Video: The Real Glory Days of Downtown Salisbury: (1953-1966)

Posted on September 16, 2016

Steve Mensing and RFP Staff

♦ Here is a video and a few revealing photos from the glory days of downtown Salisbury when the downtown was truly alive with big box store shopping and crowds flocked here. This was a time when Belk’s, Zimmerman’s, A & P, Woolworth’s, Bernhardt’s, Budget Fair and many other shopping giants ruled the roost and attracted thousands every week. Over sixty years ago, downtown Salisbury was an actual destination.

When this video was shot, no schism existed between the city and the county. No vampiring by Salisbury of their neighbors through the city’s forced annexation schemes or taking big gulps from Rowan County towns’ water and sewer funds to keep a failed fiber optic network alive. The city and county were undivided. In 1953, Salisbury was an actual city with little crime and a once hopeful future. Downtown Salisbury was alive and prosperous in 1953, before its slow de-evolution into decay, vacant storefronts, panhandlers, ATM muggings, and the state’s largest municipal sales Tax.

A 1953 Video of Rowan County’s Bicentennial Celebration in downtown Salisbury:

Salisbury Then and Now:


Sale at Zimmerman’s in 1964 (compliments of David Post)


Inside Zimmerman’s Sale, 1964 (compliments of David Post)


Main Street Salisbury, circa 1949 (from Belk Archive)

circa 1949

Main Street Salisbury, circa 1980 (from Belk Archive)


and Now…

Main Street Salisbury, 2012

Main Street Salisbury

Are these the lasting impressions we want to make?



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