An August 2006 trip
to Salisbury by vampirefan
Quote: Salisbury is one of the most beautiful and historic cities in NC. Come and enjoy her long and rich history. With 11 historic districts, Salisbury is one of the most historic places around.
Salisbury is a history-lover's dream. Established in 1753, it predates both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. It is hard to tell where to start your visit here.
To gain a better understanding of the area, take the time to stop in at the Rowan Museum . The museum is housed in the old courthouse built in 1855. There are several theme rooms, including a child’s room and one room set up permanently for the DAR (Daughters of the Revolution).
The Josephus W Hall House will make you feel like Scarlet O’Hara indeed. This striking two-story home built in 1820 was the former home of Dr. Josephus Hall. The rooms are authentically decorated as the house once would have looked and around 80% of the furniture is from the family.
While on a less grand scale, the Utzman-Chambers home is nonetheless impressive. Built between 1815 and 1819, the home has an incredible suspended staircase that leads up to the 3rd floor. Also inside is a chair that belonged to Daniel Boone.
The National Cemetery was established as a national site in 1870. It is the resting place of POW’s at the local prison.
Take the time to check out one of the 10 historic districts in the area. The homes here will leave you constantly trying to keep your jaw from hitting the ground. The area has a variety of styles, from Queen Anne and Federal to even Spanish Missionary! Salisbury has one of the largest historic districts in the South. Only Savannah, GA, has a larger one!
Just down the road in Spencer, you will find the NC Transportation Museum. The largest (and apparently the most popular) of the NC Historic Sites, the museum celebrates all forms of transportation. Since Salisbury was once a major train hub, the major emphases here is on trains. You can even take a ride on one through the compound.
Also down the road a bit you will find the Michael Braun House, also known as the Old Stone House. This delightful home was built for the Braun family in 1766.
Right before you get there, you will run into one of the local’s favorites…Dan Nichols Park . The park is part family park, amusement park, and zoo.
One good suggestion is to start at the visitor’s center. Here you will find a wealth of information on this picturesque city. You can pick up brochures on self-guided tours as well as information on what to do here. You will also find information on plenty of places throughout NC. While you are here, make sure to check out the Trolley Tour. This guided tour leads you throughout the historic district. You will get to see some of the most historic sites in Salisbury as well as passing some of the areas most magnificent and notable homes.
Or, before you go, visit www.visitsalisburync.com and they will send you an information package.
If you are in town October 14 and 15, 2006, you're in luck. This is when they hold their annual Tour of Homes . You get a chance to glimpse inside 12 of the towns lovely celebrated homes. Included is the McCubbins-McCanless House, which is being restored by the History Channel and will be featured on a future Save Our History.
You will definitely need a car to get around here.
Salisbury is about an hour from either Charlotte (CLT) or Greensboro (GSO) airports. Raleigh (RDU) is about 2 hours away. You can pick up rental cars at the airport.
Amtrak does stop in Salisbury at the intricately restored Spanish-Missionary styled depot. The trolley does pick up passengers from there.
Getting around the downtown history is easy. The best way is just to walk. You have a smooth, flat area to maneuver around. This is the best way to possibly take in all the beautiful places here.
If you do choose to drive in the downtown area, be careful of direction you are going. The area is filled with one-way streets.
There is ample parking downtown, and most of the attractions have parking nearby.
One of my very best suggestions to learn about the city you're visiting is to take a tour. And one of the best ways to tour Salisbury is by the very cute trolley tour.
Our tour guide for this ride was Anna Keply, who did a great job and was a terrific and informative guide. This 60-minute tour takes you through the historic downtown area, by the old Confederate prison site, and out to the National Cemetery. You will hear how Salisbury got its start and how the historical foundation is keeping the incredible city alive.
This is not a get on and off tour. Your guide will give you a history of this town and point out major attractions and spots. Highlights include the restored 1907 Railway Station, The Old Cheerwine Bottling Company (cheerwine is a local cherry-flavored soda that you can easily find at any store), Chestnut Hill Cemetery, the Confederate Museum, the Rowan Library (which has an extensive genealogy and research room), The Presbyterian Bell tower left from the original 1882 church, the only building left from the old Confederate prison, the National Cemetery, and the Salisbury Mural. Artist Cynvia Arthur Rankin painted this 127’-48.5’ mural on a wall near the Wachovia Bank.
The tours run every Saturday April-October at 11 and 1. Admission is $5 pp. Run inside the visitor’s center, grab the latest edition of Out & About, and you will find a buy-one, get-one-free coupon. Or you can get a combination ticket, which includes the trolley tour, the Utzman-Chambers House, the Rowan Museum, and the Hall House for $11(a)$7(c).
Aside from the tour, the trolley does offer pick-ups at the train station and picks up and drops off at several museums, including the NC Museum of Transportation.
You can rent the trolley for your wedding, prom, political events, birthday party, meeting, or any other event. They also are often part of the downtown events, including a Santa spotting in December!
The trolley tour is a nice way to start your day. I suggest taking the 11am tour if possible. The museums and homes do not open until 1pm. You can take the tour, grab a bite to eat, and then be at the museum when it opens at 1pm.
For more information, go to www.downtownsalisburync.com or www.visitsalisburync.com, or call (800) 332-2343 for information on private tours.
The tours leave from the visitor’s center in the heart of downtown. There are restrooms inside the center. You can also grab a drink and get information on Salisbury and walking tours as well as information on nearby attractions and places all over my great state. They can also guide you towards a great restaurant and lodging options.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 5, 2006
Salisbury Trolley Tour
204 E. Innes St.
Salisbury , North Carolina
When you step in this grand mansion, remiss of the palatial Southern plantations, you will feel like Scarlet O’Hara entering your grand home. And on the inside you will indeed find Scarlets and a few Rhet Butlers to boot.
The home was first built in 1820 as a school. Later, in 1825, Maxwell Chambers and his sister, Rebecca Troy, purchased the home as their house. Dr. Josephus W. Hall, a local doctor and businessman, purchased the home for his family in 1859. The home would remain in the family for many generations to come.
Dr. Hall set about to turn this home into the beauty you still see today. They added the finest French wallpaper money could buy and brought in beautiful furnishings, and it was while the doctor was here that the ironwork you see on the second-story balcony was added. It would stay in the Hall family until the Salisbury historical society purchased the home and furnishings in 1972. The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
When you first enter, costumed docents will greet you and take you on a tour of the home. The first room is like a family room, with a few pieces of furniture and walls with only some wallpaper on it to show the original wood walls. You also see a guest bedroom with a magnificent four-poster bed. Upstairs there is the marvelously furnished master bedroom and the children’s room. You also get to walk out on the second-story balcony. Back downstairs there is dining room and formal room. The walls are finished with reproduction wallpaper, stunning crystal chandeliers, antiques, and a table filled with Mrs. Hall’s bone china. In fact, the house is furnished with about 80% of the original family furniture. In the hallway, look up and you will see the ceiling, discovered after a previous one was removed. It has the original Pennsylvania motif. Outside you can tour the gardens, see the kitchen where the slaves would have also lived, and take note of the cannon in the front yard.
Today the house is open to the public and is under the watchful eye of the Historic Salisbury Foundation. They are usually part of the historic homes tour and will be this October. Sometimes the Hall family members do come in from California for the event and to keep an eye on their home. I am sure they must approve of how the foundation has brought their home back to its original grandeur.
The home is truly a must see for those who appreciate history and have a love of elegant grand homes.
Open Saturday & Sunday 1-4.
Admission: $3. Visitor’s center offers a combo trolley tour and homes ticket for $11 (a) $7 (c).
Not handicapped accessible.
Go to www.historicsalisbury.org for more information and to find out about upcoming events.
Josephus Hall House
226 S. Jackson St.
Salisbury , North Carolina
Attraction | "Utzman-Chambers House"
The Utzman-Chambers House was built between 1815 and 1819 for Lewis Utzman, a local cabinet maker. This Federal-style townhouse once served as the headquarters of the Rowan Museum.
The home has been immaculately restored to its original appearance. When you first arrive, you will sign the guest register book on a 1700s stretcher table. Also in this room is a chair that once belonged to explorer Daniel Boone, as well as early surveyor instruments.
There are rooms on the first two floors open to the public. Some of the rooms are set up as they once would have been used by the families who lived here, while others are used to display many of the items from when this was once the museum. Among the items you can view here include a Sheraton four-poster bed, a 1750 Queen Anne chest, a completed child’s bedroom, and a fully furnished dining room. There is a collection of antique costumes, including a stunning silk gown worn by a local citizen to the ball that honored President George Washington’s visit to Salisbury in 1791. Also marvel at the intricately carved suspended staircase that leads to the third floor. The home features Chippendale, Hepplewhite, and Duncan-Phyfe or Fife furniture, whichever you prefer. The home features Palladian windows in the south gable end.
The home was restored and opened to the public in 1954. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is one of only a few surviving townhouses in the area.
While this home may not be as grand as the Joseph W. Hall that sits nearby, this small gem is worth taking the time to come inside and visit.
They do have continuous tours through the house. They are open 1-4 Saturday and Sunday. They may have extended hours during special occasions. Admission is $3 (a) $1.50 (c). You can purchase a trolley pass for $11 (a) and $7 (c), which includes admission to the house, the Josephus W Hall House, the Rowan Museum, and the trolley tour. They often participate in the Tour of Homes in October. They are not handicapped-accessible. Allow about an hour to tour.
Bob Vila’s Guide to Historic Homes of the South
Utzman-Chambers House Museum
116 S. Jackson St.
Salisbury , North Carolina
The Rowan Museum is housed in the old 1855 courthouse. It sits beside the "new" 1914 courthouse, which is still in use as a courthouse today. Its administrative offices are housed in the 1911 old US Post Office and Federal Courthouse building.
The building is an example of the classical Greek Revival temple and was spared by General Stoneman during his 1865 occupation of Salisbury. The building was abandoned in 1914, when the last courthouse was built. It served as the public library, Red Cross headquarters, and Chamber of Commerce building, and has been a night school. By 1948, the building had deteriorated and was slated for demolition. Public outcry lead to the building being restored and would serve as a public building for many years.
The museum was originally housed in the 1819 Utzman-Chambers home. In 1996, the old courthouse was closed as a public building and the museum moved their offices to the newly restored Old Post office. The following year the Board of Commissioners elected to lease the old courthouse to the museum for $1 a year. In 1999, the Utzman-Chambers home was resorted to look like when Lewis Utzman and his family lived there and was open to the public for tours. On October 20, 2001, the Rowan Museum was finally open to the public.
Today the museum houses artifacts from the cities varied and rich history. You can see the original courthouse doors, everyday items from citizens, a wagon that transported someone to their new home in Salisbury, antique furnishings, and the flag that originally flew over the Confederate Cemetery. You can go out on the second story balcony and marvel at the room which originally was where court was held. Original judge’s benches are still here. Today the room is used for museum events or rented out for private parties and weddings. Out back you will find an incredible garden and surrounding the garden is the original wrought-iron fence that surrounded Rebecca’s Well.
Walking in here, you get an idea of what has keep this incredible and historical city going for so many years. The museum is open Thursday to Sunday from 1 to 4pm. Admission is $3 pp, or you can get a combination ticket, which includes the trolley tour, the Utzman-Chambers House, the Rowan Museum, and the Hall House for $11(a) $7 (c). They are handicapped-accessible. They do have several special events throughout the year, including an Antiques Fair. You can call (704) 633-5946 for more information or to rent out the event room, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.downtownsalisburync.com or www.visitsalisburync.com.
202 N. Main St.
Salisbury , North Carolina 28144
Charlotte, North Carolina