Living in Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem, NC


The first European residents of the area settled just north of the present-day Winston-Salem in a town called Bethabara in 1753. As traditional Moravians, settlers sought to establish a town to house a church and be the center of future growth. In 1766, settlers began constructing the main town of Salem, south of their original settlement. Many buildings in this town are still standing and accessible to visitors at the Old Salem Museums and Gardens. The area was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1966. The town includes houses, a bakery, shops, a church, and the Salem Tavern, where George Washington stayed for two nights in 1791. Salem College is also a part of Old Salem.

In 1849 the Salem congregation sold land to the recently-formed Forsyth County to hold the county seat. In 1851, this area was named "Winston" after Revolutionary War hero, Joseph Winston. After decades of the two growing towns being right next to each other, the US Post office began referring to them as Winston-Salem in the 1880's. In 1899, the US Postal Service established the Winston-Salem post office in Winston, with a branch in Salem. In 1913 the the towns were officially incorporated as Winston-Salem.

Winston-Salem quickly became a burgeoning tobacco town, and by the 1880s, there were almost 40 tobacco factories in the city. R.J. Reynolds and Pleasant Hanes founded the more notable factories. Hanes later sold his factory to Reynolds and started a new textiles business. Their companies would eventually grow into Reynolds American and HanesBrands, both of which are now Fortune 500 companies. The tobacco companies imported so much French cigarette paper and Turkish tobacco that Winston-Salem was designated by the government as an official port of entry for the United States, even though the city was 200 miles inland. By 1916, Winston-Salem was the 8th largest port of entry in the country.

This growth continued through the 1920's, when Winston-Salem became the largest city between Washington D.C. and Atlanta, with a population of just under 50,000 people. In 1929, the R.J. Reynolds company built the Reynolds Building downtown. It became the tallest building south of Baltimore, Maryland at the time and was the predecessor for the Empire State Building, which was built on a much larger scale. The staff at the Empire State Building have sent Father's Day cards to the staff at the Reynolds Building to commemorate the lineage.

In addition to Reynolds American and HanesBrands, many other large companies have their corporate headquarters in Winston-Salem, including: Krispy Kreme, BB&T Bank, Lowes Foods Stores, Blue Rhino and IMG College, the nation's largest collegiate sports marketing company.

Things to do in Winston-Salem

Wake Forest University Athletics
Winston-Salem Dash 
Winston-Salem Open

Culture and History

Downtown Arts District
The Reynolda House Museum of American Art 
Old Salem Museum and Gardens 
Historic Bethabara Park 
West End Historic District
Frank L. Horton Museum Center
The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art
Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts at HanesBrands Theater


Hanes Mall
Thruway Shopping Center
Shops at Historic Reynolda Village


Salem Lake
Winston-Salem Parks and Greenways
Bailey Park
Pilot Mountain State Park
Hanging Rock State Park
Tanglewood Park
There are also many other areas around to hike, fish, or golf.


SciWorks Science Center
Children's Museum of Winston-Salem

Additionally, Winston-Salem is home to numerous highly-rated restaurants, breweries, and wineries. Many local shops can be found along 4th Street and Trade Street downtown. The city also is home to Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem State University, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and Salem College.


Winston-Salem is also close to many other cities or popular tourist locations. Listed below are other nearby cities and their distance/driving time from Winston-Salem.

Greensboro, NC: 29 miles (31 minute drive)
Charlotte, NC: 80 miles (1 hour, 15 minutes)
Durham, NC: 81 miles (1 hour, 15 minutes)
Raleigh, NC: 103 miles (1 hour, 37 minutes)
Asheville, NC: 145 miles (2 hours, 10 minutes)
Columbia, SC: 171 miles (2 hours, 31 minutes)
Greenville, SC: 176 miles (2 hours, 35 minutes)
Myrtle Beach, SC: 214 miles (3 hours, 33 minutes)
Richmond, VA: 229 miles (3 hours, 23 minutes)
Wilmington, NC: 237 miles (3 hours, 27 minutes)
Knoxville, TN: 258 miles (3 hours, 50 minutes)
Virginia Beach, VA: 280 miles (4 hours, 19 minutes)
Charleston, SC: 287 miles (4 hours, 9 minutes)
Atlanta, GA: 319 miles (4 hours, 37 minutes)
Washington, D.C.: 337 miles (4 hours, 58 minutes)

Where to Live

The Link Brookstown
The Edge Flats
Plant 64
The Gallery Lofts
Brookberry Park
Summerlin Ridge
Winston Factory Lofts
There are many additional apartments to rent in the city. Many hospital employees live in the Ardmore neighborhood behind the Medical Center and there are often houses for rent in that area.

Quick Reference

Administrative Fellowship
Eric Morris
Administrative Fellow

Phone 336-716-3034


Charlotte Westcob
Administrative Fellow

Phone 336-716-4806


Ways to Give
Last Updated: 09-28-2016
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.

© Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157. All Rights Reserved.