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To perhaps understand and appreciate the Winston-Salem story, it might be easier to liken it to a classic American novel, with each page rich in history with lots of chapters full of intrigue, excitement not to mention it’s colorful cast of characters.
And from the first chapter — written even a decade before the signing of the Declaration of Independence — to the ones being written today, Winston-Salem is a page-turner.
The community dates back to 1753, when the first Moravians in North Carolina settled on 100,000 acres known as the Wachovia Tract. These German-speaking Protestants established the first colonial town in the Carolina Piedmont in an area known today as Historic Bethabara Park. In 1766, the Moravians established Salem, which means “peace”, a congregational town and trading center founded to house professional Moravian craftsmen. Their vision of creating a self-sufficient community made Salem a haven for entrepreneurs. Within a few years, the town included a pottery, tannery, brickyard, flour mill, bakery, slaughterhouse, brewery, iron works and cloth and furniture makers.
Twentieth century businesses, such as R. J. Reynolds Tobacco and the Hanes companies, also shaped Winston-Salem by bringing remarkable wealth to the city and endowing it with an impressive list of institutions and foundations. Their rise to prominence only furthered the spirit of entrepreneurship that has characterized the city since its earliest days, and which remains in evidence today as the city’s economy shifts from manufacturing to finance, medicine and technology.
Winston-Salem has grown to be an area known for its diversity of business and community. With a strong and unwavering commitment to the arts, excellence in healthcare research and technology, and opportunities for specialized and advanced education. Winston-Salem truly is the City of Arts and Innovation.