Step into Salisbury’s past with photo collection

  • Posted: Sunday, June 30, 2013 12:01 a.m.
Old photos of Salisbury fill this new book by Larry Neal and Rowan Museum.
Old photos of Salisbury fill this new book by Larry Neal and Rowan Museum.

“Images of America: Salisbury,” by Larry Neal and the Rowan Museum. Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, S.C. 2013. 127 pp. $21.99

SALISBURY — Few things attract people like books of photos.


And Salisburians have been lucky with books of collected photos. Susan Sides published two collections of Salisbury postcards, many of which were photos done by Theodore Buerbaum, Salisbury’s most thorough chronicler of the town’s bustling 19th and early 20th centuries.

Larry Neal, who once worked at the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer, is now manager of Reed Gold Mine in Midland. Neal and Rowan Museum compiled a new book of Salisbury photos, “Images of America: Salisbury,” published by Arcadia, a group known for its pictorial books covering towns and subjects all over the country. Neal had previously done “Southern Railway’s Historic Spencer Shops” for Arcadia.

A press release from the museum states, “The book is rich in early images of Salisbury, many of which have never been seen publicly, and that were never used on postcards. Many of the images are from the Museum’s Buerbaum Collection and the Guille Collection.”

Neal also had the help of Gretchen Witt of Rowan Public Library and Sides, along with Kaye Brown Hirst, Tricia Creel and Mary Jane Fowler, all with the museum.

Inside you will find photos showing many Salisbury streets, as Buerbaum was fond of street scenes. You’ll also see houses still standing today, looking bare without the decades of vegetation. You’ll see the evolution of Salisbury’s first hospital, the Whitehead-Stokes Sanitorium, as it expanded to meet the needs of a growing population. Three photos show what’s now known as The Plaza, first a shell of steel, later completed, with the original wooden pergola on top. It was known then as the Grubb Building.

Turn the page and there’s Carrie Nation, in a parade for temperance in Salisbury’s streets.

Several photos show damage from a 1905 cyclone — what we now call a tornado. It hit the Livingstone College campus first, and then headed to downtown Salisbury. Some of the original dorms were so heavily damaged that they had to be torn down, just a few years after being built. Neal writes in one of the photo captions that debris was sent nearly 500 feet into structures nearby.

In the business section, you’ll see a photo of men slicing, weighing and packing bacon at White Packing Co., at the end of West Liberty Street. The men are all wearing white shirts and ties, covered by white coveralls. Blue-collar workers came later.

The photo featuring the original Cheerwine building on Council Street shows a line of trucks and their drivers ready to deliver the sweet soft drink.

The churches include St. Luke’s Episcopal, the original First Presbyterian and the church that replaced it, the first, wooden Sacred Heart Catholic Church, First Methodist, an ornate First Baptist from 1903, and others.

The “Modern” section contains a number of photos from the World War II era, including National Guard troops gathering the day after the Pearl Harbor attack. You’ll see trains and depots and even a modern-day photo of The Plaza.

The book will be released today at 1 p.m. at Rowan Museum, 202 N. Main St., with an official book signing. The museum is open from 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday afternoons and from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The museum accepts cash, checks and credit/debit cards.

Neal will also sign books at Literary Bookpost, 119 S. Main St., on Friday, July 5, at 5:30 p.m. He’ll be at Walgreens, 705 Jake Alexander Blvd. W., at noon on July 19.

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