Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My Hometown

Location of Salisbury, NC
       "This is my hometown, my hometown..."  I remember this episode of the "Andy Griffith Show" where Aunt Bee and her friend Clara Edwards sang their rendition of their song about Mayberry to Keevy Hazelton, who later featured it on his TV show.  This may be useless jargon to many of you, but it was memorable to a AGS fan like myself.  

   I've grown fond of my hometown over the years, just as Aunt Bee and Clara were fond of Mayberry.  It's grown and changed a lot over the years.  And I like some of the changes, others I don't.  But it's still my hometown that I cherish and love.

     Salisbury, NC has a great location.  It is situated in the middle of what is termed "the Piedmont", which is basically central North Carolina.  To the west and north, there are the mountains of the Appalachian Trail.  There is beautiful Asheville, NC with the famous Biltmore House.  Salisbury is located conveniently right on I-85, between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, GA.  To the north and south, almost equi-distant apart, are North Carolina's cities of Greensboro (45 miles N) and the largest city, Charlotte (45 miles S).  There are plenty of places, events and sights to explore in these two cities and the surrounding areas, including the professional sports teams Charlotte Hornets (NBA) & Carolina Panthers (NFL).  There are also many, many scenic and natural wonders within driving distance, including parks, walking trails, mountains, etc.  And Salisbury is also just three to four hours away from the beaches of North and South Carolina, including the Outer Banks, Carolina Beach and Myrtle Beach.

  What is Salisbury, NC famous for ?  You mean.. in addition to my being from here?  LOL..  Actually, I was born in a town called Thomasville, which is about an hour-and-a-half from here.  But our family moved here to Salisbury when I was five, and it's where I've grown up and lived (most of) my life ever since.


     Salisbury is famous for a few things.  First of all, probably Cheerwine & Food Lion, not necessarily in that order.  Cheerwine was first bottled here in Salisbury in 1917 by L.D. Peeler, and is still carried on by his descendants a century later.   They have grown and expanded, and have plans to put Cheerwine in all 50 states by 2017, their 100 year anniversary.   I was amazed to see it in stores in Nashville, TN.  But it's expanded even farther than that now.  

   Food Lion was founded here in 1957 as Food Town by Ralph Ketner, his brother and a friend.  Ralph and his partners looked up friends' phone numbers and called them, asking for a $1,000 investment to start the company.   All of those investors became multi-millionaires.  Now Food Lion is a subsidiary of Delhaize, a Belgian company, and now owns and operates over 1,100 supermarkets in eleven states.   Their corporate headquarters remains here in Salisbury.  Their original store has a historical marker, telling the story of the founding of the company.  So if you ever walk into a Food Lion store, you're indirectly connecting with a link to Salisbury.

NC Transportation Museum
     After Cheerwine & Food Lion, close behind in significance are the NC Transportation Museum & the National Sportswriters & Sportscasters Association Awards Ceremony.   The Transportation Museum's website states, "The N.C. Transportation Museum is located on the site of what was once Southern Railway Company's largest steam locomotive servicing facility. J.P. Morgan, Southern's owner, chose the site because of its location midway between the railroad's major terminal points of Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, Ga. Construction of the Shops began in 1896, and they were named in honor of the first president of Southern Railway, Samuel Spencer."   The facility is open to the public for tours and periodically hosts special events for families and kids, such as Thomas the Tank Engine.

   The National Sportswriters & Sportscasters Association (NSSA) was founded in 1959, and had its first Awards Ceremony in Salisbury in 1960.  Salisbury has served as the headquarters for the organization since its inception.  The annual event is one of the highlights of the town's calendar each and every year.   Many sports celebrities have been guests of the event, including Dick Vitale, Al Michaels, Bob Costas, Chris Berman, Jim Nantz,  and entertainers such as Bob Hope, Flip Wilson and Chet Atkins, just to name a few.
   Salisbury also hosts the annual OctoberTour, started in 1975, which showcases a number of historic and beautiful homes in the downtown and surrounding areas each fall.  Many owners open up their homes each year, drawing thousands of people from all over NC and beyond to Salisbury.

   Folks- there's much, much more to come..   I'll be posting a lot of my memories of Salisbury on here, as well as hopefully allowing other hometowners to do the same.   Hope you'll tune in and catch up on Salisbury. 

You can find out more about Salisbury, NC by going to their Travel & Tourism site at :