Salisbury, Maryland

City of Salisbury

Main Street in Salisbury


Motto: The Comfortable Side of Coastal[1]

Location in Wicomico County and the state of Maryland

Location within the state of Maryland

Coordinates: 38°21′57″N 75°35′36″W / 38.36583°N 75.59333°W / 38.36583; -75.59333Coordinates: 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 (Democrat)
  City Council
  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 (2012[4]) 31,243
  Density 2,264.4/sq mi (874.3/km2)
  Metro 125,203
  2010 CSA pop'n. 176,657
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,[5] 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 and calls itself "The Comfortable Side of Coastal".[1]

Salisbury is located near several major cities: 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).


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. In 1732, Salisbury became an official port, growing to be second only to Baltimore as the most active seaport in Maryland.

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.[6]

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 from 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 encamp 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.

Today, Salisbury attracts a wide variety of different businesses in addition to 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 non profit 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 Mall, and the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center (Civic Center Website here).


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).[8]

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.


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).[9]

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)[10][11]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201532,899[12]8.4%
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.[13]

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[14] 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.


In an article in 2013, based on 2012 crime data, The Daily Times noted the city ranked 25th in the nation for "violent offenses", out of 839 places surveyed with populations between 25,000-50,000.[15] Crime in Salisbury was noted in 2014 as being at the lowest level in at least 10 years.[16] The Part One crimes, which are typically homicide, rape, robbery, and the likes, decreased to 2,091 in 2013, down from 2,776 in 2004, and the peak of 3,168 in 2006. This is while the city's population has grown from 23,743 in 2000 to 30,343 in 2010. The Mayor estimated that the average weekday population of Salisbury is 150,000 to 170,000 people with commuters included.

NeighborhoodScout annually publishes a list of the Top 100 Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S., in which Salisbury was ranked 85th for 2016,[17] however the FBI cautions against using the data to rank cities.[18]

Salisbury witnessed one of the most recent lynchings in Maryland history. In December 1931, a white mob dragged Matthew Williams, a man accused of murdering his white employer, from his hospital bed. The mob threw Williams from a third-floor window, stabbed him with an ice pick, attached him to a truck, dragged him to the court house, and there hung him from a tree, after which they paraded his dead body through the black part of Salisbury, after which they torched his body.[19] No one was put on trial for the murder.[19] As of 2007, there was no commemoration of the crime.[20]


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, although most day-to-day functions are managed by the city administrator. 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,[21] some of which are quasi-judicial, including:

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. The city and county maintain a joint Planning and Zoning department.

Mayors of Salisbury

There have been 28 Mayors of Salisbury, listed below.[22]

A. G. Toadvine18881890
Thomas Humphreys18901894
Randolph Humphreys18941898
Jehu T. Parsons18981900
C. R. Disharoon19001904
Charles E. Harper19041910
William F. Bounds19101912
B. Frank Kennerly19121914
William F. Bounds19141916
I. E. Jones19161920
W. Arthur Kennerly19201924
L. Thomas Parker, Sr.19241928
Wade H. Insley, Sr.19281934
E. Sheldon Jones19341936
Alfred T. Truitt, Sr.19361938
Arthur W. Boyce19381940
Virgil Hitchens19401946
E. R. White, Jr.19461950
Rollie W. Hastings19501958
Jeremiah Valiant19581959
Boyd E. McLernon19591962
Frank H. Morris19621966
Dallas G. Truitt19661974
Elmer F. Ruark19741982
W. Paul Martin19821998
Barrie Parsons Tilghman19982009
James P. Ireton, Jr.20092015
Jacob R. Day 2015 -

All-America City Award

On June 18, 2010 Salisbury received the All-America City Award.[23]

The City received the award for three projects:[24]

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.[26]

Perdue Farms, a multi-national poultry corporation, is headquartered in Salisbury. Other industries in Salisbury include 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 within 15 miles (24 km) of Salisbury is 85,000, and at a 30-mile (48 km) radius 101,000 people.

Piedmont Airlines, a regional airline, is headquartered in unincorporated Wicomico County,[27] on the grounds of Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport near Salisbury.[28]


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.

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.






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.

Wicomico County maintains recreational fields and courts at each of the county schools. The county also maintains other parks in Salisbury: Billy Gene Jackson, Sr. Park, Coulbourn Mill Pond Park, Indian Village Playground, Leonards Mill Park, Pemberton Historical Park, Schumaker Park, and Winterplace Park.[29]


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. Several 55 and older communities have been constructed in the last decade.

Neighborhoods:[30] 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



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.

Air and sea

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.[38] Salisbury's navigable stop on the Wicomico River is the second largest and second busiest commercial port in Maryland.[39][40]

Public transportation

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.[41]

Notable people

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


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