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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
Collage of Local Legacies
Miksch Tobacco Shop restored to 1771
Miksch Tobacco Shop restored to its 1771 appearance, with additions to 1785. Photo Frances Griffith / courtesy Old Salem Restoration, Winston-Salem, NC

Old Salem

In 2000, the staff and supporters of Old Salem, Inc. will celebrate the first 50 years of a monumental undertaking in historic preservation. Originally a trading center built from scratch by Moravian settlers of the 100,000-acre back-country tract they named Wachau (Wachovia), Old Salem has developed into one of the most authentic and inviting living history towns in the United States. The restoration preserved more than a town; a culture in danger of becoming forgotten was saved. Step by step, historic properties were acquired and modern intrusions removed.

Old Salem is also the home of the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, showcasing furniture, paintings, textiles, ceramics, and silver and other metal wares in 24 period rooms and six galleries. A trained staff of costumed interpreters describes and demonstrates the life and work of the Moravians. They were known for the high quality of their craftsmanship, which may be observed today as potters, carpenters, weavers, tailors, cobblers, and metalsmiths go about their trades. Hands-on tours are available for students, and a one-week program called "the Five Yesterdays" immerses school children in the life of the Moravians. Three-week sessions called "the Salem Apprentices" give teens an opportunity to learn trades by working directly with a tradesman. Museum classes in various traditional crafts are held for adults, and six Elderhostels are held yearly for seniors. Two special celebrations are held each year on the Fourth of July and in mid-December. Plans for new reconstruction and restoration are ongoing.

Originally submitted by: Melvin L. Watt, Representative (12th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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