Old Salem Blog

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    The John C. Blum House cir. 1890

    Built by John Christian Blum, the house served as Salem’s first print shop. Having been a tavern keeper with his wife, Maria, for the first five years of their marriage, they built this house and at that time Blum became the local agent for Cape Fear Bank. He suffered a catastropic fire of the bank funds that bankrupted him but his family continued to live in the house. In addition to local newspapers, in 1828 he began printing the Farmers and Planters Almanac, which is continues today as the local Blum’s Almanac. The original building was only a story and a half tall, and was raised to two stories by his sons after J. Blum’s death when they were finally able to repurchase the family homestead.

    While the home is currently closed for tours, a bright and innovative future is planned for it as it’s actual renovation will be part of historic interpretation for visitors.


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    Today a special presentation was given in Salem Square to commemorate the  new National Historic Landmark plaque recognizing the expansion of Old Salem’s acreage and time periods of significance. 

    The plaque text reads:

    This district possesses national significance as an exceptional reflection of the culture of German immigrants who established a theocratically governed, utopian town of Salem, the town maintained itself through time by adaptation, innovation, industrialization, and secularization of the town government and economy. The district is also significant as an archaeological site and as a pioneering effort to restore and preserve the buildings and landscape of the town of Salem.

    Expanded 2016

    United States Department of the Interior
    United States of America


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    April 26, 1838

    Complaints were reported about the hogs nightly rambling through the community, about the nightly noise of too many dogs, the bulls and the cows in the streets and the great number of  doves causing damage in the gardens. We wish that all this which harms the love and harmony in the community be removed. 

    Source: Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, Volume IX: 1838-1847.


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    “Of this month it may be noted that our doctor trepanned the skull of a German man, named Swing, about fifty years old, of Guilford County, who for a number of years had suffered extra-ordinary pain and has had a constant hammering and humming in his ears. This was probably the result of a blow with an axe and great fright, and sometimes he could get no rest day or night, and feared that he would lose his mind. He felt some relief from the operation, and we wish earnestly that it may serve for his entire recovery.” - Salem Diary, 1806

    This image is from the new Moravian Way of Health and Healing exhibit in the Doctor’s House. 


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    “It is well known that white lead and varnish is not a durable paint, and we wish we had something better for our new church. It was proposed to paint the well-house in the Square this year with a paint proposed in last year’s Almanac, which is not expensive and may last longer. The receipt calls for three parts of unslaked lime, two parts of ashes, one part of fine sand, mixed with linseed oil as for other paints.”

    - Salem Board Minutes, April 17, 1798


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    On this day in 1815:

    “This day was noteworthy because of the solemn celebration which the President of the United State (James Madison) recommended as a festival of thanks and joy for the priceless mercy of the much desired restoration of peace in our beloved fatherland.” - Salem Diary, April 13, 1815

    Source:  Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, Volume VII: 1809-1822.

    🎨:  Salem in Nord Carolina von der Süd West-Seite, circa 1819, Published by W.T. Neuhäuser, Niesky, Germany


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    “Men were in the potter’s shop like a swarm of bees, coming, buying, and leaving. Many could get nothing, as the first to come bought it all.”
    - Salem Diary, April 11, 1777


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    Did you know?

    Salem was the first town in North Carolina to have trained midwives. In the late 18th/early 19th centuries, midwives delivered babies, with doctors only stepping in if there were serious problems. Dr. Jacob Bonn, Salem’s first doctor, came to America from Germany where midwives were licensed. He knew the value of proper training for midwives and made sure it was part of the tradition of the town of Salem. The first trained midwife in Salem was Dr. Bonn’s wife, Anna Maria Bonn. Dr. Vierling carried on the tradition and trained several midwives during his tenure as Salem’s doctor.

    Tomorrow (Saturday, April 8) join us for the Doctor’s House Grand Opening featuring the brand-new exhibition “The Moravian Way of Health and Healing.”


  • A Moravian Easter

    A 2010 segment from NPR touches on one of Salem’s many long-standing Easter traditions. 


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    Main Street in Salem, NC cir 1890-1900.


This plate is among the most important artifacts that survive from the John Vogler shop. It was made and used by John Vogler to engrave watch papers for the watches he repaired. Watch papers were a type of advertisement. They were placed inside the case of a customers' watch after it had been repaired. Since many of early watches had to be wound to form the movement, the case was opened every day and the owner was reminded of who repaired their watch. This is one of three extant watch paper plates and is believed to be the plate that Vogler used towards the end of his career (1830-1845) due to the expert engraving skill and little wear.

Learn more by visiting the Dianne H. Furr Moravian Decorative Arts Gallery, located in Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts of Old Salem today! #OldSalemObjects

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Come Work With Us!

Old Salem Museums & Gardens employs professionals in a variety of fields including historical preservation, retail, education, administration, and visitor services. Job opportunities are listed here and are updated on a weekly basis. We are committed to building a culturally diverse and inclusive staff and strongly encourage applications from minority and bilingual candidates, veterans, and individuals with disabilities.

Old Salem Museums & Gardens is an Equal Opportunity Employer. www.oldsalem.org/about/employment-2/

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Enjoy a historic Memorial Day Weekend with us! Visit the Cobblestone Farmers Market, purchase a ticket and take a tour of the historic buildings, peruse the restored Gardens at Old Salem, find a special gift a the Shops at Old Salem, enjoy delicious fare from The Tavern in Old Salem and The Flour Box Tea Room and Cafe, and more!

Museum Hours: Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sunday 1-4:30 p.m. and closed on Mondays (including Memorial Day).

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Old Salem Museums & Gardens is proud to once again participate as a Blue Star Museum, offering free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, from Memorial Day through Labor Day. As our museum buildings are always closed on Mondays, the program will begin on Tuesday, May 30.

Details: www.oldsalem.org/events/event/blue-star-museum-program-begins/

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The Town of Salem

Experience early American history in the unique Moravian settlement of Salem. Original structures, gardens, tours, artifacts, hands-on workshops, fun family events and shopping.


Stroll through award-winning restorations that create a landscape reminiscent of early Salem where utility, practicality and beauty united. Tours, workshops and plants for your garden.


View history through objects and material culture. Tour a wide range of early southern artistry, craftsmanship and stories found in the world class collection of decorative arts from the early American South, 1660-1860.

Old Salem Museums and Gardens, 600 S. Main Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101 Phone: 336-721-7300 | visitwinstonsalem.com