6 Historical Facts every Winston-Salem resident should know

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Historical Facts Every Winston-Salem Resident Should Know:

If you live in Winston-Salem, you might start to notice an abundance of Moravian stars, and that the city goes by many different names…like Camel City. While we are not history experts, we compiled a list of 6 facts we think every Winston-Salem resident should know.

Updated October 2021

1. Winston and Salem

The city of Winston-Salem is a product of the merging of the post offices of two neighboring towns, Winston and Salem. The city officially merged in 1913. Salem was the first town, founded in 1766 by the Moravians. The Moravians are acknowledged as the first Protestants, pre-dating the Lutherans by 100 years. Winston, named for Major Joseph Winston, a Revolutionary war hero from Germanton, was founded later and grew during the Civil War. During the Holidays, you will see many Moravian stars hung around town.

2. Understanding the multiple names

  • Camel City – Winston-Salem is often called “Camel City” after the cigarette brand Camel made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.
  • City of the Arts and Innovation – Winston-Salem is referred to as the “City of Arts and Innovation” because the city created the first arts council in the United States (founded in 1949) and because of the many local art schools and attractions.
  • Twin City – “Twin City” refers to the city’s history of two towns (Winston and Salem) merging together.

3. Made in Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem is the birthplace of many popular companies like Krispy Kreme, Texas Pete, Hanes, and Deweys.


4. Empire State Building

The Reynolds building downtown was the model for the Empire State Building. Every year, the Empire State Building sends a Father’s Day card to the Reynolds building. The Kimpton Hotel currently occupies the first 6 floors of the building and apartments occupy the other 11.

5. Old Salem Coffee Pot

Located at the corner of Brookstown and Main St., the Old Salem Coffee Pot was built-in in 1858 by Moravian tinsmith brothers Julius and Samuel Mickey to promote their shop. The Old Salem Coffee Pot, previously called the Mickey Coffee Pot, is 7 feet tall and can hold up to 740 gallons, or about 11,840 cups of brew. However, it was never used to actually hold coffee. You will find various “smaller” pots throughout town.


6. God’s Acre

God’s Acre is the name Moravian congregations give their church cemeteries. The largest one can be found in Winston-Salem. It is about 40 acres in size and is located 100 yards north of Home Moravian Church and Salem Square. Every year an Easter Sunrise service is held and it is the oldest and largest consecutively held Easter sunrise service in the world (249 years). During 2020 and 2021, the service was held online but still happened.

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