Introduction to Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Winston-Salem is the county seat for Forsyth County. Located in the Piedmont Triad, a region of North Carolina which also includes the cities of Greensboro and High Point, Winston-Salem is situated about 100 miles west of the state capital of Raleigh and about 80 miles northeast of the city of Charlotte. Interstate I-40 runs adjacent to the city, which is also serviced by U.S. Routes 52 and 421; and North Carolina State Highway 8. Winston-Salem is home to Wake Forest University, as well as Winston-Salem State University and Salem College.
Founded in 1766, the town of Salem began as a congregational site for the Moravian church and soon evolved into an active trading center and haven for entrepreneurs. In 1849 the town of Winston was founded, named in honor of a local Revolutionary War hero, Joseph Winston. Both towns thrived as dual elements of the newly created Forsyth County and established prominence in the tobacco, furniture and textile industries. In 1851 Winston was designated as the county seat and plans were already underway to eventually connect the cities of Winston and Salem. A notable business event occurred in 1874 when Richard Joshua Reynolds established one of the world's largest tobacco firms in Winston-Salem. Since that time, the Reynolds family, proprietors of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, have played a large role in the city's history. During the twentieth century, other notable businesses got their start in Winston-Salem, including Krispy Kreme, which opened its first doughnut shop there in 1937; and Piedmont Airlines, which was officially formed in 1948.
Art and Culture in Winston-Salem
Winston-Salem is replete with historical attractions. Reynolda Village, which includes Reynolda Gardens and the Reynolda House Museum of American Art, is a good example. The museum is housed in the former home of tobacco baron R.J. Reynolds. Built in the early twentieth century, the structure contains one of the premiere public collections of American art in the South. The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) is dedicated to the original decorative arts of America's early South. Featured are the paintings, textiles, and furniture made and used in regional southern states up until the early 19th century. The Old Salem Children's Museum is geared towards visitors under the age of ten and features a child-size early-Salem house, a secret tunnel, and old costumes which children can try on.
Winston-Salem is also renowned for its local art schools and art-related attractions. Performance arts venues include the Piedmont Opera Theater, the Stevens Center for the Performing Arts, the Winston-Salem Symphony, and the Little Theatre of Winston-Salem. The city boasts many galleries in the city's art district and plays host to the RiverRun Film Festival and the National Black Theatre Festival. The 1.4 million-acre Yadkin Valley, located just west of Winston-Salem, is home to numerous vineyards and wineries and was approved as the state's first American Viticultural Area (AVA).
Sports attractions in Winston-Salem include a minor league professional baseball team. The Winston-Salem Warthogs are a Class High-A team playing in the Carolina League and have been an affiliate of the Chicago White Sox since 1997. Collegiate sports can be found at Wake Forest University, a member of the prestigious Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The University's basketball teams, known as the "Demon Deacons," have been particularly successful, frequently being nationally ranked.