Principal founder of the Historic Salisbury Foundation in Salisbury, North Carolina – an organization whose mission it is to preserve, protect, and revitalize the historic fabric of Salisbury and Rowan County.
The first meeting of the Historic Salisbury Foundation was April 12, 1972. Growing up in Salisbury, Clement saw far too many intact and functioning buildings fall to the wrecking ball simply because they were too old, too big or too inconvenient. When the Maxwell Chambers Trust announced that it intended to demolish the 1839 Salisbury Female Academy at 115 South Jackson Street, now the circa 1820 historic Dr. Josephus Hall House Museum, Clement changed from concerned citizen to active organizer. During his year as president of the Salisbury Rotary Club, Clement and friends drafted the bylaws and articles of incorporation of a new organization that would do something about wanton demolition.
In 1988, after more than 15 years of negotiations, rallies, hearings, rescues, fundraisers, purchases, home tours and zoning changes, the National Trust presented him with the National Preservation Honor Award.
During his tenure, Historic Salisbury Foundation purchased over 100 buildings threatened with demolition with the foundation’s revolving fund, a way to rescue, protect and then resell endangered properties. Fewer than 2% of the nation’s preservation organizations have such a fund.
His strong and unrelenting advocacy for historic preservation is why Ed Clement and Salisbury are nationally known. He acknowledged on his tireless work on saving historic homes and neighborhoods of every size and historic representation.
Clement has dedicated more than 50 years of his life to local, state and national historic preservation efforts. He has protested many accolades and honors, insisting “Everything I do is a ‘we.’ You don’t do anything as an ‘I.’”
It is evident from the care taken with each property he restores that Ed not only believes in historic preservation, he practices it and lives it.