The Salisbury Street Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [‡]
The Salisbury Street Historic District consists of several blocks of mostly residences on both sides of tree-lined Salisbury Street south of Lexington Road. Dating largely from the late 1820s to World War II, these one- and two-story brick, log and frame houses include representative examples of the Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, Classical Revival and Craftsman styles as they appear in Davie County residential architecture. Within the Salisbury Street Historic District are 40 contributing and 13 non-contributing buildings, of which 25 (19 contributing, 6 non-contributing) are primary resources.
Salisbury Street extends southwest from downtown Mocksville along a slightly curving rise. Buildings are spaced irregularly along the street, and have a variety of setbacks, reflecting the development of the area over a long period of time. All of the houses, however, are oriented toward the street. Lots are of a variety of sizes and include several multi-acre tracts. The Salisbury Street Historic District is well-provided with mature trees, particularly large white oaks, magnolias and cedars which lend a unifying cover.
The earliest building in the Salisbury Street Historic District which retains its original appearance is the ca.1828 (former) Mocksville Academy (537 Salisbury Street). This small, gable-roofed brick building has simple Federal style trim and an unfinished interior.
Within the Salisbury Street Historic District are three good examples of the Greek Revival and Greek Revival/Italianate style Piedmont house with double-tiered front porch: the ca.1850-ca.1870 Howell-Brown-Sanford House (537 Salisbury Street), the ca.1870 Clement-Adams-Short House (361 Salisbury Street), and the Harbin-Long House (471 Salisbury Street). Another house with Italianate style ornament is the Hall-Call House (484 Salisbury Street), a log dwelling renovated about 1871.
While there are several log buildings in the district, all of these have been weatherboarded and overbuilt.
One of the largest of the Salisbury Street Historic District's houses is the Queen Anne style Charles F. Meroney House (462 Salisbury Street), but the one-story Mattie Clement House (400 Salisbury Street) also has Queen Anne detailing. At the far end of the district is the two-story, frame Benjamin O. Morris House (544 Salisbury Street), a representative example of the Classical Revival style.
There are a number of frame Craftsman-influenced Bungalows in the Salisbury Street Historic District dating from the 1920s and 1930s, including the McCubbins-Latham House (429 Salisbury Street) and the Samuel M. Call House (490 Salisbury Street). These are outshone by the substantial Hugh A. Sanford House (519 Salisbury Street), whose recessed porch has massive concrete Tuscan columns.
Outbuildings in the Salisbury Street Historic District vary considerably in age, type and condition, and some of the houses have multiple outbuildings. The most common of these are small, gable- or shed-roofed frame garages of the early twentieth century. A mid-nineteenth century wellhouse and a smokehouse survive at the Martin-Clement-Sprinkle House (428 Salisbury Street), as do a handsome Greek Revival brick kitchen and brick smokehouse at the Harbin-Long House (471 Salisbury Street). Behind the Charles F. Meroney House (462 Salisbury Street) is a hipped-roofed frame well or storage house with board-and-batten lower walls and patterned-shingled upper ones. The largest of the outbuildings in the Salisbury Street Historic District is the servants house at the Hugh A. Sanford House (519 Salisbury Street), which copies the shape and detailing of the main bungalow.
Buildings in the Salisbury Street Historic District vary from fair to excellent condition. Several are covered with asbestos, aluminum or vinyl siding, but decorative trim elements have been preserved, for the most part.
The greatest intrusions into the district are provided by two one-story office buildings on the east side of Salisbury Street (modern stuccoed Spanish-influenced and modern Colonial Revival brick). There are also a few Post-World War II houses scattered around the district.
To the south of the Salisbury Street Historic District is later residential development, while to the north are the fringes of the central business district and later residential fabric. To the east of the district are woodlands with a few, widely-spaced modern houses, while to the west are woods and farmland.
The Salisbury Street Historic District is eligible for the National Register for its significance in Mocksville's history, reflecting trends in neighborhood development in Mocksville from the 1820s through the nineteenth century and in the first five decades of the twentieth. Incorporating the physical remains of the village of Mocksville, which pre-dated the establishment of a newly-platted county seat in 1839 just to the northeast of the existing village, it was one of the town's two primary residential areas in the nineteenth century and until the 1930s. The Salisbury Street Historic District is also significant, containing the brick Federal style (former) Mocksville Academy, several distinctive Greek Revival and Greek Revival/Italianate houses, as well as representative examples of Italianate, Queen Anne, Classical Revival and Craftsman style residences mirroring the architectural development of Mocksville and Davie County.
Historical Context and Background
As early, perhaps, as the time of the Revolution, there was a village on the site of what is now Mocksville, called Mocks Old Field after an early owner of the land. In 1810 the Mocks Old Field Post Office was established, with the name being changed to Mocksville between 1823 and 1826. (Wall, Brief History, p.98) With the formation of Davie County out of part of Rowan County in 1836, Mocksville was designated as the county seat. However, legislation provided for the purchase or donation of a minimum of 15 acres of land for a county seat, and a new town center was laid off just to the northeast of the existing village. (Wall, Brief History, pp.98-99)
The earlier village was mostly located along the Salisbury Road, now Salisbury Street, and included a tavern (advertised for sale in 1829), part of which may be incorporated in 330 Salisbury Street. (Wall, Brief History, p.52) A small brick academy, constructed ca.1828, was located on the west side of Salisbury Street at 537 Salisbury. (Wall, Brief History, p.85) For the most part, however, the village appears to have consisted of log and frame, as well as a few brick houses scattered along and in the vicinity of Salisbury Street. Among these initial dwellings may be the earlier portions of the Martin-Clement-Sprinkle House at 428 Salisbury Street, and the Hall-Call House at 484 Salisbury Street, built about 1828 for Rev. William Hall of Joppa Church. From 1835 to 1846 Richmond M. Pearson conducted a well-known law school in Mocksville, and his students lived in log buildings along the upper part of Salisbury Street, including possibly the earlier portion of the log house at 337 Salisbury Street. (Vertical files)
In the decade after its incorporation, the new county seat enjoyed a brief boom period. Tax lists for 1845 showed 38 dwellings that were valued from $300 to $1,500, located in and adjacent to the downtown area. By the late 1840s the town's growth had slowed to a steady rise. (Wall, Brief History, p.98)
Salisbury Street shared in the early prosperity of the new county seat, primarily as a location for semi-suburban residences. Clerk of Court A.A. Harbin built a two-story, brick Greek Revival house at 471 Salisbury Street about 1859, and merchant Stephen Howell built a side-hall plan frame Greek Revival house at 537 Salisbury Street down the street about 1850. Dr. James F. Martin expanded an earlier log house at 428 Salisbury Street about 1850 in the Greek Revival style.
In the years immediately after the Civil War, Mocksville grew slowly, with scattered houses being constructed in the downtown and along the arteries leading into it. Salisbury Street shared in this slow development. About 1870 merchant William L. Brown expanded the Howell House, adding two bays and an Italianate double-tiered front porch. Just to the north, John M. Clement built a two-story, Greek Revival/Italianate style house with a double-tiered portico about the same time (later moved to 361 Salisbury Street). Brown also operated a tobacco factory with his brother Rufus on land to the north of his house along Salisbury Street (south of what is now Maple Avenue), constructing a two-story, Greek Revival factory building and other structures. On the other side of Salisbury Street, carpenter Samuel M. Call renovated Reverend Hall's log house, converting it to the Italianate style about 1871 (484 Salisbury Street).
Although in the last two decades of the nineteenth century most new residential construction took place on and around North Main Street, north of downtown, an exception is the substantial Queen Anne style residence built for Charles F. Meroney about 1895 by James and Samuel Call (462 Salisbury Street).
During the bulk of the 19th century, houses on Salisbury Street were for the most part widely-spaced and included relatively large tracts of land. This began to change at the turn of the century, as the growth of Mocksville generated demand for new building lots and the original owners of the property died off. Both on North Main Street and along Salisbury Street, larger tracts were subdivided intermittently. At the south end of the district, the Walsh-Cain House (567 Salisbury Street) appears to have been built about 1903 for T.R. Walsh, while Register of Deeds Benjamin O. Morris built a Classical Revival style house next door (544 Salisbury Street) about 1901. From 1901 to 1917, the old Brown Brothers Tobacco Factory property on Salisbury Street was used for the Mocksville Chair Company Factory. (Vertical files) With the closing of the factory, the five-acre plot was subdivided and sold as lots. Over the next two decades the west side of Salisbury around Maple Street was built up with Bungalows. Merchant Hugh A. Sanford purchased several of these lots, including the ones which contained the Clement-Adams-Short House, moving it north of Maple Street to clear a lot on which he would build a large, Craftsman style frame Bungalow at 519 Salisbury Street in 1921.
During the late 1920s and early 1930s, several areas of Mocksville were opened and subdivided for housing. These areas, particularly along the Wilkesboro Road, south of Salisbury Street, and east along Maple Avenue, attracted much of the new residential construction in town through the 1930s.
In the Post World War II era, large tracts of land at the south end of Salisbury Street were subdivided and built up with frame and brick Ranch and Colonial Revival style houses, a few of which were also built at the upper end of the district. Several of the larger, older houses in the Salisbury Historic District have been rehabilitated in recent years, and are well-maintained.
Architectural developments in the Salisbury Street Historic District reflected, to an extent, what was happening elsewhere in Mocksville and Davie County. The brick (former) Mocksville Academy Building (537 Salisbury Street) is similar in its Federal style detailing to the Jesse A. Clement House [National Register] and the (former) Davie County Jail [National Register], both built during the same period. The Harbin-Long House (471 Salisbury Street), the Howell-Brown-Sanford House (537 Salisbury Street) and the Clement-Adams-Short House (361 Salisbury Street) are all representative of the popular Piedmont Greek Revival and Italianate house form consisting of a two-story, three-bay elevation with central hall, side gable roof, and two-tiered porch with gabled roof. Stylistic distinctions between the Greek Revival and Italianate rest mostly on the presence of four- instead of two-panel doors and the use of scroll-sawn splat balusters instead of square-section spindles on porch railings. The Hall-Call House (484 Salisbury Street) in its remodelled form is a relatively early example for Mocksville of the Italianate detailing that was popular in the town for T- and L-plan houses in the last quarter of the century. Similarly, the Charles F. Meroney (462 Salisbury Street) and Mattie Clement House (400 Salisbury Street) have Queen Anne detailing, and the Benjamin O. Morris House (544 Salisbury Street) has Classical Revival detailing reflective of residential construction on North Main Street at the turn of the century. Bungalows and Craftsman style houses constructed on Salisbury Street in the 1920s and 30s also reflect North Main Street developments, as well as national trends.
Davie County Deeds, Mocksville.
Davie County Plat Maps, Mocksville.
Mohney, Kirk F. The Historic Architecture of Davie County, North Carolina. Mocksville: Davie County Historical and Genealogical Society, 1986.
Vertical Files, Davie County Public Library, Mocksville.
Wall, James W. Davie County: A Brief History. Raleigh: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 1979.
Wall, James W. History of Davie County. Mocksville: Historical Publishing Association, 1969.
‡ David R. Black, Architectural Historian, Salisbury Street Historic District, Mocksville, Duplin County, NC, nomination document, 1990, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.