• 73°

Wayne Hinshaw column: Gargoyles on the Salisbury Station

Scary

The gargoles are on each corner of the tower at the Salisbuty Station which was formerly the Salisbury Depot. The orginial purpose for the gargoles was to function as a water spout and throw rain water away from the brick walls. photo by Wayne Hinshaw, the Salisbury Post

The scary looking gargoyles on the tower of the Salisbury Station (formerly Salisbury Depot) have always been of interest to me. They are ugly, scary, and so eye-catching to the curious. The gargoyles were an important feature in architecture in Gothic architecture. The Salisbury Station has a Spanish flavor but still has gargoyles to scare away the evil spirits and demons that might come that way.

The depot was built in 1908 of brick and ceramic tile from the design by Frank P. Milburn. He was a well-known architect who designed many Southern Railway depots during that period. Train travel was intense around 1910 with more than 40 trains coming through Salisbury each day on the main line between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.

The local station was built to be spacious and attractive. The design called for red brick and a mixture of tan brick with a Spanish tile roof and a tower centrally located reaching 3 1/2 stories above the ground. It is on this tower that the four gargoyles have had a home since the construction. They appear to reach way out from the tower in a threading manner to those beneath.

The National Resister of Historic Places inventory described them as “A single grotesque gargoyle juts out from each corner of the parapet, adding a charmingly eccentric note to the tower’s severe silhouette.”

Gargoyles features have been used since times in early Egypt. They have a history of being used in Medieval cathedrals for part religious reason and part superstition. The carved stone figures have many forms like dragons, devils, half-human and animals. Some are stone-carved human heads.

The station’s gargoyles look like a dog or maybe a tiger wearing a collar ready to attack. Two feet with claws push against the building. It appears that each creature also has wings folded under its body. Others may have a different interpretation of what you see. They are fierce-looking creatures.

These mythical creatures were to scare away Satan and evil making the cathedrals safe places. It is believed that early Christians came to the church for protection and for a safe house, using a modern term. There is a legend that a dragon-like creature with wings was killed and burned. The creature’s head would not burn so the head was placed on the church roof to scare away evil.

Actually, the gargoyles had a more important function than frightening evil away. The features were an early pre-rain gutter device to gather the water from the roof of the building and throw the water away from the brick and mortar of the building. Rain water tends to damage the brick and mortar over the years, so, if the water was funneled through the creature and out the mouth of the gargoyle that was extended 4 or 5 feet away from the building, it protected the structure.

So are the gargoyles art features are just rain spouts? I don’t know about the legend of scaring away Satan and evil and attracting Christians, but I do believe that if you wander under one of these ugly creatures during a rain storm, 3 1/2 stories high on the top of a building, and he is spitting water down,  you will think that the evil one has drenched you with gallons of water.

Comments

Local

Pedestrian hospitalized after being struck by police car

Local

Torch Run returns to Rowan streets, raises money for Special Olympics

Crime

Fish arcade company drops suit against Rowan County Sheriff’s Office

Crime

Man faces kidnapping, assault charges after woman escapes at Webb Road Flea Market

Local

Natoli promoted to assistant county manager, will retain human resources director title

Education

Attendance restriction lifted for RSS graduation ceremonies

Business

Rowan Chamber of Commerce will host in-person Power in Partnership on Thursday

Business

Rowan EDC will undergo name change, alter board requirements with updates to bylaws

Nation/World

Israel strikes Gaza tunnels as truce efforts remain elusive

Nation/World

Supreme Court to take up major abortion rights challenge

Nation/World

Biden boosting world vaccine sharing commitment to 80M doses

Crime

Man charged for stowing away on Norfolk Southern train, impeding railroad operations

Local

Group will protest treatment of Georgia woman during 2019 traffic stop

Crime

Man overdoses at Piedmont Correctional Institute

Crime

Sheriff’s Office: Two men escape from jail, found in bushes on Fulton Street

Ask Us

Ask Us: When will North Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue be resurfaced?

Local

Political Notebook: Rowan’s lawmakers pass 140 bills into the opposite chamber before deadline

Local

Police chief to present use of force policy; city manager to present 2021-22 budget

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on charges of felony larceny, possession of stolen vehicle

Coronavirus

CDC director says mask turnaround based solely on science

News

Catawba College hosts three in-person commencement ceremonies

Local

With high case loads causing numerous staff departures, Child Protective Services seeks more positions

Education

Livingstone College graduates celebrate ‘crossing the finish line’ during commencement celebration

Coronavirus

Rowan sees 4 new COVID-19 deaths as mask mandate lifted, vaccines administered continue decline