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Celebrating 250 Years of Salem

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    April 1772

    Sister Oesterlein begins looking after little girls in a “school room” of the Gemein Haus. From this humble beginning Salem Academy and College of the future will grow.

    Source: The Founding of Salem, 1766, a Time Line (Moravian Archives)

    Learn more about the history of Salem College & Academy here.


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    Five Brethren went from Bethabara to Salem on April 7, 1766, to fell trees and hew logs for the dayworkers cabin. As soon as he can, Michael Ranke will transport building stones to the site and also draw the logs together about where the horse trough stands.

    Surveyor Reuther has also gone to Salem to once again measure the fall of the springs. He finds that the upper spring on the east side of the ridge could be led to the street behind the high knoll which has been proposed for Salem Square. That’s the block to the north of today’s Salem Square.

    Source: 250th Day By Day (Moravian Archives)


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    Of the eight pioneer settlers of Salem, February 19, 1766, six remained there as residents, and when life’s race was run were laid to rest in the Salem “God’s Acre.”

    Records of the Moravians In North Carolina, Volume I, Adelaide L. Fries, M.A., Ed., 1920

    On Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016, God’s Acre in Salem will serve as the location of a very special tradition for local Moravians, the 244th Annual Easter Sunrise Service. You can read about this service here at homemoravian.org.


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    Thanks to the Moravian Archives, we know that by March 13, 1766, Salem’s original settlers have planted one apple tree and 40 peach trees. 


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    250 Years of Tourism

    On Friday, March 7, 1766, our first tourists pay a visit — which will be a major money maker for Winston-Salem 250 years later. Granted, they are only a number of Married and Single Brethren from Bethabara (no Sisters yet), but they are here “to look over the place.”

    Source: 250th Day By Day (Moravian Archives)


  • Tradition says that the name “Salem” was selected for the central town of Wachovia by Count Zinzendorf before his death in 1760, he loving the word because of its meaning “Peace.” In the Wachovia Diary, however, it appears for the first time in the entry for January 30, the day the European colony arrived, and thereafter it was not “the new town,” but SALEM to all who wrote of it or labored there.
    Records of the Moravians In North Carolina, Volume I, Adelaide L. Fries, M.A., Ed., 1920


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    The year that followed was a year of “firsts,” of successive beginnings, well-considered, carefully planned. Certain events are recorded in the Diary, and imagination fills the gaps with steady toil, the felling of trees and dressing of lumber, the clearing and planting of fields and orchards, the thousand and one things which so evidently needed to be done that they were not even written down.

    Text from above: Records of the Moravians In North Carolina, Volume I, Adelaide L. Fries, M.A., Ed., 1920


  • Commemorative Walk & Builders' House Lighting


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    Our historic walk reenactors made a stop at Kimberley Park Elementary School here in Winston-Salem this morning to share with the students the significance of this date in the history of our city. 


Old Salem Museums & Gardens shared Gardens at Old Salem's photo. ...

Spanish Bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica) in the Leinbach garden on Salt Street

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A fun, family-friendly activity for tomorrow night with our friends from The Flour Box Tea Room and Cafe here in Old Salem. ...

Outdoor Movie Night!

April 29, 2016, 8:00pm - April 29, 2016, 9:30pm

Come join us on our patio for a free movie night! It will be 4 movie shorts ranging from 5 minutes to 27 minutes each. Total viewing 1 hour. Total event 1.5 hours. Movies are family-friendly: funny little bunnies, colonial children, the giving tree, and to build a city. Hope to see you all there!

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We are so pleased to offer exceptional programs such as the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts' Design Seminar, which seeks to answer the question, "what's chic in southern design?" Find out from speakers from Architectural Digest and Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library! ...

MESDA Design Seminar: Inspired by Tradition

May 7, 2016, 9:30am - May 7, 2016, 3:00pm

The 2016 MESDA Design Seminar will once again feature what’s chic in southern design. Moderator Tom Savage of the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library will welcome to the podium three experts in the design field. Norman D. Askins, an Atlanta architect and author, will present a portrait of southern elegance through his trademark infusion of traditional design with understated innovation and style. Patrick Baty, British paint historian, will discuss how architectural paints and colors can dictate warmth and welcome or splendor and ceremony in public buildings, private homes, and even palaces! Mitchell Owens, Decorative Arts & Antiques Editor for Architectural Digest, will give his perspective on what’s new and innovative in the field of interior design. For a complete program see: www.mesda.org/programs_sprite/prog_calendar_sprite/mesda_2016-mesda-design-seminar.html

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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