Ask Us: Who was Mahaley Avenue named after?

Published 12:00 pm Monday, June 13, 2022

Editor’s note: Ask Us is a weekly feature published online Mondays and in print on Tuesdays. We’ll seek to answer your questions about items or trends in Rowan County. Have a question? Email it to

SALISBURY — A certain street in Salisbury has been shrouded in mystery for the last century.

Mahaley Avenue runs just outside the historic district of Salisbury but a reader asked where the name originated. After a thorough search of the Rowan Public Library History Room and other N.C. online databases, a conclusion cannot be drawn; however, a successful business man of the 1920s is theorized to have made such a name of himself that it wouldn’t be surprising if the road was in his name.

Salisbury Board of Aldermen minutes from 1919 to 1930 documented the naming of many streets in the area but never addressed Mahaley Avenue. These documents instead revealed that one of the board members was named R.L. Mahaley, who also served on the finance and police committee. His positions ran from June 2, 1919-June 4, 1923. Mahaley also appeared on the Kiwanis Club charter on April 1, 1921.

Additionally, in the world of business, he purchased a number of mills in the county including the Diamond Mills which was named the R.L. Mahaley Plantation in 1922, as shown on a Sanborn map of Salisbury from the year. The mill was located on Old Mocksville Road.

The earliest documentation of the street comes from a news article from the Salisbury Evening Post’s May 17, 1922, issue.

The “Real Estate Transfers” headline provides more insight on Mahaley’s business endeavors, reading “Sixteen real estate transfers were recorded with the register of deeds Monday and Tuesday, showing real estate quite active for the first part of the week. The property transfers were as follows: Archibald Henderson, wife and others to R.L. Mahaley, narrow strip of land on Mocksville Avenue, between Mahaley Avenue and Mahaley Place, $1 and other considerations.”

His notable contributions to the City of Salisbury is the reason to believe the street was named after him, but it can’t be confirmed as there’s no documentation on file as to how it got its name Mahaley Avenue.

If there is anymore information that can solve this mystery, contact the Post newsroom.