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Are you in a Local Historic District?

Use the Local Historic District map below to see if your home or business is located within a Local Historic District. Properties within Local Historic District need a Certificate of Appropriateness before any changes may be made to the exterior of the structure or the property.

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HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION


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Certificate of Appropriateness Process

A Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) is a document that states your project has been reviewed and approved by the Historic Preservation Commission or Development Services staff. COAs are granted based on the Salisbury Local Historic Design Standards. If the proposed work meets the Standards, the project is approved. COAs ensure that improvements and changes to properties are consistent with the historic character of the district or building.

Historic Preservation Commission staff are available for pre-application meetings. Contact staff to schedule an appointment.

Local Historic Districts

Map of Local Historic Districts.

Five historic districts are locally-designated with design review for alterations or major changes. This stewardship of the downtown and historic neighborhoods, in conjunction with federal and state tax incentives with substantial private investment, has resulted in an award-winning downtown and urban core that is vibrant and authentic.



Brooklyn-South Square

Date of Local Designation: 1999

Map of Brooklyn-South Square (PDF)

The Brooklyn-South Square historic district features a mix of larger, more embellished structures and smaller, more modest dwellings constructed in the latter half of the nineteenth century and first quarter of the twentieth century.

Though the district is now largely residential, the district was originally used for industrial purposes. The first building erected within the current boundaries of the district was a cotton mill. The mill was built in 1830 on East Bank Street. The cotton mill was operation until the late 1850’s and completely vacant before the start of the Civil War. During the Civil War, the building was repurposed as a prison for captured Union soldiers. The prison was closed before the end of the war and completely destroyed by Union soldiers in 1865.

The Brooklyn-South Square historic district was built over a long period of time covering many changes in architectural tastes. Because of this, the district is a host to a wealth of architectural styles, such as Federal, Greek revival, Victorian, Bungalow, and Italianate styles.

The Brooklyn-South Square was designated in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

Ellis Street Graded School

Date of Local Designation: 1997

Map of Ellis Street Graded School (PDF)

Before the late twentieth century commercial development around West Innes Street, the Ellis Street Graded School district was part of the ring of residential development around Downtown Salisbury that was booming at the time due to Southern Railroad Company’s Spencer Shops and the expanding downtown area.

At the center of the district sits the Ellis Street Graded School building, which served the neighborhood as a core institution. The Ellis Street Graded School is Salisbury’s oldest educational facility and has served as a grade school, elementary school, and high school. Houses in the Ellis Street Graded School district are built in Bungalow, Tutor revival, and other revival styles. One of the most noticeable features of the district is the Shober Bridge. The wooden bridge stretches over the railroad tracks and was used by General

Stoneman’s Raid as the crossing into Salisbury in April 1865.

The Ellis Street Graded School District was designated in the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

North Main Street

Date of Local Designation: 1993

Map of North Main Street (PDF)

The North Main Street historic district stretches along both sides of North Main Street and some side streets from the Southern Railroad Co. tracks to the Salisbury-Spencer boundary. The district developed along with the Southern Railroad Company’s Spencer Shops in nearby Spencer and was once home to many railroad workers, from skilled workers to manager, local businessmen, and community leaders.

The three major architectural styles, late Victorian, Colonial Revival, and Bungalow, in the district are found in an array of interpretations. Many homes are situated on terraced yards raised from the street, allowing houses to be easily viewed from the street. The stone found in many foundations, retaining walls, porches, and landscapes came from the quarries around Salisbury, back when the industry was just beginning. The North Main Street district is primarily residential with some commercial areas that have developed between 12th and Midway Streets.

The North Main Street District was designated in the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

West Square

Date of Local Designation: 1975

Map of West Square (PDF)

The West Square district is the oldest designated historic district in Salisbury. The district represents the beginning of Salisbury’s ongoing preservation efforts. Many of Salisbury’s most prominent residents constructed their houses in the West Square district, so the district is home to many of the most grand, intricately designed houses in Salisbury.

The West Square district contains a wealth of architectural styles popular in the late-ninetieth and early-twentieth century, including Federal, Neo-Classical Revival, Greek revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, Spanish Mission, and Craftsman. The West Square district is primarily residential, but does include a few commercial buildings on West Innes Street.

The Salisbury Historic District, which encompasses the West Square Local Historic District, was National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and extended in 1988, 1989, and 2000.

Downtown

Date of Local Designation: 1975

Map of Downtown (PDF)

The Downtown local historic district contains the entire downtown core, including significant portions of the original Salisbury National Register Historic District and Salisbury Railroad Corridor district. Originally founded on the square, the intersection of Main and Innes Streets, Salisbury and its downtown began to emerge as a center of commerce with the coming of the railroad. The majority of downtown’s commercial architecture was built during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century boom.

Salisbury’s downtown is known nationally as a successful model for revitalization and economic development that focuses on the preservation of its history and historic architecture. Today downtown is still Salisbury’s governmental, commercial, cultural, and entertainment center.

The Salisbury Historic District, which encompasses the Downtown Local Historic District, was National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and extended in 1988, 1989, and 2000.

National Register Historic Districts and Individual Listings

National Register Districts are primarily honorary designations and is intended to preserve the character of the district. Properties within National Register Historic Districts and outside of Local Historic Districts are not required to receive a Certificate of Appropriateness before starting any exterior work.

Properties can also be individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Salisbury has several individual listings that are within and outside of historic districts.

Contributing properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places are eligible for Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits, awarded by the State Historic Preservation Office. Visit Restoration Services at the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office for more information.

Salisbury Historic Landmarks

The local historic landmark program was enacted in 2017 and updated in 2021 to provide an additional method of protecting and recognizing special properties in the city. There are two categories of landmarks: Property (LHL-P) and Cultural (LHL-C). Owners and renters of Local Historic Landmarks are required to receive a COA before starting any exterior changes to the building or the site.

A Local Historic Landmark – Property (LHL-P) is an outstanding example of a historic resource and is intended to be recognized for its architectural integrity. In addition to documented Special Significance, these properties maintain the highest degree of integrity and are further recognized for their rarity among properties in Salisbury.

A Local Historic Landmark – Cultural (LHL-C) is important to the culture and diversity of Salisbury which has affected the broad pattern of Salisbury’s history and have come to represent a part of Salisbury’s cultural heritage for at least twenty-five years. This category is intended to recognize those places that are not traditionally included in National Register or Local Historic Districts, but nonetheless have attributed to cultural change in Salisbury.

A pre-application meeting with HPC staff is strongly encouraged before preparing a Local Historic Landmark application.

Historic Resources map screenshot
 TitleDescription 
Historic Landmark Pre-ApplicationThis application initiates preliminary consideration of a property for historic landmark status. This does not mean that a property is being designated as a historic landmark at this time, nor does this application constitute a landmark nomination.Download

What grants are available?

The City of Salisbury has several grants available to help make Salisbury a better place to live and work.

Grants are a type of financial aid that does not need to be repaid.


More About Grant Applications

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Local Historic Districts?

Salisbury has five Local Historic Districts. Local Historic Districts are specially-zoned groups of contiguous properties that are historically, visually, and culturally similar. Salisbury’s Historic Design Standards help protect the historic character of the buildings, streetscapes, and landscapes from alterations, new construction, and demolitions that could jeopardize the integrity of the districts. The Historic Design Standards encourage thoughtful alterations and reinvestment by specifying what changes or additions are appropriate for the style and time period of the property and discouraging those modifications that are incompatible and thus inappropriate.

What are National Register Historic Districts?

National Register Historic Districts are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This registry is aimed to support efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect historic and archaeological resources. Salisbury has ten National Register Historic Districts. National Register Historic Districts are primarily honorary. Properties within National Register Historic Districts that are not also within Local Historic Districts do not need to receive a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) before any exterior work.

What is the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC)?

The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) consists of nine (9) members who are appointed by City Council. A majority of the members have demonstrated special interest, experience, or education in history, architecture, archaeology, of related fields. Several members live within the Local Historic Districts themselves. HPC is responsible for the approval of COAs, recommendation of Local Historic Landmarks, and the identification of recommended Local Historic Districts.

What is a Certificate of Appropriateness?

A Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) is a required permit for exterior alterations to properties located within Local Historic Districts or to Local Historic Landmarks. The Historic Preservation Commission approves COA based on the Local Historic Design Standards.

Is financial assistance available to property owners in Local Historic Districts?

Yes! Salisbury’s Historic Preservation Incentive Grant Program provides financial assistance to homeowners within Local Historic Districts each year. There are also a number of grants available for downtown buildings each year.

Additionally, properties within a Local Historic District that are also on the National Register of Historic Places are also eligible for rehabilitation tax credits from the State of North Carolina. Visit Restoration Services at the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office for more information.

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