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Historic Salisbury Foundation celebrating Preservation Month

By Liz Moomey

liz.moomey@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — For the Historic Salisbury Foundation, May is a month to celebrate preservation more than usual.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the foundation’s director, Sada Stewart, has looked at creative ways to celebrate Preservation Month during the governor’s stay-at-home order and recommended social distancing. The foundation has posted on Facebook and Instagram for “Transformation Tuesday” and “Throwback Thursday,” showcasing homes that need some tender, loving care.

Kids can also participate in the celebration with “Masterpiece Monday” by completing coloring pages of historic homes.

On Fridays, the foundation features adaptive reuse projects showing downtown commercial buildings.

“It had to move more away from the glitz and glamour of we’re going to show you all the highlights of preservation to more into advocacy of why preservation still matters even when nobody is really sure what the future looks like,” Stewart said. “It’s been a fun challenge to get people still excited about preservation in Preservation Month through primarily advocacy avenues.”

May is a month for other preservation organizations to showcase the properties restored. May was also going to be the foundation’s Hall House Bicentennial Celebration, which was moved to next year — when the house celebrates 201 years.

OctoberTour planning is continuing, Stewart said. The foundation is communicating with home owners to ensure safety. If needed, Historic Salisbury Foundation will adapt their plans if the pandemic is still ongoing.

Fundraising efforts continue as well. The foundation has set up a new Kindful donation platform that allows for donors to give in chunks every month instead of all at once. Stewart said the foundation understands donors may be in flux during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Stewart said, despite the pandemic, preservation is still important for the Rowan County community.

“Even though it looks different, we still need to celebrate the places that are here because houses, buildings, commercial districts and historic districts were here in 1700s, 1800s, 1900s and now they’re still here,” she said. “That’s a constant that we can celebrate. This architecture and history in Rowan County is something we can still celebrate even as we move into uncertainty.”

The social media posts featured the adaptive reuse of the F&M Trolley Barn and Waterworks Visual Arts Center, which the former McCanless Motor Company Building was restored in 2001 and the dealership showroom was renovated in 2004. Bernhardt Hardware Building on North Main Street was built in 1896 and was used until 2012 by the Bernhardt Hardware Corporation. The next year, it was restored to six apartments, Abigail’s, The Spice & Tea Exchange and La Pasta Italian Bistro. Another is the O.O. Rufty building on East Innes Street, which now houses six apartments and Hive.

Stewart said she wanted to include commercial buildings in their preservation celebration.

“The best way to keep houses and buildings preserved well is to keep people in them and using them,” she said. “That’s been a highlight for us too and why we want to highlight some businesses, highlight houses because we want to show people that supporting your local businesses and supporting your local community is what keeps these houses preserved.”

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