Rowan County is an original destination for historic experiences. We’re a place where heritage and history are highly valued and noticeable at every turn. The county boasts 11 National Register districts, five Local Historic districts, an impressive history museum, three house museums and a meticulously restored depot that has been featured at the Smithsonian and in well-known movies, and so much more. Several popular walking and driving tours are offered to take in historic sites. From the early days of Daniel Boone to the civil war, you’ll find so many sites important to North Carolina and United States history here.


Explore this blog post to discover the historic experiences waiting for you in a few of Rowan County's charming towns:

Salisbury, N.C.

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From trails to museums, and trolley tours to historic homes, Salisbury's roots are full of unique character and charm. Delve into the many experiences Salisbury has to offer including the famous Dr. Josephus Hall House, Rowan Museum and much more during your next visit to Rowan County.


Hall House


Dr. Josephus Hall House

226 S. Jackson St., Salisbury, N.C.


The Hall House was originally a female academy, then transformed to a grand southern residence and now serves as a museum of four generations of the Hall family. From unique, historical architecture and design to the rich history the house holds inside its doors, the Hall House Museum is definitely a place you'll want to check out during your visit. 


African American Heritage Trail

Downtown Salisbury, N.C., Surrounding Areas & Livingstone College Campus


The African American Heritage Trail has many sites where visitors can experience the rich and diversified heritage of Salisbury and Rowan County. The trail highlights historic places, leaders, and experiences in the lives of people of color who resided, worked and contributed to the industrial, artistic, cultural and spiritual life of the Salisbury Community. A copy of the tour brochure can be picked up at the Rowan County Visitor Center or downloaded electronically here.


Historic National Cemetery and Confederate Prison Site

501 Statesville Blvd., Salisbury, N.C.


Visit the Historic National Cemetery that serves as the final resting place of veterans of all wars and the Confederate Prison Site of the Civil War Era. Buried in 18 trench graves are 11,700 unknown soldiers who died at the Salisbury Confederate Prison during the Civil War. 


Historic Downtown Salisbury Trolley Tours

Downtown Salisbury, N.C.


Here in Rowan County, we offer a one-of-a-kind experience of taking a trolley around Downtown Salisbury and being guided through the town's history. The trolleys are currently offered for private rentals only, and more information can be requested via a short form submission here.


Rowan Museum

202 N. Main St., Salisbury, N.C.


The Rowan Museum is housed within the 1854 Courthouse which survived General Stoneman’s raid in the American Civil War. It’s one of the finest examples of pre-Civil War architecture in the state. The courthouse now houses the Rowan Museum and it’s interactive exhibits.


Salisbury Heritage Walking Tour

Downtown Salisbury, N.C.


The Salisbury Heritage Walking Tour is the perfect way to take in the history and architecture of Downtown Salisbury at your own pace. This self-guided walking tour provides a personal glimpse into the history and architecture of Downtown Salisbury and the stately homes of the West Square District. A copy of the Salisbury Heritage Walking Tour can be picked up at the Rowan County Visitor Center.

China Grove, N.C.

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In the Town of China Grove, you'll find two of Rowan County's staple historic attractions. The China Grove Roller Mill has been open to public tours for quite some time now, but one attraction that has newly opened in China Grove is the Historic Neely School.


China Grove Roller Mill


China Grove Roller Mill

308 N. Main St., China Grove, N.C.


For more than 100 years, the China Grove Roller Mill was a continuous operation, as well as a meeting place for the agricultural community to sell their grain, to purchase farm necessities and to socialize. The roller mill is now a museum of the architectural history of the area and offers seasonal tours to the public each year.


Historic Neely School

225 Neelytown Rd.,China Grove, N.C.


Around 1910, Julius Erastus Neely, a carpenter, minister and an enslaved person, founded the Neely School in China Grove, N.C. He worked with family and friends to build the single-room Neely School, which educated approximately 1,300 students before the local school system started providing schools for African Americans in 1948. The Historic Neely School Foundation recently hosted an open house for the school which is now conveniently located for visitors to pass by and take a look.


Gold Hill, N.C.

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The historic gold mining town of Gold Hill will engulf you with its old-timey nature from the moment you arrive. While you're enjoying its atmosphere, be sure to check out a few of their historic attractions including the Gold Hill Mines Historic Park and walk their portion of the N.C. Gold Trail.



Historic building in fall


Historic Gold Hill Village

755 St. Stephen's Church Rd., Gold Hill, N.C.


Enjoy a nostalgic change of pace and step back in time as you stroll along the wood sidewalks of this restored nineteenth century gold mining boom town. With its first gold discovery in 1824, Gold Hill is considered one of today’s most charming, historic small towns in North Carolina.


N.C. Gold Trail

735 St. Stephens Church Rd., Gold Hill, N.C.


In Rowan County, visitors can go to Gold Hill Mines & Historic Park and explore the Gold Hill Rail Trail. This driving tour explores sites including the Powder House, Gold Hill Pond, Gold Hill Jail and a primitive Chilean Ore Mill.


Gold Hill Mines Historic Park

770 St. Stephen's Church Rd., Gold Hill, N.C.


The Gold Hill Mines & Historic Park is a part of the North Carolina Gold Trail. Visitors can hike the Gold Hill Rail Trail, which includes the Powder House, Gold Hill Pond, Gold Hill Jail and a primitive Chilean Ore Mill.

Spencer, N.C.

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Spencer, N.C., home of the N.C. Transportation Museum, welcomes all history and transportation enthusiasts alike. Tour the museum and stop by the Spencer Town Hall to get your copy of the Spencer Historic District Walking Tour to learn about the history of this charming town.




North Carolina Transportation Museum

1 Samuel Spencer Dr., Spencer, N.C.


The North Carolina Transportation Museum’s four large exhibit buildings represent the remaining structures of the Spencer Shops - once Southern Railroad’s largest steam locomotive repair facility on the East Coast. The museum is a source of history, education and entertainment for young and old.


Spencer Historic District Walking Tour

460 S. Salisbury Ave.Spencer, N.C 


Spencer’s Historic District reflects the wealth of the railroad and is a unique example of a railroad town from the latter part of the Gilded Age. Great time and detail were put into building each house and these dwellings represent a historic era when the railroad industry was America’s money making powerhouse.A brochure is available at Spencer Town Hall or by calling 704-633-2231.


Granite Quarry, N.C.

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Although small, Granite Quarry is rich with history and is a worthy stop during your visit to Rowan County, N.C. The Old Stone House, ran by the Rowan Museum, will give you a sense of what ideal living was like back in the 1700s.


Old Stone House


Old Stone House

770 Old Stone House Rd., Granite Quarry, N.C.


The Old Stone House was built by German Immigrant, Michael Braun in 1766. The two story Georgian style home is the oldest structure in Rowan County. Throughout each year, the Rowan Museum hosts several history events at the Old Stone House that are loved by many included the Colonial Spring Frolic and German Fest.


Upcoming History Events in Rowan County, N.C.



These are 14 of the many historic attraction experiences awaiting you in Rowan County. Find out more on our Historic Attraction page.