Located less than an hour's drive from both Charlotte and Greensboro, Salisbury is part of the larger Charlotte, Gastonia and Rock Hill metropolitan area, a small city that stretches for 17 square miles in the Central Piedmont Region of North Carolina. Established in 1753, the city is rich in Colonial and Civil War history, with several historic districts that feature a variety of Queen Anne, Spanish Missionary and Federal-style buildings. Nearly half of the city's more-than-28,000 residents are single, due to large student and retiree communities.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
Education and healthcare each employ close to 20 percent of the city's population, and other major industries in the area include manufacturing and textiles. Two of the city's largest employers are the regional grocery store chain Food Lion, which is headquartered in Salisbury, and the W.G. Hefner VA Medical Center, which serves approximately 280,000 veterans living in the surrounding region. Despite a higher-than-average unemployment rate, Salisbury enjoys a cost of living well below the U.S. average.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
The city accommodates about 11,400 houses with an occupancy ratio of about 91 percent. Out of these, owners occupy less than 5,600 houses and renters occupy about 4,780 houses.
- Downtown Salisbury is a blend of shops, restaurants, boutiques and attractions, with more than 75 shops. Known for its wide variety of antiques, downtown has several antique stores and a couple of antique malls featuring more than 100 dealers. The shopping area also has more than a dozen cafes, eateries and restaurants, as well as some of the city's most famous historical sites, including the 19th-century Josephus Hall House.
- The Fulton Heights District is a representation of a middle and upper-middle class residential neighborhood that developed in the early 20th century. It is laid out in grid-patterned streets and includes various popular home styles and well-landscaped yards. Like several North Carolina neighborhoods, Fulton Heights once had a streetcar system. Unlike other streetcar neighborhoods, however, Fulton Heights was distinguished in that it provided direct transportation to the nearby Southern Railway Spencer Shops. Today, the park and the streetcar tracks have been replaced by a landscaped median, but the neighborhood still conveys a strong sense of its origins. Various architectural styles are represented in the district including Colonial Revival, Craftsman, Tudor Revival and World War II-era Minimal Traditional along with several examples of earlier styles including Queen Anne and late Victorian-era cottages.
- The West End neighborhood has a large population of minorities and is home to the historically black and private Livingstone College.
- Historic Salisbury Trolley Tours: These distinctive, narrative tours of the 200-plus years of Salisbury history highlight many of the city's historic architecture and buildings.
- Josephus Hall House: Dating from the early 1800s, the Josephus Hall House retains many of its original furnishings and details, such as reproduction wallpaper, four-poster beds, crystal chandeliers and fine bone china.
- Old Stone House: Built in 1766, the Old Stone House still contains many of the home's original furnishings, including a Bible collection, family photo display, pewter collection, a working loom and an eight-foot stone kitchen fireplace.
- North Carolina Transportation Museum: Opened in 1983, the North Carolina Transportation Museum is located on the previous site of a major southeastern train hub. In addition to a wide variety of transportation holdings and artifacts, the museum regularly hosts programs and events.
- Patterson Farms: A working farm for more than four generations, the Patterson Farm cultivates strawberries, tomatoes, pumpkins and seasonal produce and flowers on more than 300 acres of land in neighboring China Grove. The farm also hosts seasonal festivals with music and dancing, hayrides and picnics and a small petting zoo.
- Rowan Museum: Opened in 2001, the Rowan Museum is located in a 19th-century Greek Revival courthouse and houses a variety of artifacts from Salisbury history, including letters, weapons, tools and furniture from the city's earliest settlements, through the Civil War and antebellum periods.
- Salisbury Confederate Prison: Built in 1861, the Salisbury Confederate Prison is the only one of its kind in the state, originally stretching over 16 acres and containing a cotton factory, six brick tenements, a smith shop and a superintendent's house.
- Spencer Historic District: Located in nearby Spencer, the Spencer Historic District features more than 300 historic private homes and public buildings from the turn of the century. It is one of the largest such districts in North Carolina.
- Utzman-Chambers House: Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Utzman-Chambers House was built in the early 1800s and reflects Federal-style architecture. The house has been authentically restored and features a variety of period furnishings, such as a four-poster bed, a Queen Anne chest from the 1700s, and a number of antique costumes, Palladian windows and a suspended staircase.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
- October Tour: Held annually for the past few decades, the October Tour is hosted by the Historic Salisbury Foundation and features eight to 10 historic properties. The tour also narrates architecture and history of the area, as well as restoration issues surrounding the historic homes.
- Holiday Caravan Parade: For more than 50 years, Salisbury's Holiday Caravan Parade has drawn thousands from the surrounding region every season, featuring a wide variety of floats, food and live entertainment.
- Victorian Christmas: Hosted by the Historic Salisbury Foundation, the Victorian Christmas draws more than 5,000 attendees every year. Many of the historic district homes are decorated in Victorian fashion for the holidays.
Salisbury is home to top-ranked Catawba College, a liberal arts institution founded in 1851 and enrolling around 1,300 undergraduates annually. Other area colleges include Livingstone College, a historically African American four-year institution with a 1,000-plus enrollment, and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, with an annual enrollment of around 2,500. Other nearby institutions of higher education include Hood Theological Seminary, Forsyth Technical Community College, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Winston-Salem State University, Wake Forest University, Central Piedmont Community College and High Point University.
Salisbury is served by the local daily Salisbury Post, which was established in 1905 and covers other cities within North Carolina's Rowan County as well. The city is home to five broadcast radio stations, and it receives both television and radio stations from a number of surrounding broadcast markets.