Winston Salem, North Carolina

Winston-Salem can be found in the state of North Carolina and in 2010, its population was just less than 230,000. Winston-Salem is part of Forsyth County as well as being its largest city and county seat. It is also North Carolina's fourth largest city and has the region's tallest building. Often called part of the "Twin Cities" or the "City of Arts" because of the dedication of the city to theater and fine arts, the city is popular with art enthusiasts.

Camel City was another name the city was called, referring to its connection with the tobacco industry. The city is one of North Carolina's most affluent communities. There are four four-year colleges as well as one two-year college that call Winston-Salem home. The city has a great deal of history and culture and because of the number of universities and colleges in the city there is great diversity and futuristic innovative thinking that prevails in the city.

A number of museums, galleries, and cultural centers offer the visitor as well as residents of Winston-Salem many choices for activities to enjoy their free time as well as learn more about the area. The metropolitan area surrounding the city has a population of 468,000.

Winston is an attractive city for both local residents as well as tourists. The city also has a bustling nightlife, various places to eat, places to see and can also offer you a great shopping experience. People of any age or any profession will surely find the city exciting and vivacious to their own liking.

Winston-Salem History

Salem was first settled in 1753 when the Moravian Church represented by Bishop August Spangenberg settled into the area of Muddy Creek, near the forks. He named the place "die Wachau" that was Latin for Wachovia. The well-known Wachovia Bank took its name from this area. The original 99,000-acre tract of land was purchased from John Carteret.

The first people to arrive settled in Bethabara and in Bethania in the late 1750s. Finally, an area was chosen as the spot to construct a new city and the name chosen was Salem from the Hebrew world for peace, "shalom". In 1766, they felled the first tree that started the first building in the new town. The area was a normal Moravian settlement with a square surrounded by public buildings and today that square is Salem Square.

There are a number of buildings that have been redone back to their original way and make up what is Old Salem, the living museum. The Easter sunrise service held each year is world famous, attracts thousands, and has helped the city become known as Easter City.

Winston was created in the year 1949. It was named for a Revolutionary War hero, Joseph Winston a resident of Salem. Following Winston's incorporation as a town, it along with Salem was incorporated into Forsyth County. Winston thrived as one of the strongest industrial towns in North Carolina. The city produced furniture, textiles and tobacco. Winston became the Forsyth County seat in 1851. Plans to unite the two cities were discussed early and because of that, the courthouse was located only one mile from the square in Salem.

The two towns officially became one in 1889 when the post office combined their offices. Winston-Salem received its hyphen in 1913 and to this day, the U.S. Post Office does not recognize the hyphenated name of the city.

Winston-Salem has a lot to thank the Reynolds Family for and specifically R.J. Reynolds from the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. In the 1940s, 60% of the workforce in Winston Salem worked for the Reynolds Tobacco company or for Hanes. Even though the city is 200 miles inland, it was given a port of entry by the federal government because of the amount of Turkish tobacco and French paper for cigarettes it imported.

In Winston-Salem today, the banking industry is strong with Wachovia being purchased in 2009 by Wells Fargo making it one of the strongest banks in the region. The Reynolds Company remains strong even though cigarettes no longer have the popularity they once did.

About Winston-Salem, North Carolina

The city has a number of historical sites including the area of Old Salem, Bethania and Bethabara. The Reynolda Village is another area of historical importance. This includes the Reynolda House Museum and the Reynolda Gardens. Other sites include Tanglewood Park golf course, Horne Creek Farm, the SciWorks facility for education and SECCA, which is the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. The major entertainment and sports venues are grouped in the Winston-Salem Entertainment Sports Complex.

SciWorks is over 25,000 square feet of space for exhibits. There is a planetarium and an outdoor park dedicated to the environment that is over 15 acres in size. There are a number of permanent exhibitions as well as temporary ones. Old Salem is a Moravian Church community that has been restored and dates back to the mid 1700s. Seventy percent of the structures are original and the area has skilled blacksmiths, cobblers, bakers, gunsmith and tinsmiths that entertain and interact with the visitors in this living museum.

Bethabara Park is where a number of Moravian immigrants settled for the first time in North Carolina. The area has a museum and places for hiking and birding. The Children's Museum of Winston-Salem has a number of children's books. Reynolda House and Reynolda Museum of American Art is a 1917 mansion that has been restored and is owned by the R.J Reynolds family.

Museums have always been an important part of the heritage in Winston-Salem. The city is referred to as "The City of Art". This is because the city was the first in the country to have an arts council that was founded back in 1949. One of the most prestigious art schools in the entire southeast is the UNC School of the Arts. A number of arts venues are found throughout the city like the Piedmont Opera Theatre, the Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance and the Sawtooth Center for the Visual Arts.

There are also festivals and annual events that fill the calendar in this vibrant city. Three famous events that take place each year are the Reynolda Film Festival, the National Black Theatre Festival and the River Run International Film Festival.

The city also has the Carolina Music Ways that organizes and focuses on the diverse music traditions in the area. The Heavy Rebel Weekender is another annual event that calls Winston-Salem home. Additionally, the Indie art and music scene is more prevalent in Winston-Salem than in other cities.

Education in the city is a priority and the Winston-Salem School system includes over 89 schools between elementary, middle and high school. There are also a number of parochial and private schools in the Winston-Salem area. The city also has a large number of higher education institutes of both four year and two year schools.

About Forsyth County, North Carolina

Forsyth County is located in the north central part of North Carolina and had a 2010 population of just more than 350,000. The county seat for Forsyth County is Winston-Salem. The county was named for a War of 1812 veteran who was killed by the name of Colonel Benjamin Forsyth. The county was formed from Stokes County in 1849.

The government center for the county is located in downtown Winston-Salem on North Chestnut Street. The first set of commissioners were give the responsibility of finding a place for future courts and public buildings so they met at Salem town hall and selected the land, laid out the design of the town and acquired the land for the town.

It is a member of the Northwest Piedmont Council of Governments. Founded in early 1906, the Forsyth Public Library is free to all residents of the county and surrounding counties. All others need to pay a small fee to use the services of the library and receive a library card. There are library programs run for adults and children. The library also has a Hispanic Outreach program.

The county is 413 square miles in size with 410 square miles of land and three square miles of water. There are a number of other North Carolina counties that touch the county limits of Forsyth including Stokes, Davidson, Guilford, Davie, Surry and Davie. Part of the region is wine country and part of Forsyth County falls within the Yadkin Valley wine region.

The county increased in size by almost 44,000 people between the 2000 census and the 2010 census. There is a population density of only 747 people for every square mile. The county has a population that is 63% white, 26% black or African American, 9% Hispanic, 1% Asian and 1% mixed.

The county like most government entities has had to cut back on expenses and has had to make cuts in jobs and therefore has added to the increase in the region's unemployment rate.