A Brief History of Winston-Salem

A Brief History of Winston-Salem

The first settlers in Forsyth County were the Moravians, a group from the Bohemia and Moravia regions of Czechoslovakia who separated them-selves from the Catholic Church in the 1400s.


Persecution resulted in a move to Germany in the 1700s and they soon began settlements in North America, first in Savannah, Georgia, then to Pennsylvania, where they established the communities of Nazareth and Bethlehem. When the British Parliament welcomed this “Ancient Protestant Episcopal Church” to its colonies, and as persecution in Germany rose, a number of Moravians moved into a newly purchased 100,000-acre region in 1753, named it Wachovia, and created their first settlements, Bethabara and Bethania.

The town of Salem began in 1766, and soon became a bustling center of religion, crafts, and trades.The town of Winston, named after a Revolutionary War hero, was founded in 1849. In 1913, Winston and Salem joined together, forming “The Dash,” and becoming an industrial force for tobacco, textiles, furniture, the arts, and innovation.

Winston-Salem’s history still resonates today and is there for you to experience. You can immerse yourself in the past, today, during visits to Old Salem Museums & Gardens, Historic Bethania, and Historic Bethabara Park.

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