900 Old Salem Rd., Winston-Salem
HOURS: Tues.–Sat. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. 12:30–5 p.m.
Old Salem is the historic district in Winston-Salem. The town was settled by members of the Moravian Church in 1766. Most of the 98,985 acres were used for agricultural purposes but the settlement, which was first called Wachovia, was designed to be the economic, religious, and administrative center of the community.
The communities were controlled by the Moravian Church, which owned all of the land. All of the residents had to be members of the church and could be expelled from town for not following the church’s regulations.
Old Salem highlights the color of the Moravian settlement in North Carolina during the 18th and 19th centuries. Original and reconstructed buildings have been turned into living-history museums, and skilled interpreters act as tinsmiths, blacksmiths, gunsmiths, carpenters, bakers, and shoemakers, practicing the original trades while offering historical information to visitors.
The St. Philips Moravian Church complex includes the reconstructed 1823 Negro Church that was built after a congregational vote to segregate worship and another church that was built in 1861 for the enslaved and free African-American members of the congregation. It’s the oldest surviving African-American church in the state that was built for that purpose. The Emancipation Proclamation was read to the congregation at the church in 1865.
Salem Square is located in the center of the historic district and includes the water pump that was constructed in 1778. The ownership of Old Salem is split between Old Salem Inc., Wachovia Historical Society, Salem Academy and College, Home Moravian Church, the Moravian Church Southern Province, and private owners.
© Jodi Helmer from Moon Charlotte, 1st Edition