Trolley provides local history tours

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 28, 2011

By Nathan Hardin
You may have seen the green, wood-paneled trolley that travels Salisbury’s streets every Saturday.
But you may not have seen Melissa Murguz, the history buff behind the guided weekend tours.
Though she’s originally from Surrey County, Murguz became one of the city’s ambassadors three years ago, when she began giving one-hour history tours of Salisbury.
The tours began in 2001 and spend majority of their time in the downtown area. Topics on the history tour range from presidential and civil war history to folklore and contemporary architecture.
“It sort of fell into my lap,” Murguz said about the tour guide position.
But she doesn’t regret it. She said the trolley’s one of her favorite aspects of working at the Rowan County Visitor’s Bureau.
Since taking over the position, Murguz has worked to assimilate several other tours, including Halloween, garden and historical church tours.
“I love it. I love the historical part about it,” Murguz said. “I guess (I enjoy) showing people what Salisbury’s all about.”
The tour season runs from April to October and Murguz gives two tours every Saturday, one at 11 a.m. and the other at 1 p.m. She said she usually has about 10 passengers on each trolley ride and that many are not from Rowan County.
“We have quite a few people that come from out of town,” Murguz said.
Tours begin at the Visitor’s Bureau, 204 Innes St., and kick off with discussions of Daniel Boone, Andrew Jackson and George Washington’s periods in Salisbury. From there, tours delve into Civil War history, explanations of how Salisbury churches contributed to the town’s history and then explore some of the town’s folk legends.
Phillip Culp, a Salisbury resident and one of the passengers on Saturday’s afternoon trolley, said he’s seen the trolley before and wanted to take a ride with his granddaughters, Savannah and Summer.
“It was really good. We enjoyed it. We’ve always wanted to go for a ride,” Culp said. “It was very informative.”
Joy and her husband Jerry, a couple from Tryon, who declined to give their last names, said they were in town for the day and had seen the tours online.
“We’re heading back to Charlotte, but we like historic towns,” Joy said.
The couple said they initially looked to tour Charlotte, but that it didn’t have the history or culturally aspects that Salisbury did.
“It was excellent. You should be very proud of your town,” she said. “All the work that’s been done and it’s so clean.”
Fares are $8 and children under three years old ride free. Tickets can be purchased at the Visitor Information Center. For more information, see