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Salisbury, North Carolina
Official seal of Salisbury, North Carolina
Location of Salisbury, North Carolina
Location of Salisbury, North Carolina
Country United States
State North Carolina
County Rowan
 • Total 22.29 sq mi (57.73 km2)
 • Land 22.29 sq mi (57.73 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
791 ft (241 m)
 • Total 35,580
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,524.88/sq mi (588.76/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 704,980
FIPS code 37-58860
GNIS feature ID 0994186

Salisbury is a city in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, United States; it has been the county seat of Rowan County since 1753 when its territory extended to the Mississippi River. Located 25 miles (40 km) northeast of Charlotte and within its metropolitan area, the town has attracted a growing population. The 2020 census shows 35,580 residents.

Salisbury is the oldest continually populated colonial town in the western region of North Carolina. It is noted for its historic preservation, with five Local Historic Districts and ten National Register Historic Districts.

Soft drink producer Cheerwine and regional supermarket Food Lion are located in Salisbury and Rack Room Shoes was founded there.

Historic sites

Salisbury, North Carolina - Henderson Law Office, c. 1820
Henderson Law Office, c. 1820

Salisbury has developed a strong record of historic preservation over the last few decades. 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.

They include the: Bernhardt House, Boyden High School, Brooklyn-South Square Historic District, Maxwell Chambers House, Community Building, Eastover, Ellis Street Graded School Historic District, Fulton Heights Historic District, Griffith-Sowers House, Grimes Mill, Grubb-Sigmon-Weisiger House, Hambley-Wallace House, Archibald Henderson Law Office, J. C. Price High School, Kesler Manufacturing Co.-Cannon Mills Co. Plant No. 7 Historic District, Livingstone College Historic District, Napoleon Bonaparte McCanless House, Walter McCanless House, McNeely-Strachan House, Monroe Street School, Mount Zion Baptist Church, North Long Street-Park Avenue Historic District, North Main Street Historic District, Salisbury Historic District, Salisbury National Cemetery, Salisbury Railroad Corridor Historic District, Salisbury Southern Railroad Passenger Depot, Shaver Rental Houses District, John Steele House, and Calvin H. Wiley School.


Rowan County Courthouse Salisbury North Carolina
Rowan County Courthouse, Salisbury, 1934
A doffer boy. Salisbury, N.C. - NARA - 523137
Child laborer in Salisbury, 1908. Photo by Lewis Hine.

Salisbury is located at 35°40′6″N 80°28′43″W / 35.66833°N 80.47861°W / 35.66833; -80.47861 (35.668289, -80.478479).

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
Census Pop.
1850 1,086
1860 2,420 122.8%
1880 2,723
1890 4,418 62.2%
1900 6,277 42.1%
1910 7,153 14.0%
1920 13,884 94.1%
1930 16,951 22.1%
1940 19,037 12.3%
1950 20,102 5.6%
1960 21,297 5.9%
1970 22,515 5.7%
1980 22,677 0.7%
1990 23,087 1.8%
2000 26,462 14.6%
2010 33,662 27.2%
2019 (est.) 33,988 1.0%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Salisbury racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 15,785 44.41%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 12,689 35.7%
Native American 105 0.3%
Asian 499 1.4%
Pacific Islander 22 0.06%
Other/Mixed 1,380 3.88%
Hispanic or Latino 5,060 14.24%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 35,540 people, 12,524 households, and 7,325 families residing in the city.

2010 census

As of the census 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.


In 1753 an appointed trustee for Rowan County was directed to enter 40 acres of land for a County Seat, and public buildings were erected. The deed is dated February 11, 1755 when Earl Granville conveyed 635 acres for the "Salisbury Township" The City was built at the intersection of a Native American trading route became an economic hub along the Great Wagon Road in North Carolina. 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 textiles and the numerous mills operating in the city.

Historic engagement

Presbyterian Session House (Salisbury, NC)
The Presbyterian Session House was built in 1855.

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, located in both the Salisbury's 1854 Courthouse and the circa 1815 Utzman-Chambers House Museum, as well as the 1820 Hall House, provide information regarding Historic Salisbury. The City of Salisbury currently has 10 National Register Historic Districts with over 1,200 contributing properties.

Downtown Salisbury, Inc. and the Salisbury Community Appearance Commission offer a glimpse into the city's history through the Salisbury History and Art Trail. A series of markers throughout the city incorporate both history and art into the trail to assist in sharing events, stories, and experiences from Salisbury's past. The markers are organized info five broad historic eras.

Cultural arts community

The Salisbury community presents an area rich in cultural resources with tremendous citizen support and stewardship for arts and cultural development. Salisbury boasts a tradition of valuing arts and diligently strives to protect existing resources while linking arts and cultural resources to key economic, neighborhood development, educational, and social goals of the broader community.

Salisbury is characterized by 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 offers a growing population of professional and amateur artists drawn from many disciplines with vast support from local patrons and foundations.

A unique participation and support for the arts, coupled with that of an emerging downtown public art program, have provided Salisbury with a stable foundation for an exemplary cultural arts plan. 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 and provides access to more than 25 professional artists, studios, and galleries.

The Rail Walk Arts District, located near the restored Salisbury railroad depot, provides 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 offers an opportunity to experience the joy and excitement of music.

The Piedmont Players Theatre, The Looking Glass Collective Black Box Theater, and The Norvell Children's Theater provide venues for creative community engagement through the performing arts.

The Fisher Street area of Downtown Salisbury, recently bricked and revitalized for use as an entertainment venue, has become the 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.



Amtrak's Crescent, 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 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 from I85.

The City of Salisbury's Transit System (STS) provides public transportation and offers three routes. 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.



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.

Broadband networks

In 2015 Salisbury's Fibrant system (later called Hotwire) became capable of 10 gigabit capacity town-wide; it is thought to be the only town-owned system in the world with such capacity.

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; the W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center, the City of Salisbury, and the County of Rowan. Novant Health Rowan Medical Center and the Rowan Salisbury School System, are also major employers. Smaller employers include textile mills and other manufacturing businesses. In 2019, the pet food retailer Chewy announced it would build a 700,000 square foot facility employing 1,200.


Salisbury High School 2
Salisbury High School
Catawba College

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. Most notable is Salisbury High School. There is one charter school in Rowan County, Essie Mae Kiser Foxx Charter School, in East Spencer.

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.

  • North Hills Christian School (PK-12)
  • Rockwell Christian School (PK-12)
  • RCHSA, Homeschool group (any age)
  • Sacred Heart Catholic School (K-8)
  • Salisbury Adventist School (K-7)
  • Salisbury Christian School (K-12)
  • St. John's Kindergarten (PK-K)

Colleges and universities

  • Catawba College
  • Livingstone College
  • Rowan–Cabarrus Community College
  • Hood Theological Seminary

Notable people

  • Bill Baker (1911–2006), MLB player
  • Rachel Oestreicher Bernheim (1943–), human rights activist
  • Sidney Blackmer (1895–1973), actor, born and raised in Salisbury
  • George Bradshaw (1924–1994), Major League Baseball catcher for 1952 Washington Senators
  • Rufus Early Clement (1900–1967), African American educator
  • Elizabeth Hanford Dole (1936–), US Senator 2003–2009, US Secretary of Labor, US Secretary of Transportation, President of American Red Cross
  • Governor of North Carolina John W. Ellis (1820–1861), born in what was then eastern Rowan County and practiced law in Salisbury.
  • Mike Evans (1949–2006), actor and co-creator of TV series Good Times
  • James Goodnight (1943–), CEO of SAS Institute
  • Javon Hargrave (1993–), lineman for NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Josephine D. Heard (1861 – c. 1921), African American teacher, poet
  • Archibald Henderson (1877–1963), professor of mathematics who wrote on many subjects
  • Tripp Isenhour (born 1968), professional golfer
  • President Andrew Jackson (1767–1845) practiced law in Salisbury.
  • Bobby Jackson (1973–), NBA player
  • Bob Jones (1930–1989), state leader of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1960s
  • Roland Jones (1813–1869), represented Louisiana in United States House of Representatives from 1853–1855
  • Baxter Byerly "Buck" Jordan (1907–1973), baseball first baseman
  • E. J. Junior (1959–), National Football League linebacker 1981–1993
  • Ralph Ketner (1920–2016), businessman and philanthropist; co-founder of Food Lion
  • Clyde Kluttz (1917–1979), MLB player, executive and scout
  • Susan W. Kluttz (?–?), Secretary of North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, formerly Salisbury's longest-serving mayor
  • Elizabeth Duncan Koontz (1919–1989), African-American educator and politician
  • Francis Locke Sr. (1722–1796), planter, Colonel in the Rowan County Regiment, victor at Battle of Ramseur's Mill
  • James T. Loeblein (?–?), U.S. Navy Rear Admiral (2015–2016)
  • Ben Martin (1930–2017), photographer and photojournalist for TIME magazine
  • Daniel Newnan (1780–1851), politician and physician
  • Britt Nicole (1985–), Contemporary Christian music artist
  • Lee Slater Overman (1854–1930), U.S. Senator from North Carolina(
  • Bobby Parnell (1984–), MLB pitcher for New York Mets
  • Lucius E. Polk (1833–1892), Brigadier general in Confederate States Army
  • Christian Reid (real name Frances Fisher Tiernan, 1846–1920), author of novels including The Land of the Sky
  • Jay Ritchie (1936–2016), MLB pitcher
  • Julian Robertson (1932–), financier and philanthropist
  • Florence Wells Slater (1864–1941) entomologist and educator
  • Matt Smith (1989–), world's fastest drummer was born in Salisbury.
  • Tom Smith (1957–), jazz musician, hall of fame educator
  • Edgar Maddison Welch (1988-), Pizzagate conspiracy theorist who fired an assault rifle inside Washington D.C.'s Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant in 2016
  • Zion Williamson (2000–) NBA, All-American at Duke University
  • Stunna 4 Vegas (1996-) rapper, signed to Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment

Images for kids

See also

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