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6 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. While we aren’t history experts, we compiled a list of six facts we think every Winston-Salem resident should know.

Updated February 2024

 

1. Winston and Salem

The city of Winston-Salem is a product of the Winston and Salem post offices merging. The city officially merged in 1913.

Salem was the first existing town, founded in 1766 by the Moravians. The Moravians are acknowledged as the first Protestants, pre-dating the Lutherans by 100 years. During the holidays, you’ll notice Moravian stars hanging all around town.

Winston, named for Revolutionary War hero Major Joseph Winston, was founded later and grew during the Civil War.

 

2. Understanding the multiple names

  • Camel City – Winston-Salem is often called “Camel City” after the cigarette brand, Camel, made by the 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 has many local art schools and attractions.
  • Twin City – “Twin City” refers to the city’s history of two towns (Winston and Salem) merging.


3. Made in Winston-Salem

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

 

History Facts Winston-Salem

 

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 six floors of the building and apartments occupy the other 11 floors.


5. Old Salem Coffee Pot

Located at the corner of Brookstown and Main St., the Old Salem Coffee Pot was built 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 seven feet tall and can hold up to 740 gallons, or about 11,840 cups of brew. You will find various “smaller” pots throughout town.

 

6. God’s Acre

God’s Acre is the name Moravian congregations give their church cemeteries. Winston-Salem’s is the largest in North Carolina. 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 in God’s Acre. It is the oldest consecutively held Easter sunrise service in the United States – it’s been happening for over 250 years!

 

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