Community gets look at future of old textile products building

Published 12:05 am Friday, July 29, 2022

SALISBURY — The building that stands on 121 and 119 addresses on North Main Street has a few iterations under its belt and a new one on the horizon.

The building was open on Thursday for History on Tap, a program of the Historic Salisbury Foundation that highlights historic commercial buildings with a future ahead of them, and adds beer. The events also feature tours and live music.

This was the second of three programs this year. The first was held at the Salisbury Building last month, and the final property is the Bell Block Building, which will be shown Aug. 25.

Foundation Board of Trustees President Steve Cobb said the events are good publicity for the foundation and give people a preview of what will be available.

“It’s really kind of two-pronged publicity for us and marketing for the people who are developing these buildings,” Cobb said.

People interested in attending can rsvp at

The property has a long line of notable tenants Built in 1860, it later served as a headquarters for the Union Army during the Civil War while Salisbury was occupied. It was sold to. T.J. and P.P. Meroney in 1872. In 1873, the second floor opened as an opera house. This was the first iteration of what would eventually become the Meroney Theater a few blocks up the street. The theater productions at the old property stopped in 1905.

The Salisbury Post then operated out of the second floor, but the building promptly burned down in 1912. The building was rebuilt with a mix of uses including storage, a bar and bicycle shop in 1922. By the 1953, the building was occupied by retail stores.

The building would later host a department store and became the home of Textile Products in 1994, which closed the location earlier this year. The building was purchased by Leah and Shawn Campion with the goal of redeveloping the historic building into second-floor apartments, two Americans with Disabilities Act accessible apartments on the back section of the first floor and commercial space on the front section.

The Campions own a historic home and were profiled in the Post in 2015. Leah is also the former marketing head for Historic Salisbury Foundation. She said the history of the building was pulled together from old newspaper stories and sources in the Rowan County Public Library.

Leah said the couple was fortunate to get the building with some of its old features like ornamental tin ceilings, light fixtures, plaster walls and hardwood floors with historic value.

“We are going to call in a representative from the N.C. State Historic Preservation Office,” Leah said. “Not only will that help us to get an idea when we apply for state tax credits for the project, but he can also help us knowledge-wise as far as pinpointing dates on aspects of the building.”

Leah said the era of importance for the building was in the 1890s and the goal is to maintain a feel that will fit the history of the building with all the modern conveniences added. She said maintaining historic features can be expensive, but the tax credits can make it worthwhile financially. Personally, she said it is worth the cost for them to keep the building as historic as possible.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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