Holly Avenue Neighborhood
Forsyth county was formed in 1849 from Stokes County. The county was named for Colonel Benjamin Forsyth, who was killed in the War of 1812.
PRIOR TO COLONIALIZATION North Carolina was the home for many Indian cultures. Town Creek Indian Mound is an example of a Mississipian-style ceremonial mound in North Carolina. In the earliest human settlements discovered so far the sites have been dated to approximately 8000 BC.
Over the years the culture changed from a hunter-gatherer society to one more agriculturally baset. From 1000 BC until the time of European settlement marks a time period known as the "Woodland period". Permanent villages based on settled agriculture existed throughout the state.
By about 800 AD, fortified towns appeared throughout the Piedmont region, suggesting the existence of organized tribal warfare. An important site of this late-Woodland period is the Town Creek Indian Mound. This archaeologically rich location was occupied by the Pee Dee culture of the Mississippian Tradition.
Long before English colonization Spanish explorers roamed North Carolina. One of the first attempts at settlement was at Jamestown. Hernando de Soto later explorered the Appalachians looking for gold and treasure. One of the later attempts at colonization was when Juan Pardo explored the Catawba valley and the mountains of North Carolina. Pardo and his men lived for some time with the Joara indians until the behavior of his men alienated their hosts.
The origin of the town of Salem dates back to January 1753, when Bishop August Gottlied Spangenberg, on behalf of the Moravian Church, selected a settlement site in the three forks of Muddy Creek. He called this area "die Wachau" (Latin form: Wachovia ) named after the Austrian estate of Count Nicolaus Ludwig Zinzendorf. Wachovia Bank takes its name from this area where it was founded. The land, just short of 99,000 acres was subsequently purchased from John Carteret, 2nd Earl of Granville.
On November 17, 1753, the first settlers arrived at what would later become the town of Bethabara. This town, despite its rapid growth, was not designed to be the primary settlement on the tract. Some residents expanded to a nearby settlement called Bethania in 1759. Finally, lots were drawn to select among suitable sites for the location of a new town.
The town established on the chosen site was given the name of Salem (from the Hebrew word Shalom for "peace") chosen for it by the Moravians' late patron, Count Zinzendorf. On 6 January, 1766, the first tree was felled for the building of Salem. Salem was a typical Moravian settlement congregation with the public buildings of the congregation grouped around a central square, today Salem Square. These included the church, a Brethren's House and a Sisters' House for the unmarried members of the Congregation, which owned all the property in town.
For many years only members of the Moravian Church were permitted to live in the settlement. This practice had ended by the Amierican Civil War. Many of the original buildings in the settlement have been restored or rebuilt and are now part of Old Salem. Salem Square and "God's Acre", the Moravian Graveyard, since 1772 are the site each Easter morning of the world-famous Moravian sunrise service. This service, sponsored by all the Moravian church parishes in the City, attracts thousands of worshippers each year and has earned the name of "the Easter City" for Winston-Salem.
In 1849, the town of Winston was founded, named after a local hero of the Revolutionary War, Joseph Winston, who was well-known in the town of Salem. Shortly thereafter, both Winston and Salem were incorporated into the newly formed Forsyth County. It thrived as an industrial town, producing tobacco products, furniture and textiles. In 1851, Winston was designated the county seat, and, with plans to connect the cities of Winston and Salem, the county courthouse square was placed just one mile north of Salem's square.
In 1889 the U.S. Post Office joined the mail service under the name Winston-Salem. The two cities were joined officially in 1913.
Winston-Salem is the second largest municipality in the Piedmont Triad region and is home to the tallest office buildings in the region, such as 100 North Main Street. It is called the "Twin City" for its dual heritage, or "Camel City", a reference to Camel cigarattes and the city's prominent tobacco industry; some locals use "Winston" in informal speech.
THE HOLLY AVENUE HISTORIC DISTRICT
is comprised of fifty-nine acres in an approximately twelve-block area. The district is an urban residential area with narrow lots on which houses are generally located about twenty-five feet back from the street. Homes are one- and two-stories in height, while three-and four-story apartments buildings are found throughout the district. The district is bounded on the north by Fourth Street, on east by Marshall Street, on the south by Business 40 and on the west by Broad Street.
The Holly Avenue Historic District is located on the western side of downtown Winston-Salem. One the most important factors in the development of the district was the its landscape. At the heart of the district are springs which were used by the early Moravian settlers as a water source for the town of Salem which is south of the district.
Due to the importance of the springs as a water source to Salem, the Holly Avenue neighborhood was protected from development. It was only in 1903 that the “reservation” as it was called was open to be divided into lots and sold. The tract was bounded by Holly Avenue, Poplar, Spring and First Streets. On this partcel they laid out Shady Boulevard in the flood plain of the creek running from the springs and Second Street was extended from Poplar to Spring, as was Holly Avenue.
The following information was provided by Richard Startbuck
Richard W. Starbuck
457 S. Church Street
Winston-Salem, N.C. 27101
Web site: www.MoravianArchives.org
A quick search provides this answer to your September 21 question:
Originally, the entirety of downtown Winston-Salem from Seventh Street to (roughly) Interstate 40 and Peters Creek to U.S. 52 was the 3,160-acre Salem Town Lot in the much larger 100,000-acre Wachovia tract, which the Moravian Church purchased in 1753 from the Earl of Granville, the last remaining Lord Proprietor of the Carolina Colonies. The Salem Town Lot was designated for the sustentation of the Moravian church community in the center of the Town Lot -- Salem. Overseeing the financial welfare of Salem and its Town Lot was the church board known as Aufseher Collegium, also Salem Board of Trustees or today's name, Salem Congregation Central Board of Trustees. For simplicity's sake, let's call it the Board of Trustees.
For its first 90 years, from 1766 to 1856, the Salem church sold almost none of the Salem Town Lot land but instead rented dwelling lots to its members. It was a neat way of making sure that Baptists, Lutherans, and Methodists did not live in your Moravian church community. It is also why we had a separate county-seat town -- Winston -- sold to the county in 1849 by the Salem church. But in 1856 the Salem church fathers, probably seeing neighboring Winston growing and their town not, decided to lay aside the quaint concept of a church community. They asked the State Assembly to incorporate the Salem community, and on January 6, 1857, the first elections were held for mayor and commissioners of Salem. And on March 13, 1857, Salem church's Board of Trustees began selling lots to private individuals, any individuals, not just Moravians. Salem ceased to be a church community.
It was the habit of the Salem Congregation Board of Trustees (see Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, 12:6239, 13:6914, 7044) to name the streets it laid out as it sold land. That way the Board could easily describe the lots it was selling in the extensive Salem Town Lot. For years, though, Board of Trustees refused to sell or even allow construction in the large "Reservation" in Winston which held the spring, the source of water for Salem. But on January 2, 1888, Board of Trustees received a request from the Salem Congregation Board of Elders:
"A communication having been sent in to the Board of Elders from several Sunday School Superintendents and workers, looking to the organizing of a Moravian S. S. in Winston, and being by that Board fully endorsed and referred to the Board of Trustees, with the recommendation that a Chapel be built on the Reservation as soon as possible, this Board directs the Secty to make investigation as to the proper location for a Chapel, and also prepare a plan for the building with estimates as to its cost."
Since now the Reservation was to be developed, of course Board of Trustees had to give names to the streets to be cut through it, and the Board did so at its November 5, 1888, meeting:
"Mention was made that Board has met on Reservation, and viewed the ground, with a view to laying off streets around the Chapel Lot. After due consideration Board orders that Chapel Street, on north of Chapel Lot running westwardly from Poplar Street, be opened, the trees to be grubbed, and $1.00 pr cord charged for the wood, and that Poplar Street be opened southwardly, on same conditions, as far as a certain double white Oak tree."
Board of Trustees called the newly opened road "Chapel Street" at least through its January 28, 1889, meeting. Then at its June 8, 1890, meeting Board of Trustees mentions "Spring Street and Holly Avenue." It gives not one word of explanation for the change in the street name. Most likely someone pointed out that another Moravian Church board, the Provincial Elders Conference, already had a chapel in "Centerville" just south of Salem on -- you guessed it -- Chapel Street. Since it would not do to have two Chapel Streets in the Salem Town Lot, one had to give way, and the newer one did. That is the most likely explanation.
Why Holly Avenue? Board of Trustees liked naming streets after trees, so we have Chestnut, Cherry, Spruce, and Pine (which vanished). Why not Holly for the new street, and since it is in the Reservation with all its ancient trees, instead of a hard, harsh street, let's call it a soft, natural avenue. Perhaps that was the Trustees' reasoning.
Note that E.A. Vogler's 1876 map of Salem and Winston has Third Street ending at Cherry Street. That is two city blocks and a Presbyterian church away from the Reservation.
As for the first Chapel Street in the Salem Town Lot, it still exists, though the chapel itself relocated in 1912 to the more easily accessible Sprague Street and Sunnyside Avenue and became Trinity Moravian Church. Little Chapel Street forms the eastern boundary of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Though many old houses still line the street, the chapel for which it was named has long since disappeared.
I hope you can find this useful in your research for the Holly Avenue neighborhood.
Richard W. Starbuck
457 S. Church Street
Winston-Salem, N.C. 27101
Web site: www.MoravianArchives.org
For more information see: