July 25, 2011

History Abounds in Brooklyn South Square Historic Downtown Salisbury Neighborhood

c. 1800's ~ 200 Block of E. Bank Street
Salisbury North Carolina's Brooklyn South Square Historic District, consisting of the large elaborate houses of prosperous businessmen and merchants, as well as many of the smaller, more modest cottages of railroad workers, salesmen, and clerks, is an outstanding example of the development of resi­dential neighborhoods at the edge of Salisbury's downtown commercial district during the mid-to-late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Homes classified as Significant or Contributing Structures are located on every street. The focal point of the district is centered on E. Bank Street. The 200 block of E. Bank Street, west of the railroad tracks, contains the district's oldest dwellings, while the largest and most architecturally elaborate houses of the late nineteenth century are found in the 300 and 400 hundred block, and S. Long Street.

Brooklyn South Square History

Now a residential area, Brooklyn South Square was first developed as an industrial area. A cotton factory was erected in this section of town in 1830. The cotton factory operated into the late 1850s but was vacant by the start of the Civil War and was purchased by the Confederate government and converted into a prison. Originally intended to house prisoners of war, it also held criminals and AWOL confederate soldiers.  The prison was abandoned at word of Stoneman's troops approach before the War's end and was completely destroyed by the Union army in 1865. More information about the Salisbury prison can be found here  http://www.gorowan.com/salisburyprison/

c. 1800's Home ~ one of the District's oldest
Following the Civil War, Brooklyn South Square developed slowly. The area comprising the pri­son, which included much of the southern part of the district along both sides of the 300 and 400 blocks of E. Bank Street, was purchased from the Federal government in 1866. The district was only partially developed by 1882, with only twenty-three homes, only nine of which still exist, built by this time. Salisbury's citizens may have attached a certain stigma to living in the area of the prison. This stigma was evidently forgotten, for bet­ween 1882 and 1902 the remaining area of Brooklyn South Square was almost entirely developed and the area of the former prison became the site of the district's most elaborate and impressive homes. By 1902 the district had seventy-five dwellings.

c. 1895 Victorian on E. Bank Street
While Brooklyn South Square’s earliest homes were built during the two decades before the Civil War, most of the district's structures were built during the last quarter of the nineteenth and the first quarter of the twentieth century, much of which was developed on the site of Salisbury’s Civil War Confederate prison. The housing stock of the district consists predominantly of one and two story dwellings built during the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the first quarter of the twentieth century. However, two dwellings, the Woodson-Overcash House at 224 E. Bank (ca. 1840), and the Blackmer-Propst House at 203 S. Lee (ca. 1856) were built prior to the Civil War. The Brooklyn South Square neighborhood contains a rich variety of late Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, and late Victorian domestic architecture, as well as fine examples of the modest turn-of-the century cottages and bungalows of the early twentieth century. Brooklyn South Square provides an architectural history lesson in the physical evolution of residential neighborhoods around downtown Salisbury from the mid-nineteenth cen­tury to the end of the third decade of the twentieth century.

Turn-of-the-Century Cottages

c. 1900 Cottage Brooklyn South Square
In North Carolina’s growing towns after 1900, "middle class" North Carolina emerged where houses near the center of town had hallways between the rooms, which provided a sense of privacy, and the streets were paved and lit with streetlights. Most had indoor plumbing, furnaces, and telephones. Brooklyn South Square is a wonderfully preserved example of the mid-to-upper class turn-of-the-century neighborhood.

The real estate found in the neighborhood streets of Brooklyn South Square are lined with charming and chic turn-of-the-century cottages with hardwood floors, large sunny eat-in kitchens, living rooms with fireplaces, often with three bedrooms. Many were recently completely and stylishly redecorated. The neighborhood is nestled in the shade of giant old-growth trees, and the more modest cottage homes are often white-picket-fence picturesque. Enjoy the fireplace, or simply enjoy the peace and quiet from turn-of-the-century front porches. From Brooklyn South Square’s convenient location, you can walk to town or bike around Salisbury’s nine other historic neighborhoods. A few minutes’ drive puts you at the High Rock Lake shoreline.  Three out of four seasons, you can stroll just a few short blocks to the Salisbury Farmers Market for locally grown fresh vegetables and grass-fed beef, baked goods, plants and flowers, and fresh eggs.
Salisbury Farmers Market

Brooklyn South Square Salisbury’s First BLOCKwork Award

Brooklyn South Square was selected as the first BLOCKwork project site. On October 22nd, 2011, a group of neighbor-led volunteers will scrub, paint, plant, and repair the 300 block of S. Shaver Street, a charming side street in this historic downtown Salisbury neighborhood.

BLOCKwork is a homegrown program intended to be a holistic approach to how neighborhoods can build accountability for neighborhood character and appearance among themselves, with the slogan, “Accountability happens one block at a time”.

Neighborhoods submitted applications to be considered for an intensive work day incorporating exterior improvements to one city neighborhood block. The work plan is being designed by principal participants and will include a preliminary education phase. Applications were evaluated based on demonstrated need and neighborhood willingness to participate. Program leaders toured candidate blocks with applicants and other planning, code enforcement, police, fire, public services, etc. personnel. Program leaders and support staff met with property owners and renters to determine feasibility of work plan. Brooklyn South Square's Shaver Street will be the pilot block for this City of Salisbury Community Appearance Commission project.

Preserving historic character

1899 Hamill-House Restoration
Historic homes sometimes intimidate people, including young families and new homebuyers. But older homes provide good value for their price and can offer higher quality construction than their newer counterparts. In the past 50 years, America has become a disposable society, including abandoning old homes and buildings. Preserving and reusing those structures can maximize the use of existing materials and infrastructure, reduce waste, as well as preserve the historic character of a city. Additionally, it’s usually cheaper to rehabilitate an older home rather than construct a new one. You’re almost always better off using what you’ve got. Brooklyn South Square, Salisbury North Carolina, has got the value priced homes with higher quality construction that can give their owners pride in maximizing infrastructure.

Historic Homes for Sale in Brooklyn South Square

To see the charm and value of the Brooklyn South Square neighborhood, architecture, and character first-hand, contact Greg Rapp at 704.213.6846. Unwind from the active lifestyle and enjoy the ambiance of a simpler time that a turn-of-the-century historic neighborhood offers.