Salisbury, NC (SAL)
Restored in the 1990s by the Historic Salisbury Foundation, with financial assistance from the North Carolina DOT, the 1908 depot includes a waiting room, events space and offices.
215 Depot Street
Salisbury, NC 28144
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 21,705
- Facility Ownership: Historic Salisbury Foundation, Inc.
- Parking Lot Ownership: Historic Salisbury Foundation, Inc.
- Platform Ownership: North Carolina Railroad Company
- Track Ownership: North Carolina Railroad Company
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
The brick and ceramic tile Salisbury station was designed by Frank P. Milburn for Southern Railway in the Spanish Mission style. It opened in 1908, becoming one of North Carolina’s gateways to its Piedmont region. The stop was originally on the main-line between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, GA; at it height of its use in 1911, as many as 44 trains per day passed through.
The Salisbury passenger station was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The building spans two city blocks and includes a two-course water table dividing the dark red brick base and tan brick body on the building, Spanish tile roof, and a dominating central three and one-half-story tower ornamented by projecting gargoyles.
In 1984, Historic Salisbury Foundation, Inc., a citizen-led revolving fund for restoring Salisbury neighborhoods, took on the challenge of resurrecting this unique landmark. This group purchased it from the North Carolina Railroad Company in 1985. Restoration was done in three phases at a cost of about $3.1 million.
The first phase opened four office spaces in 1990. In 1993, the second phase opened the grand waiting room with its special events spaces. In 1996, the foundation completed the third phase of the work for additional office space. North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) contributed more than $1 million in federal enhancement funds to finish the restoration of the main building. NCDOT also contributed funds for creating a park east of the station and construction of an enlarged waiting room.
Revitalization of the train station has had a marked effect upon recent downtown Salisbury development, as well. Both large office (more than 11,000 square feet) and retail spaces have been constructed within blocks of the station.
Additionally, the Arts Walk, which connects the railroad station to a section of downtown, was put into place with $11 million worth of renovation, including renovation of a five-story office building and development of the Waterworks Visual Arts Center. There is also a Rail Walk, which connects another group of downtown buildings to the station. The station itself has office space, with tenants including Amtrak, Smith Barney, the Land Trust for Central North Carolina and the Historic Salisbury Foundation.
Current plans for station upgrades, funded by the NCDOT, include updating the platform for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and installing a covered walkway for the passengers.
Founded in 1753 in Rowan County, Salisbury is one of North Carolina’s oldest cities. Daniel Boone’s father, Squire Boone, was one of the first justices appointed in the county, and young Daniel hunted and fished on the Yadkin River years before making his reputation as a wilderness pathfinder. A marker on the Salisbury Square identifies the beginning of the famous Boone Trail. Andrew Jackson, who eventually became the seventh president of the United States, also lived for a while in Salisbury, where he started his law career before moving to Tennessee.
By 1855, Salisbury had become an important rail junction, connecting the Piedmont to eastern North Carolina. It is during this period that many of the beautiful structures in the town were built. Sadly, Salisbury is most often remembered as the site of a very large Confederate military prison during the Civil War where, due to blockades of food and medicine during the latter part of the war, thousands of prisoners died of disease and starvation. However, the citizens of the town were not insensible to their conditions, and provided what charity they could, though they were far outnumbered by the prisoners. After surrender in 1865, the many thousands incarcerated were released, and the prison burned. Though many graves were moved, it is estimated that about 5,000 Union soldiers still lie in unmarked graves in the beautifully maintained historic Salisbury National Cemetery.
Salisbury, however, did recover; and unlike other cities that suffered destruction of threatened historic buildings in the 1960s and 1970s, citizens led by Ed Clement took action to save and restore historic properties. Consequently, Salisbury’s downtown, like it’s train station, has been maintained; and has prospered with return of both tourist trade and businesses. Downtown Salisbury, a redevelopment corporation, likewise continues efforts to restore and protect historic properties, as well as create festival and public art to interpret the history of the location.
Studies have been made that encourage further extending Salisbury’s role as a rail center, should it become feasible. This initiative would bring into service a passenger railroad line from Salisbury westward to Asheville. However, costs of track improvements and other station renovations have thus far delayed this effort.
The state-owned Piedmont and the state-subsidized Carolinian are primarily financed through funds from the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
Amtrak does not provide ticketing and baggage services at this station, which is served by eight daily trains.
- 6 Short Term Parking Spaces
- 20 Long Term Parking Spaces
- Accessible Payphones
- Accessible Platform
- Accessible Restrooms
- Accessible Waiting Room
- Accessible Water Fountain
- Dedicated Parking
- Enclosed Waiting Area
- Quik Trak Kiosk
- Wheelchair Lift