Salisbury, North Carolina, is the historic and picturesque county seat of Rowan County. Salisbury is in the Piedmont Region of North Carolina, approximately 19 miles north of Concord and 37 miles northeast of Charlotte. Salisbury is billed as the “Heart of the Arts,” with a downtown lined with quaint stores, museums, art galleries, and antique stores. Landmark properties in historic downtown Salisbury include the Dr. Josephus Hall House, the 1908 Railway Passenger Station, Grimes Mill and the Salisbury Ice House.
Salisbury was founded in April 1753. Initially called Rowan Courthouse, Salisbury was established as a county seat to provide early settlers with courthouse and jail services. The community was declared the Town of Salisbury in 1755. In 1855, the North Carolina Rail Road arrived, leading to growth and industrial development. Today, the Rowan County Courthouse is located at 210 N Main St., Salisbury, NC 28144-4374.
This industrial development has left Salisbury with a surplus of manufacturing buildings and sites on either side of the railroad tracks, north, south and west of the downtown area. The N.C. Department of Commerce lists manufacturing as Rowan County’s top industry by employment in 2008. Salisbury is at the crossroads of Interstate 85 and U.S. Routes 29, 52, 70 and 601. N.C. 150 also serves the city. Rowan County Airport, is located only three miles from downtown Salisbury, and the Charlotte Douglas International Airport and Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro are less than an hour’s drive from the city.
Renovation of the older industrial buildings in Salisbury is hampered by the presence of asbestos, a challenge for the City of Salisbury as many of these buildings and sites are located within, or close to, residential areas. Building demolition or renovation projects may disturb asbestos-containing building materials. Such disturbances can result in the production of asbestos-containing dust which may contaminate a structure. Exposure to asbestos has been linked to the deadly disease of mesothelioma, which may develop years or decades after the initial exposure. The most likely options for existing older industrial buildings and sites in Salisbury are adaptive reuse, and, when no other option is available, demolition and redevelopment.
The climate in the Salisbury area is moderate. The City of Salisbury, NC maintains 246 acres of parkland and 2,700 feet of greenway trails, in addition to playgrounds and athletic facilities for resident’s outdoor recreation needs.
Public cultural and art resources are abundant within Salisbury due to the hard work of many civic-minded community groups such as the Community Appearance Commission, the Salisbury Tree Board, the Historic Preservation Commission, the Public Art Committee, Downtown Salisbury, Inc., and the Rowan County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.