Historical Markers in
Rowan County, North Carolina

A Short History of Thyatira Presbyterian Church (USA) All Gave Some, Some Gave All Andrew Jackson Arends / Nussman Boone Trail 1769 Burial Trenches and Salisbury Prison C.S. Military Prison Christian Reid City of Salisbury Confederate Prison Cotton Mills Corner Crossroads: Past Into Present Elizabeth Maxwell Steele Food Lion LLC Food Lion Trailer No. 893615 Four Houses of Worship Francis Locke Grace or Lower Stone Church Griffith Rutherford Hall House Harry Cowan Hinton Rowan Helper Historic Spencer Shops Honor Roll J.C. Deagan Tubular Bell Tower Chimes John Steele John W. Ellis John Willis Ellis Knox Home Lee S. Overman Macay Law Office Magnetic Signal Company Maine Matthew Locke Maxwell Chambers House Meroney’s Theatre Norfolk & Western Caboose 555012 Old English Cemetery Old Stone House Old Stone House Organ or Zion Church Pennsylvania Monument Rowan County Courthouse Rowan County World War I Memorial Rural Free Delivery Salisbury Confederate Memorial Salisbury Cotton Mills Salisbury Fire Dept. Salisbury National Cemetery Salisbury Rotary Club Samuel McCorkle Setzer School Signals Southern Public Utilities Co. 1927 Streetcar #85 Spencer Shops Roundhouse and Turntable St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Stoneman’s Raid Stoneman’s Raid The Muscle of Spencer Shops The Travelers' Club Third Creek Church Thyatira Church Town of Spencer Town Well Trading Ford Trading Path Unknown Soldiers Monument Veterans Memorial Helicopter and Tree Washington's Southern Tour Washington’s Tour of the Southern States William Valentine
North Carolina is home to the largest private residence in the United States, the Biltmore Estate, which was built by George Vanderbilt in Asheville in the late 1800s.
Rowan County, located in the state of North Carolina, has a rich and diverse history that dates back to the prehistoric era. The area was initially inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Catawba and Cherokee, who lived off the land and hunted in the region. European settlement began in the mid-18th century, when German and Scotch-Irish immigrants migrated to the area in search of fertile land.

In 1753, Rowan County was officially established by the colonial government of North Carolina. The county was named after Matthew Rowan, who was the acting governor at the time of its formation. During the American Revolution, Rowan County played a crucial role, with many of its residents joining the Continental Army to fight for independence. The area also saw significant military activity, including the Battle of Clapp's Mill in 1780.

In the 19th century, Rowan County experienced economic growth and prosperity. Agriculture, particularly cotton and tobacco, became the backbone of the county's economy. The growth of the railroad network in the region further fueled the county's development by connecting it to major markets and cities. However, the county also grappled with social and political challenges, particularly during the Civil War and Reconstruction era.

In the 20th century, Rowan County continued to evolve and adapt. The county experienced industrial growth with the establishment of textile mills, manufacturing plants, and furniture factories. It also became a hub for education and culture, with institutions like Catawba College and a thriving arts community. Today, Rowan County blends its rich history with modern amenities, offering a charming mix of small-town charm and urban convenience.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Rowan County, North Carolina.

  • 1753 - Rowan County is formed from the western portion of Anson County.
  • 1763 - Salisbury, the county seat, is officially established and becomes an important crossroads town.
  • 1770s - Revolutionary War hostilities intensify in the region, with several notable battles and skirmishes taking place.
  • 1785 - The University of North Carolina is established in Chapel Hill, with Rowan County providing financial support.
  • 19th century - Rowan County experiences significant growth and development, with the establishment of many mills, factories, and the arrival of the railroad.
  • 1839 - The North Carolina Railroad reaches Salisbury, further fueling the county's economic growth.
  • 1861-1865 - Rowan County residents actively participate in the Civil War, with many joining Confederate forces.
  • Late 1800s to early 1900s - Rowan County becomes known for its agricultural output, particularly in the cultivation of tobacco.
  • 1942 - During World War II, the county's population booms due to the establishment of the Richard-Gebaur Air Force Base.
  • Late 20th century - Rowan County experiences a decline in manufacturing and agriculture, with efforts made to diversify the economy.
  • Present day - Rowan County continues to be a hub for commerce, education, and culture, with ongoing efforts to preserve its rich historical heritage.