SALISBURY — The history of Salisbury is rich and full of stories that help put in perspective how far the city has come in its 270 years of existence. On Oct. 14 and 15, the Historic Salisbury Foundation had their 48th annual OctoberTour, where people got to see for themselves the famed, local houses that have continued to stand the test of time.
Over the weekend, residents were able to wander through the Samuel T. Trexler House, the C.W. Smith House, the McCanless Busby Thompson House, the Dr. Josephus W. Hall House, First United Methodist Church, the Prince Charles Condos, the Meroney Theater and the Mendenhall House. Virtual tours for the Hearne Swink “Eastover” House and the Old Stone House were available online.
Tour guides led people through the houses and buildings and shared fun facts about the history of each one. Fancy dining rooms, exquisite gardens and welcoming bedrooms transported visitors to a time before they were born. Cheryl Gunter, a local real estate agent, is fascinated by the restoration of all the houses and she says the McCanless Busby Thompson House is her favorite. Gunter admires the owner, John Martin, for all the work he has invested into it.
“I remember when it was buried in trees and vines, you didn’t know that there was a house behind it, it was all falling in and no one ever thought it would be saved. It has been very well restored. He’s gone to great lengths and spent a lot of time And energy returning to its grandeur. It’s beautiful,” Gunter said.
Also going at the same time, the Bank Street Festival had fun, food and drink for anyone ready to go on the OctoberTour or as a reward for finishing it. Vendors had homemade pottery, art, jewelry and antiques on hand to grab people’s attention. Live music and vintage cars parked on the curb definitely added to the merriment for the autumn event.
Bill Parsons is the owner of the C.W. Smith House. After living in Connecticut for 35 years, Parsons and his wife Faith wanted to retire somewhere in the South. They searched all over the Southeast, but when they discovered Salisbury, they knew it would be the place for them to settle down. The C.W. Smith House wasn’t the first property they looked at, but the only one they fell in love with.
“We’re here seven years, couldn’t have been happier, we just love it,” Parsons said. “It reminds us of different houses that we’ve had growing up. The town, the neighborhood, our next door neighbors are the best neighbors we’ve ever had in our lives…We just love the community.”
This was the first time the Parsons have opened their doors for OctoberTour. In the past, they’ve participated in it as bystanders, but now they finally decided to invite others into their home.
“We have enjoyed it from the outside. Shouldn’t we give back somehow and do the crazy thing from the inside?” Parsons said.