The Bell Tower, perhaps Salisbury’s most iconic landmark, was saved from demolition by the persistent—and sometimes heated--efforts of the newly formed Historic Salisbury Foundation. Built in 1892, the Bell Tower was a part of the Romanesque style First Presbyterian Church which was demolished in 1972 to allow for commercial development of the site. With the Bell Tower remaining, HSF formalized an agreement to preserve and repair it in late 1974. After years of neglect, the Bell Tower again fell into disrepair, leading to another campaign to save it in 1991.
As the situation was about to repeat itself a third time, the Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation signed an option to purchase the 3.5-acre block containing the Bell Tower from the First Presbyterian Church. The purchase was completed in 2016 and the Robertson Foundation immediately took steps to stabilize and repair the Bell Tower. It was a complex project given the Bell Tower’s structural problems and its poor overall condition. With the work complete, the Bell Tower’s future is secure. And, its bell, cast in 1858, rang for the first time in many years this past New Year’s Eve.
Photo by Erin Comerford Photography