Poplar Hill Mansion
Open to the public for tours, Poplar Hill Mansion is the only early dwelling of architectural significance to have survived the devastating fires of 1860 and 1886 in Salisbury. Poplar Hill Mansion was built in 1795-96 as the manor house of a farm outside the small eighteenth century town of Salisbury from a port landing site at the head of the Wicomico River, more than a half mile away. Construction was begun by Major Levin Handy, originally from Newport, Rhode Island. In 1795 the Major took out a deed for 357 acres of the original 700 acre land patent called "Pembertons Good Will." The house Handy began in 1795-96 was an ambitious Federal-style structure, outdistancing most buildings in the area in size and fine detail. The house was still incomplete. In 1805 the title was passed to a prominent physician in Salisbury, Dr. John Huston. When the Doctor died in 1828 there were fruit trees, vegetable crops, sheep, cattle, and eighteen slaves on the property, as well as $110 "cash on hand." Huston's widow Sarah inherited the property. In the late 1840s to early 1850s, she partially subdivided it, overseeing the laying out of Poplar Hill Avenue and Isabella Street. The subdivision of "Poplar Farm" continued at a moderate rate before the Civil War. From the 1870s until World War One, the extended area experienced a building boom, creating Salisbury's first suburb, or "Newtown." Mrs. Huston left Poplar Hill to her daughter Elizabeth. Elizabeth initiated its sale to George Waller in 1881. (Elizabeth and her sister Isabella are commemorated in the names of neighborhood streets.) George Waller and his family lived in the house from 1882 to 1945. Various early photos and memorabilia belonging to the Wallers are located in the Mansion’s archives. Fred A. Adkins, who purchased the property in 1945, undertook restoration work with the hope of turning the house into the local Masonic Lodge. In 1948, when this failed to materialize, the house passed to Mr. and Mrs. Ward A. Garber, who maintained an 18th century period antique shop downstairs and lived upstairs. Mrs. Garber sold the property to Wicomico County in 1970 and since 1974 the City of Salisbury has owned it since as a house museum.
117 Elizabeth Street