properties within locally-designated historic districts are required to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Salisbury Historic Preservation Commission before making exterior changes to residential or commercial buildings.[15] The City of Salisbury offers a variety of incentive grants to historic homeowners and downtown business owners to defray the cost of repairs and rehabilitation projects.[16]

Walking tour

A walking tour begins at the Rowan County Convention and Visitor's Bureau and winds through the history of Salisbury and the state's Piedmont Region. Structures from the 19th century, as well as artifacts, such as the desk that President Andrew Jackson used when he studied law in Salisbury, are viewable. The Rowan Museum has exhibits that incorporate the use of three buildings: Salisbury's 1854 County Courthouse, the circa 1815 Utzman–Chambers House Museum, and the 1820 Hall House. These provide information regarding Historic Salisbury. The City of Salisbury currently has 10 National Register Historic Districts with more than 1,200 contributing properties.

The Salisbury History and Art Trail is made up of a series of markers throughout the city that incorporate both history and art for self-guided tours. They mark events and stories from Salisbury's past. The markers are organized info five broad historic eras. This trail was jointly developed by Downtown Salisbury, Inc. and the Salisbury Community Appearance Commission.

Cultural arts community

The Salisbury community has numerous cultural resources and strong citizen support and stewardship for arts and cultural development. It works to protect existing resources while linking arts and cultural resources to key economic, neighborhood development, educational, and social goals of the broader community.[17]

Salisbury has a strong commitment to historic preservation, high levels of arts and cultural activity, a citizen base that places high value on arts education, and a strong local tradition of civic volunteerism. The city has a growing population of professional and amateur artists drawn from many disciplines, with support from local patrons and foundations.[17] It has a high rate of participation in and support for the arts, coupled with an emerging downtown public art program.[17]

The Salisbury Sculpture Show is an example of an existing public art program. The local Rowan Arts Council offers a Rowan Art Crawl on the second Saturday of each month: this provides access to more than 25 professional artists, studios, and galleries. The Rail Walk Arts District, located near the restored Salisbury railroad depot, features an array of artists and galleries.

The Waterworks Visual Arts Center provides diverse opportunities in the arts through exhibitions, education, and outreach programs. The Salisbury Symphony Orchestra performs in the city. Performances of live theatre take place at the Piedmont Players Theatre, Looking Glass Collective Black Box Theater, and the Norvell Children's Theater, with other opportunities for community engagement.

The Fisher Street area of Downtown Salisbury has received new brick areas and had become an entertainment venue, the community site for numerous outdoor concerts, special attractions, and holiday events. Brick Street Live, an outdoor summer concert series, takes place in Downtown Salisbury at the corner of Fisher and Lee streets. The series offers performances by artists from diverse genres.


  • Rowan Public Library (Headquarters Branch)


Salisbury is governed by a city council, which is chaired by the mayor, Al Heggins. The other city council members include: mayor pro tempore David Post, Karen Alexander, Brian Miller, Tamara Sheffield.[18] Members of the council are elected from single-member districts.

The city council appoints a city manager to run the day-to-day operations.[19] W. Lane Bailey was appointed as City Manager February 18, 2015.[20] Since 2011, the City of Salisbury's financial foundation has been strengthened due to management's actions, which resulted in two credit rating increases to bring the city to a AA rating.[21]

On the state level, Salisbury is represented in the North Carolina House of Representatives as a part of the 77th district, which includes the city and northern and western parts of Rowan County. The current representative is Republican Harry J. Warren. Salisbury is represented in the North Carolina Senate, as part of the 34th district, by Republican Andrew Brock as a part of the 34th district. Senator Brock also represents Davie County.

On the national level, Salisbury is a part of North Carolina's 12th congressional district. It is represented by Democrat Alma Adams.[22] The state's senior member of the United States Senate is Republican Richard Burr, who was elected to the Senate in 2004. The junior Senator is Republican Thom Tillis, who was elected in 2014.


Salisbury has a number of educational institutions, both public and private.

Rowan–Salisbury School System

The Rowan–Salisbury School System was formed in 1989 after the merger of the Rowan County Schools and the Salisbury City Schools.[23] Most notable is Salisbury High School. There are no charter schools in Rowan County.[24]

Private schools

Many private schools, both inside and outside the city of Salisbury, serve its citizens. Some schools were founded as segregation academies when the public school system was integrated.

Colleges and universities


The Salisbury Post, founded in 1905, is the local daily newspaper.

WSAT, "Memories 1280", is an AM radio station whose programming consists largely of older pop music. It also broadcasts games of the Carolina Panthers, Catawba College, and local high schools.

WSTP is an AM station associated with Catawba College and training students for broadcasting careers. Co-owned with WSAT, the station went dark on August 30, 2016, citing signal issues.

iHeartMedia-owned alternative rock radio station WEND (New Rock 106.5 The End) is licensed to Salisbury; its transmitter is located in China Grove.

ACCESS16 is a government-access channel located on Fibrant (the city's fiber optic telephone, Internet and MVPD service) and Time Warner Cable Salisbury (channel 16) but not available by satellite. It serves Rowan County, including Salisbury, Granite Quarry, Rockwell, Faith, China Grove and Cleveland.

Salisbury receives its television stations from the Charlotte TV market.



Amtrak's Crescent and Carolinian and Piedmont trains connect Salisbury with the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta, Birmingham and New Orleans. The Amtrak station is situated at Depot and Liberty Streets.

Salisbury is also served by Interstate 85, US Highways 601, 29, 52, and 70, and the Mid-Carolina Regional Airport (formerly Rowan County Airport).

Salisbury is an important point on Interstate 85, as it is just south of the halfway point between Charlotte and Greensboro. Exits 74 (Julian Road), 75 (US Highway 601/Jake Alexander Boulevard), and 76 (Innes Street/US Highway 52) are designated as Salisbury exits.

The City of Salisbury's Transit System (STS) provides public transportation and offers three routes.[25] Each route arrives and departs from the " Transfer Site", which is located on Depot Street. Any member of the general public may ride the Salisbury Transit bus. Salisbury Transit does not operate on Sundays and some holidays.

Health care

Novant Health Rowan Medical Center and affiliated doctors' offices provide a majority of the city residents' healthcare. The W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center is a veterans' hospital in Salisbury operated by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

Notable people

See also


  1. 1 2 "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  2. 1 2 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  6. "salisbury - community broadband networks".
  8. "A history of Rowan County, North Carolina :".
  9. "Salisbury". Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  10. "History of Rowan County". Retrieved 2011-06-25.
  11. "ISJL – North Carolina Salisbury Encyclopedia".
  12. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  13. "Customer Service." Food Lion. Retrieved on May 17, 2012. "CORPORATE ADDRESS Food Lion, LLC. P.O. Box 1330 Salisbury, NC 28145-1330"
  14. "Historic Preservation". City of Salisbury, North Carolina. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  15. "Historic Preservation". Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  16. "Grant Applications". Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  17. 1 2 3 Salisbury Cultural Action Plan Executive Summary, Mary Berryman Agard, & Associates Archived 2011-10-01 at the Wayback Machine., 2008 July. Retrieved 2010-08-05
  18. Bergeron, Josh (4 November 2015). "Incumbents win top spots in Salisbury; Post and Hardin to join council". Salisbury Post. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  19. Archived 2014-08-15 at
  20. "Salisbury City Council hires 'seasoned' city manager - Salisbury Post". Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  21. "S&P upgrades city's bond rating again | Salisbury, NC". Salisbury Post. 2013-11-01. Archived from the original on 2013-12-30. Retrieved 2012-12-30.
  22. Fessenden, Helen. "North Carolina-12: Alma Adams (D)". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  23. Campbell, Sarah (1 July 2011). "Developer offers plans for central office downtown for schools". Salisbury Post. Archived from the original on 3 July 2011. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  24. "Rowan County". Office of Charter Schools website. North Carolina Dept. of Public Instruction. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  25. Transit Operations, City of Salisbury. Retrieved 2016-10-30.
  26. London, Mike (April 17, 2006). "Mike London column: Local legend played in World Series". Salisbury Post. Archived from the original on January 5, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  27. Ford, Emily (March 17, 2012). "Susan Kluttz reflects on her tenure". Salisbury Post. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
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