1008 North Main-web

"After the fire destroyed the house it was difficult to watch it sitting in such disrepair year after year. Our family is excited to see a recreated version of the original home rebuilt - we believe it will be a welcome and important improvement for the neighborhood."

-Bonnie Emerson

1008 North Main Street

Brief History

The house at 1008 N. Main Street, Salisbury, NC has been a landmark structure since 1900 when it was first built by C.L. Emerson, an oil dealer from Ohio. A fine example of late Victorian architecture drew attention with its asymmetrical design, its steep gabled roof and turret and its sawn ornamentation. The home stayed in the Emerson family but used as a rental over the last several decades. A small electrical fire in 2016 prompted Ike and Bonnie Emerson to search for a new caretaker and donated the house to the Historic Salisbury Foundation (HSF) in hopes for much needed updating and full preservation.

Once a property is placed in the HSF revolving fund, protective covenants are placed for perpetuity to ensure the distinctive architectural features are maintained and preserved. In 2017 a new owner was secured with plans to continue the restoration efforts. Unfortunately, in early 2018, the house suffered another fire – this time destroying over 50% of its historic fabric. When this occurs to a historic home it is no longer considered a “pivotal” structure on the National Historic Register. It also is no longer eligible to receive historic tax incentives.

After over four (4) years of slowly attempting to rebuild from what remained on an incredibly damaged house foundation, the owner decided to return the house back to HSF.


The Plan

Historic Salisbury Foundation recently reacquired this property and are thankful to be in a position to take action on a site which has been an eyesore for the neighborhood for far too long. Our intent when purchasing was absolutely to do our best to save what remained of the structure. This is what we do. Upon closer inspection we discovered most of the original historically significant fabric was destroyed by the fire. The work that had been done was without first stabilizing the decaying foundation so it would all have to come down and rebuilt once the foundation was properly addressed. We called upon local experts who are not only highly skilled and experienced in the construction industry, but also have a broad depth of knowledge with historic buildings. A preponderance of experts agreed that there had been such dilapidation that to repair would not only be very expensive but more importantly the overall integrity of the remaining historic structure was no longer intact.

This changed everything. We sought advisement through the eyes of professionals within the preservations arena, including Preservation North Carolina. We were told to consider the long negative impact this property has had on the community and despite the sincerest desire to save (by the previous Owner and now HSF), moving forward in a new way should be considered as the best option.

After careful and lengthy consideration by the HSF Board of Trustees, a draftsman was hired to draw up plans that will be available to interested buyers. The plans incorporate all remaining historic architectural elements, such as an interior spandrel, cast concrete porch columns, and diamond pane windows (see below). Historic Salisbury Foundation will also consider other plans fitting with the character of the neighborhood that include the use of materials of historic integrity, such as wood windows and wood siding. HSF is committed to finding the right buyer to build a home that not only complements the current streetscape, but will be a standout residence and anchor to the revitalization of the North Main Historic District.

The final, and very significant part of this project, would be to once again place covenants on the property to protect anything original that has been salvaged, restored, and reused. Allowing the remaining bit of history to continue.


Architectural Rendering