History on Tap: Event brings Dr. Norman Sloop back to childhood home

Published 12:10 am Saturday, June 29, 2024

SALISBURY — Dr. Norman Sloop spent his formative years in the 1930s in a house on the corner of what is now Park Avenue and North Shaver Street. On Thursday, Sloop returned to the Bradshaw House after the exterior was restored by the Historic Salisbury Foundation.

Sloop and some of his family went to the house as part of the foundation’s “History on Tap” events, which allow the community to tour historic houses throughout the city that are currently in the revitalization stage of their restoration and learn some of their histories.

Sloop was born next door in the McCubbins-McCanless House and then spent his childhood in the Bradshaw House, which was built by his grandfather D.C. Bradshaw between 1905 and 1906. On Thursday, he sat in the entryway of his childhood home and reminisced about historic homes in the neighborhood and the families that occupied them.

Across the street lived Sam Kessler, who worked at a bottling facility for Coca-Cola. Sloop said that Kessler’s granddaughter, Barbara Wagoner, grew up in that house and would get angry at Sloop because he would sit on the front porch and laugh when she got in trouble.

Charlie Fisher also lived across the street, and Sloop said that Fisher worked with his uncle at a transfer shed. Fisher’s son, Fred Fisher, was the founder of Fisher Athletic Equipment, which still has a production facility just outside of the city on Cauble Road. Sloop said that he saw a refrigerator for the first time in that house.

“I had a happy childhood here,” said Sloop.

Inside the house, Sloop could pick apart the building and say what was different from and what was consistent with his memories. The kitchen, which is now one large room, had originally been divided into a pantry and kitchen. The front parlor of the house had an extra entryway built to the dining room. A hallway in between the front and back doors of the house had been sealed and half was turned into storage.

Also included in the tour on Thursday was the Fisher-Tutterow House, just across the street from the Bradshaw House. Both houses are part of the Historic Salisbury Foundation’s revolving fund project, where the foundation buys a house to restore it, sells it and then uses the proceeds to buy another historic residence. The homes also have protective covenants placed on them that requires the person who purchases them to maintain the historic elements that are present in the house.

“This History on Tap allowed our community to see HSF’s Revolving Fund in action. Both properties are a part of the fund and will have protective covenants put in place to ensure the historic character of the homes remain for decades to come. The D.C. Bradshaw House showed what a house looks like when stabilization is complete, while the Fisher-Tutterow House showed the reality of a property where our work has just begun,” said Revolving Fund Manager Rachel Fink.

Fink said that the Tutterow house, which is the foundation’s next project, was originally purchased solely as part of their effort to revitalize the neighborhood. However, when they got inside, they found historic features such as the original bead board, Dutch lap siding and oak and pine hardwood floors.

“​​What an amazing turnout for the first session of our three-part summer series. We had many HOT veterans but also drew in attendees that were there for the first time, both are so exciting to see. These events are such an important part of what we do and help create awareness of our mission to preserve and protect historic buildings,” said Executive Director Kimberly Stieg.

On July 25, the History on Tap event will be held at the former Lincoln Elementary School, located on South Shaver Street. The foundation also has another tour set for Aug. 22, but has yet to decide upon a location, said Stieg. Registration for those two events has opened. For more information, contact the foundation at 704-636-0103 or go to historicsalisbury.org.