Salisbury house on National Register of Historic Places demolished

Published 12:05 am Thursday, February 24, 2022

SALISBURY — An empty graveled lot surrounded by orange construction cones and caution tape is all that remains of the McCanless-Spangler-Lanier Rental House.

The two-story pink stucco building at 630 S. Main St. was leveled earlier this month. The expansive home was built in 1919 by Walter F. McCanless, the son of prosperous local businessman Napoleon Bonaparte McCanless, whose house still stands on the opposite side of South Main Street. The Bonaparte McCanless house is currently being converted into a wedding and events venue.

The McCanless-Spangler-Lanier house was sold to J.M. Glover in the 1930s, who then sold it to L.S. Spangler in 1946. Spangler’s widow Bessie sold the home to Bruce Lanier in 1960. Lanier eventually converted the building to apartments, altering much of the interior in the process. Noted in the building’s nomination form for listing on the National Register of Historic Places was the structure’s “interesting visual appearance” created by “lattice mullioned upper sash windows” and red ceramic tiled roof.

The less than half-acre property at 630 S. Main St. was purchased by Gastonia-based Royal Homes Construction and Development Company in 2008. The home itself had been vacant for almost a decade, during which it fell into disrepair.

Hesam NekooAsl, president of Royal Homes Construction and Development, said the company decided to demolish the building because it would have been too costly to repair. He also said he was worried about the home being a potential safety hazard and drawing code enforcement violations.

“I hated to do it, but it was too far gone,” NekooAsl said.

Although the house is listed in the National Register, it is not within a local historic district. Therefore, the owners did not need an approved certificate of appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission, according to Salisbury Planner Emily Vanek.

In an attempt to preserve the home, the Historic Salisbury Foundation asked Royal Homes Construction and Development about purchasing the property. NekooAsl said the potential offer was not enough to sway his decision. The Historic Salisbury Foundation, however, salvaged a few items from the home.

A 90-day notice of demolition was provided to the Historical Preservation Commission to allow time for public notice. Nothing happened in that time frame to alter the home’s fate.

Before the demolition process started, the Salisbury Fire Department held a training exercise at the home. The exercise allowed firefighters to practice forcible entry, ventilation drills and other life saving techniques on an actual structure. It isn’t uncommon for departments to train in buildings destined for demolition.

NekooAsl said future plans for the property haven’t been determined. He’s not actively marketing the property for sale.

About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at ben.stansell@salisburypost.com.

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