David L. Gaskill, tobacco man, builder, speculator, banker, and almost-mayor, constructed this 17,000 sf structure in 1898 for his sister, Julia Bell, the building’s namesake.
Belk Harry donated the property in 1981 to Historic Salisbury Foundation. In 1994, it became the home of Loflin’s store, then The Thread Shed, that continues to operate out of the ground floor retail space. The two massive upper floors have been vacant since the late 40s, until now!
This three-story 1898 Richardson Romanesque structure dominates its corner with rusticated ashlar sheathing, cast-iron detailing, and rounded-arched windows. A second-story cast-iron balcony rounds the corner of the structure. The building has one of the most elaborate cast and wrought iron storefronts sold by Gaskill for George L. Mesker & Company, one of 48 in the area that Gaskill sold, many still prominent.
The Bell Block is undergoing a historic renovation-adaptive reuse project that will result in 7 residential apartments and two retail spaces. Interior original beauty, including a signature wooden staircase, four high wooden archways, original wainscoting, original wood floors and ceilings, horsehair plaster walls and ornate doorways, is being preserved. The exterior facade will remain unchanged. This exciting renovation is expected to be completed February 2023.