Salisbury, Maryland

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City of Salisbury
Main Street in Salisbury
Main Street in Salisbury
Flag of City of Salisbury
Official seal of City of Salisbury
Motto: The Comfortable Side of Coastal [1]
Location in Wicomico County and the state of Maryland
Location in Wicomico County and the state of Maryland
Salisbury is located in Maryland
Salisbury is located in the US
Location within the state of Maryland
Coordinates: 38°21′57″N 75°35′36″W / 38.36583°N 75.59333°W / 38.36583; -75.59333
SALISBURY MARYLAND Latitude and Longitude:

38°21′57″N 75°35′36″W / 38.36583°N 75.59333°W / 38.36583; -75.59333
Country United States
State Maryland
County Wicomico
Founded 1732
Incorporated 1854
 • Type Strong-mayor
 •  Mayor Jacob R. Day
 •  City Council
Area [2]
 •  City 13.87 sq mi (35.92 km2)
 • Land 13.40 sq mi (34.71 km2)
 • Water 0.47 sq mi (1.22 km2)  3.39%
Elevation 26 ft (8 m)
Population ( 2010) [3]
 •  City 30,343
 • Estimate (2016) [4] 33,114
 • Density 2,200/sq mi (840/km2)
 •  Urban [5] 98,081
 •  Metro [4] 373,802
Time zone Eastern ( UTC−5)
 • Summer ( DST) Eastern ( UTC−4)
ZIP codes 21801-21804
Area code 410, 443
FIPS code 24-69925
GNIS feature ID 0591221

Salisbury /ˈsɔːlzbəri/ is a city in and the county seat of Wicomico County, Maryland, United States, [6] and the largest city in the state's Eastern Shore region. The population was 30,343 at the 2010 census. Salisbury is the principal city of the Salisbury, Maryland-Delaware Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city is the commercial hub of the Delmarva Peninsula, which was long devoted to agriculture and had a southern culture. It calls itself "The Comfortable Side of Coastal". [1]


Main Street in 1920

Salisbury's location at the head of Wicomico River was a major factor in growth. At first, it was a small colonial outpost set up by Lord Baltimore.

The Gillis-Grier House, Honeysuckle Lodge, Sen. William P. Jackson House, Pemberton Hall, Perry-Cooper House, Poplar Hill Mansion, Union Station, and F. Leonard Wailes Law Office are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [7]

Salisbury's location at the head of the Wicomico River was seen to be a convenient location for trading purposes. Due to the similar physical attributes as well as the nationality of Salisbury's founders, many historians believe that the name was inspired by the City of Salisbury, England, an ancient cathedral city.

Salisbury also had a role in the Civil War, as it served as a location where Union forces encamped in order to search for sympathizers from the South. These Union forces also worked to inhibit the movement of contraband to Confederate forces in the South.

Disaster struck Salisbury in both 1860 and 1866, as fires burned through two-thirds of the Town. Although met with adversity, the resolve of the people of Salisbury was unshaken as the county in which Salisbury was located in continued to grow, and Salisbury was considered to be the heart, or major town, of the county.

In 1867, when the Wicomico County was formed out of parts of both Somerset and Worcester Counties, Salisbury became the government seat.

On August 7, 2017, an EF1 tornado hit the southern portion of Salisbury, causing damage to homes, businesses, and trees and flipping a car. [8]

Today, Salisbury attracts a wide variety of different businesses in addition to the county, state, and federal government offices.


Adding to the diversity of Salisbury, the City is host to a wide variety of events celebrating local culture and the arts. These events include 3rd Friday, an event held in downtown Salisbury on the third Friday of each month, celebrating local music, artists, and nonprofit organizations and 1st Saturday, another arts and music event held downtown on the First Saturday of the month.

Salisbury is also home to a City Park, the Salisbury Zoo, The Centre at Salisbury shopping mall, and the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center.


Sign at northern entrance on U.S. Route 13.

Salisbury is located at 38°21′57″N 75°35′36″W / 38.36583°N 75.59333°W / 38.36583; -75.59333 (38.365806, -75.593361). [10]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.87 square miles (35.92 km2), of which 13.40 square miles (34.71 km2) is land and 0.47 square miles (1.22 km2) is water. [2] The city has a varying elevation of 17 to 45 feet (5.2 to 13.7 m) above sea level.

The nearest major cities to Salisbury are Baltimore 106 miles (171 km); Washington, D.C. 119 miles (192 km), Philadelphia 128 miles (206 km), Norfolk 132 miles (212 km), and Wilmington 96 miles (154 km).


Salisbury's location on the Atlantic Coastal Plain in Maryland gives it a humid subtropical climate, with hot, humid summers and, on average, cool to mild winters. However, in winter the area is also subject to some intervening periods of much more intense cold and even occasional blizzards usually characteristic of more northern regions. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 37.9 °F (3.3 °C) in January to 78.6 °F (25.9 °C) in July; there are 22 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs annually and 5.6 days where the high fails to rise above freezing. On average, Salisbury annually receives 45.9 inches (1,170 mm) of precipitation, with 9.9 inches (25.1 cm) of snowfall. The Köppen climate classification subtype for this climate is " Cfa" (Humid Subtropical Climate). [11]

Climate data for Salisbury, Maryland (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 46.0
Average low °F (°C) 29.8
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.61
Average snowfall inches (cm) 3.4
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 10.4 9.3 10.8 10.8 10.4 9.8 9.9 9.3 7.8 8.3 9.0 10.2 116
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 2.0 1.6 .6 .3 0 0 0 0 0 0 .1 1.0 5.5
Source: NOAA (snowfall at Wicomico Regional Airport) [12] [13]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 947
1870 2,064
1880 2,581 25.0%
1890 2,905 12.6%
1900 4,277 47.2%
1910 6,690 56.4%
1920 7,553 12.9%
1930 10,997 45.6%
1940 13,313 21.1%
1950 15,141 13.7%
1960 16,302 7.7%
1970 15,252 −6.4%
1980 16,429 7.7%
1990 20,592 25.3%
2000 23,743 15.3%
2010 30,343 27.8%
Est. 2016 33,114 [4] 9.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
2012 estimate

Salisbury is the principal city of the Salisbury, Maryland-Delaware Metropolitan Statistical Area, which consists of Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties in Maryland and Sussex County in Delaware. [14]

2010 census

As of the census [3] of 2010, there were 30,343 people, 11,983 households, and 6,040 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,264.4 inhabitants per square mile (874.3/km2). There were 13,401 housing units at an average density of 1,000.1 per square mile (386.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 55.7% White, 34.4% African American, 0.3% Native American, 3.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.1% from other races, and 3.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.0% of the population.

There were 11,983 households of which 29.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 26.4% were married couples living together, 19.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 49.6% were non-families. 32.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 12% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.04.

The median age in the city was 28.1 years. 21.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 22.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.4% were from 25 to 44; 18.8% were from 45 to 64; and 11.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 46.3% male and 53.7% female.

2000 census

As of the census [15] of 2000, there were 23,743 people, 9,061 households, and 4,802 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,145.5 people per square mile (828.1/km²). There were 9,612 housing units at an average density of 868.6 per square mile (335.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 60.71% White, 32.32% African American, 0.23% Native American, 3.19% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.47% from other races, and 2.06% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.39% of the population.

There were 9,061 households out of which 27.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.4% were married couples living together, 18.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.0% were non-families. 33.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.00. In 2005, 324 new single family homes were built, with an average value of $119,358.

In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 21.8% under the age of 18, 21.8% from 18 to 24, 26.9% from 25 to 44, 17.0% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 87.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,191, and the median income for a family was $35,527. Males had a median income of $26,829 versus $21,920 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,228. About 16.5% of families and 23.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.9% of those under age 18 and 10.2% of those age 65 or over.


Part One crimes consist of the more serious crimes, including shoplifting, burglary, assault, theft, and rape. The Salisbury Police Department has been focusing on police training and a combination of traditional and community policing. [16] The 2016 Part One crime is 17.5% below the 10-year average, a considerable decline.

Year Part One
2007 [17] 2,862
2008 [17] 2,655 -7.23
2009 [17] 3,147 18.53
2010 [17] 2,688 -14.59
2011 [17] 2,169 -19.31
2012 [17] 2,199 1.38
2013 [17] 2,089 -5.00
2014 [17] 2,110 1.01
2015 [17] 2,091 -0.90
2016 [16] 1,979 -5.36

In December 1931, Salisbury was the site of a lynching of a black man. Members of a 300-man white mob dragged Matthew Williams, accused of murdering his white employer and wounded while being captured, from his hospital bed. They threw Williams from a third-floor window to the crowd below, where he was stabbed, tied to a truck and dragged three blocks to the county court house. There they hanged him from a tree, before he had any chance of a trial. The mob paraded his body through the black part of Salisbury for intimidation, and mutilated and burned him. It was the 32nd lynching in Maryland since 1882. [18] No one was prosecuted for Williams' murder, as was typical in lynchings. [18] As of 2007, there was no commemoration of the extrajudicial murder. [19] The Equal Justice Initiative, based in Montgomery, Alabama, published an updated compilation of lynchings in 2015. Director Bryan Stephenson is leading the effort to establish a museum and memorial to these crimes, and encourages counties to establish their own memorials. He believes that the history of slavery and lynchings has influenced the continued over-incarceration of blacks and punitive sentencing.


Salisbury is a municipality within Wicomico County. The form of government is strong-mayor, as defined by the City Charter. In this form, executive functions are vested in a popularly elected mayor who serves a four-year term; currently Jacob R. Day. The Mayor is responsible for overseeing the various departments in the city, and supervising the city administrator who manages day-to-day functions. Legislative and oversight functions are the purview of the elected council. The five council members are elected to four-year terms from the city's five districts. City elections are non-partisan. The council meets in regular session the second and fourth Monday of each month in Council Chambers. Council work sessions are held the first and third Monday of each month.

The City Government has numerous Boards and Commissions [20], some of which are quasi-judicial, including:

  • Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee
  • Board of Zoning Appeals
  • Building Board of Adjustments and Appeals
  • Central City District Commission
  • Disability Advisory Committee
  • Elections Board
  • Ethics Commission
  • Friends of Poplar Hill Mansion
  • Historic District Commission
  • Housing Board of Adjustments and Appeals
  • Marina Committee
  • Parks and Recreation Committee
  • Planning & Zoning Commission
  • Revolving Loan Advisory Committee
  • Sustainability Advisory Committee
  • Traffic and Safety Advisory Committee
  • Zoo Commission

The City government is housed at Government Office Building at the intersection of West Church Street and North Division Street, downtown. The facility is shared by Salisbury and Wicomico County.

Mayors of Salisbury

There have been 28 Mayors of Salisbury, listed below. [21]

Name From To
A. G. Toadvine 1888 1890
Thomas Humphreys 1890 1894
Randolph Humphreys 1894 1898
Jehu T. Parsons 1898 1900
C. R. Disharoon 1900 1904
Charles E. Harper 1904 1910
William F. Bounds 1910 1912
B. Frank Kennerly 1912 1914
William F. Bounds 1914 1916
I. E. Jones 1916 1920
W. Arthur Kennerly 1920 1924
L. Thomas Parker, Sr. 1924 1928
Wade H. Insley, Sr. 1928 1934
E. Sheldon Jones 1934 1936
Alfred T. Truitt, Sr. 1936 1938
Arthur W. Boyce 1938 1940
Virgil Hitchens 1940 1946
E. R. White, Jr. 1946 1950
Rollie W. Hastings 1950 1958
Jeremiah Valiant 1958 1959
Boyd E. McLernon 1959 1962
Frank H. Morris 1962 1966
Dallas G. Truitt 1966 1974
Elmer F. Ruark 1974 1982
W. Paul Martin 1982 1998
Barrie Parsons Tilghman 1998 2009
James P. Ireton, Jr. 2009 2015
Jacob R. Day 2015 -

All-America City Award

On June 18, 2010 Salisbury received the All-America City Award. [22]

The City received the award for three projects: [23]

  • The revitalization of Rose and Lake Street neighborhoods in partnership with nonprofit organization Salisbury Neighborhood Housing, Inc, the State of Maryland, Parkside High School CTE program, Hebron Savings Bank, and a grant from the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore.
  • The Youth Leadership Academy which developed leadership in students in grades 8-11. [24]
  • Homeless initiatives including the Code Blue Shelter operated by nonprofit organization Hope And Life Outreach (HALO) with assistance for veterans from nonprofit NATRA, Inc., which provides counseling services.

Economy and businesses

North Salisbury Maryland in 2015

According to the US Conference of Mayors, the Salisbury MD-DE Metropolitan Statistical Area had the 42nd fastest rate of job growth in the nation in 2015. This is the fastest growing US metropolitan area east of the Missouri River and north of the Research Triangle. [25]

Perdue Farms, a multi-national poultry corporation, is headquartered in Salisbury. Other industries in Salisbury include healthcare, accommodation and foodservice, electronic component manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, shipbuilding, and agriculture.

Some of the major employers in Salisbury include: Salisbury University, Verizon, Peninsula Regional Medical Center, The Knowland Group and Pepsi Bottling of Delmarva. Peninsula Regional Medical Center employs more Salisbury residents than any other company, while Perdue Farms is the largest employer headquartered in Salisbury (with nearly 22,000 employees). The labor market for Wicomico County is 45,033 [26] and for the lower shore three counties a total of 86,798 (as of May 2017).

Piedmont Airlines, a regional airline, is headquartered in unincorporated Wicomico County, on the grounds of Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport near Salisbury.


Public schools are under the jurisdiction of Wicomico County Public Schools which includes three high schools, three post secondary institutions. Additionally, several private institutions maintain academic programs in the city.

Post secondary:
Public: Salisbury University and Wor-Wic Community College

Public: James M. Bennett High School, Parkside High School, Wicomico High School, Salisbury Middle School, Wicomico Middle School, and Bennett Middle School
Private: Salisbury Baptist Academy, Salisbury Christian School, The Salisbury School, Faith Baptist School, and Stepping Stones Learning Academy,Wicomico Day School.

Public: Chipman, Glen Avenue, North Salisbury, Westside Intermediate, Pinehurst, Pemberton, Prince Street, West Salisbury and East Salisbury
Private: Wicomico Day School, The Salisbury School, Salisbury Christian School, St. Frances de Sales (Roman Catholic), Faith Baptist School and Stepping Stones Learning Academy.



  • The Daily Times
  • Salisbury Independent – weekly publication of Independent Newsmedia Inc. [27]
  • The Metropolitan Magazine – monthly magazine [28]
  • Wicomico Weekly – weekly publication of the Daily Times




Museums and other historic facilities include: Salisbury University Arboretum; Salisbury Zoo; Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art; Arthur W. Perdue Stadium; Edward H. Nabb Center for Delmarva History and Culture; Chipman Cultural Center; Poplar Hill Mansion; Port of Salisbury Marina; Wicomico Youth and Civic Center.

Parks and playgrounds

The City maintains numerous parks including Comfort Safety Zone Playground, Doverdale Park and Playground, Elizabeth W. Woodcock Park and Playground, Jeannete P. Chipman Boundless Park and Playground (fully handicapped accessible), Lake Street Park and Playground, Newtown Park, Newtown – Camden Tot Lot Park and Playground, Riverwalk Park, Salisbury City Park and Zoo, and Waterside Park and Playground. [29]

Wicomico County maintains recreational fields and courts at each of the county schools. The county also maintains other parks outside the City of Salisbury: Billy Gene Jackson, Sr. Park, Coulbourn Mill Pond Park, Indian Village Playground, Leonards Mill Park, Pemberton Historical Park, Schumaker Park, and Winterplace Park. [30]


Delmarva Shorebirds' mascot, Sherman, in the seats of Perdue Stadium.

Salisbury has a rich history of supporting baseball. The Eastern Shore Baseball League was headquartered there; two franchises—the Salisbury Cardinals and the Salisbury Indians—called the city home. Today, the Delmarva Shorebirds represent the town in the South Atlantic League. The Eastern Shore Baseball Hall of Fame is housed at the Arthur W. Perdue Stadium. The Shorebirds are a Single-A Affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.

Salisbury also is home to Division 3 Salisbury Seagulls. The Seagulls have been dominant in football, field hockey, baseball, Men's Rugby and lacrosse, including multiple NCAA lacrosse national titles. Seagull Stadium hosts the university's football team while Maggs Gymnasium hosts basketball.

Salisbury also has the Wicomico Stallions, a minor league football team, and the Salisbury Rollergirls, an all-female, competitive, WFTDA-member, flat-track roller derby league.

With the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center recently ending its ban on sales, Salisbury is rumored to be a future destination for a Federal Hockey League expansion team.


Salisbury's oldest neighborhoods boast Federal, Georgian, and Victorian architecture. The city also has expanding areas of town homes, suburbs, and strip malls. Each neighborhood attracts distinct demographics.[ clarification needed][ citation needed] Several 55 and older communities have been constructed in the last decade.

Neighborhoods: [31] Church St Area, Downtown, Harbor Pointe, Mt Hermon Rd, North End (Business), Park, Pinehurst, Smith St Area, Westside, Doverdale Area, Eastside, Johnson Lake Area, Newtown, North – Industrial, Princeton Area, Rt 13 South, University – South


  • 1st Saturday – Held the 1st Saturday of every month in Downtown Salisbury, a free music event. [32]
  • 3rd Friday – Held the 3rd Friday of every month on the Downtown Plaza, a free art and entertainment event featuring live music, local artists, and vendors. [33]
  • Christmas Parade – Held the first Sunday of each December, sponsored by the Salisbury Jaycees. [34]
  • Critical Mass – Second Wednesday of the month 5:30pm in front of Guerrieri University Center.
  • Friday at Five - Outdoor Mixer on North Division Street in Downtown Salisbury, each Friday through September. [35]
  • National Folk Festival - Will be hosted in Salisbury for the 3 year period of 2018 - 2020. [36]
  • Salisbury Community Band – Offers 5 summer concerts on Sunday evenings in the summer from the Bandstand in the City Park. [37]
  • Sea Gull Century – Cycle 62 mi (100 km) or 100 mi (160 km) of Maryland's Eastern Shore each October. (hosted by Salisbury University). [38]


Community participation through various groups fosters friendliness and betterment. Organizations that sponsor events within the city include: Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, The Salisbury Junior Chamber of Commerce (aka Salisbury Jaycees), Junior Achievement of the Eastern Shore, Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, Salisbury Symphony Orchestra, Community Players of Salisbury, and the Peace Alliance of the Lower Shore. Several churches within the community also boast impressive musical programs, notably Wicomico Presbyterian Church and Asbury United Methodist Church.

Sister cities


Salisbury is served by two major highways— U.S. Route 13, one of the major north–south routes of the Delmarva Peninsula, and U.S. Route 50, one of the major east–west routes on the peninsula. US 13 connects Salisbury to Dover, Delaware and Norfolk, Virginia and is known as the Ocean Highway, while US 50 serves as the main route between the Baltimore/ Washington region and many of the major cities on Delmarva, including Ocean City; it is known as the Ocean Gateway. US 13 and US 50 originally passed through the central business district, but have been subsequently rerouted onto the Salisbury Bypass, a 3/4 beltway around the city that allows through traffic on US 13 and US 50 to bypass the downtown area; earlier routes of both highways are now U.S. Route 13 Business and U.S. Route 50 Business. Earlier still, US 13 was routed along Division Street and US 50 along Main Street.

The city is also served by Maryland Route 12, a rural highway that connects Salisbury to the town of Snow Hill, and Maryland Route 349, a rural highway that connects Salisbury to Nanticoke and Quantico.

The Delmarva Central Railroad provides freight rail service to Salisbury. [40]

The city is served by daily scheduled American Eagle service to both Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Charlotte, North Carolina at the Wicomico Regional Airport. Additionally, the Port of Salisbury offers respite for recreational boaters and commercial tug boats. [41] Salisbury's navigable stop on the Wicomico River is the second largest and second busiest commercial port in Maryland. [42] [43]

The city is also served by Shore Transit, which provides local bus service throughout the city, and also services points outside the city within the tri-county area, such as Ocean City's public transportation system. The major transfer point is on Calvert Street, in downtown Salisbury. [44]

Notable people

Frank Perdue, founder of Perdue Farms, was a Salisbury native.




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