While in Salisbury last week to lead an ALA/NEH book discussion on the Civil War for the Wicomico County Library, I ambled over to East Main Street and North Division Street to examine a fine example of public architecture. It’s the Victorian Gothic courthouse, an imposing building that was constructed in 1878. Although it been enlarged several times, starting in the 1930s with financing from the Federal Emergency Administration, the 1870s design has been largely protected.
In October 1886 flames swept through Salisbury, destroying 22 acres in the center of the county seat. As the fire started raged out of control, the telegraph operator tapped out urgent appeals to Crisfield, Pocomoke City, and Wilmington requesting that those Shore towns rush steam fire engines to Wicomico County. Special trains were hastily made up for fast runs to the stricken town. The arrival of those fire departments saved the courthouse.
The fading rays of the late afternoon sun illuminated the beauty of the 19th century gem, on a warm April day, so I grabbed my camera and took a few photos.