The West Salem Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [‡]
The West Salem Historic District is located southwest of Winston-Salem's city center and immediately west of the museum village of Old Salem. The West Salem Historic District is roughly bounded by Business 40 (formerly Interstate 40) to the north; Beaumont Street, Granville Drive, and Hutton Street on the west; Poplar Street on the east; and Salem Avenue, Walnut Street, and Shober Street on the south. The topography of the area rises from the creek bed of Tanners Run on its eastern edge and peaks between Broad Street and Granville Drive then slopes downward to the north, south and west, towards Peter's Creek and Peter's Creek Parkway. The West Salem Historic District is fairly large, consisting of more than 600 properties and extending approximately eight blocks in length and about five blocks in width. The West Salem Historic District boundary is irregularly shaped and was determined by the loss of integrity of historic development to the northwest, the severing of the district from a larger historic residential development north of the boundary by the mid-twentieth century construction of Interstate 40 (now Business 40), the c.1965 construction of Peter's Creek Parkway at the district's western edge; and concentrations of late 1950s-1960s development south of the district.
The West Salem Historic District developed over a long period of time from the late eighteenth century through the post-World War II period and reflects those several phases in its street pattern and building lot plats. Streets such as Walnut Street, Broad Street, and Academy Street exhibit curves and slight bends that are the remnants of their eighteenth century associations. Walnut Street, for example, began as Tavern Lane, a small path that led from Salem Tavern to the Stockburger Farm in the Salem outlots. Broad Street was originally two separate streets coming southward from Winston to Bank Street and Ash Street, which paralleled Poplar Street and Mulberry Street between West Street and Salem Avenue (Mill Street).
The street patterns in the Mulberry/Laurel/Green area, in the south central part of the West Salem Historic District, are the most regular in the neighborhood and are a classic grid. The building lots in this area are the smallest. Elsewhere in the West Salem Historic District, there is less rigid organization to the street patterns with small grid sections set at an angle. The topography explains this arrangement. Small valleys or ravines near the western end of Academy Street, at Apple Street, and at Montgomery/Hutton streets made angling the grid the easiest way to create the maximum buildable lots. Despite these shifts, building lot size is fairly regular throughout. Although the lots in most of the neighborhood are generally deeper than those found in the Mulberry/Laurel/Green section, there is a great degree of unity throughout the West Salem Historic District since relatively small lots, narrow distances between houses, and narrow setbacks from the street are typical. One other important design feature in the neighborhood is the Granville Place development, which was platted in 1914. In this plat, which originally included most of the southwestern quadrant of the district, the southern end of Granville Drive curves with the topography as it makes the rounded southwestern corner of Granville Park and turns into Walnut Street.
The park, which is located on the block bounded by Granville Drive, Washington Street, Green Street, and West Street was heavily wooded during its early history and retains a good amount of wooded land. A gazebo, stone culverts, and stone bridges were constructed by the WPA, while a late-twentieth century picnic shelter, parking lot, and tennis courts are located in the northwestern quadrant. Parks are common features in early twentieth century suburban design and Granville Park along with the primary artery of Granville Drive are important features in the Granville Place subdivision. The propensity for parks or green space as a design feature during this period is evident in the triangular median park located at the intersection of Granville Drive and Bank Street. This small green space is similar to the ornamental medians found in other early twentieth century neighborhoods such as Ardmore [see Ardmore Historic District].
Christ Moravian Church, which sits at the highest point in the neighborhood, occupies an entire block giving it a park-like setting that is also important to West Salem's character. Another landscape feature are stone retaining walls at the yard/sidewalk intersection. Usually spanning only the width of each house's yard, the walls are constructed of a variety of materials: concrete, concrete block, and random-laid stone. They tend to be relatively low, although the 700 block of South Broad Street has several walls that are over three feet in height. Due to the undulating topography, these walls served a practical purpose, but were attractively designed and similar to those found in Winston-Salem's other early twentieth century suburbs. The walls are also found extensively on the south side of Hutton Street. The West Salem Historic District is overwhelmingly residential, but has an unusually large collection of historic commercial buildings. There are also three churches, a small college, and a historic park. Industrial development was located at the northeast and southeast edges of the district historically and some of these industrial buildings are still extant. Indera Mill (National Register, 1999), for example, is an early twentieth century textile mill located adjacent to the district's northeast corner. Within the West Salem Historic District there is a historic Coca-cola Bottling Plant and a freight terminal near the southeastern corner.
The residential architecture of the West Salem Historic District is primarily modestly-sized buildings being one, one-and-a-half, and occasionally two stories in height. Although there are brick and even stone houses in the district, the majority are of frame construction with original weatherboard, German, and wood shingle siding. Replacement siding includes asbestos shingles, aluminum, or vinyl siding.
The early-nineteenth century architecture of West Salem is primarily vernacular in expression. There are only a few examples. One of these, the Ackerman-Reich House (c.1843) at 608 Poplar Street, is a two-story, two-bay, side-gable, frame house with brick nagging, boxed cornice, and six-over-six windows.
More substantial in number, however, are late-nineteenth century houses featuring Queen Anne or Italianate influences. An excellent example is the picturesque Pfohl House at 632 South Poplar Street. Built in 1870 this house was part of the development of West Salem as a residential expansion of the village of Salem during the mid- and late-nineteenth century. Less ornate in design are the twenty-six I-houses built from the 1880s through about 1910. Scattered on Poplar Street, Mulberry Street, Wachovia Street, and other areas, the I-houses are simple architectural forms that are often decorated with modest Queen Anne style ornament such as turned spindles and posts, sawn brackets, and decorative wood shingles. One of the best-preserved examples of this type is the Edward Powers House (c.1884) at 631 South Poplar Street. The two-story, side-gable, single-pile house has the ubiquitous rear ell and has four-over-four and six-over-six windows as well as weatherboard siding. The hip-roof porch features chamfered posts and sawn brackets and balustrade. The double-leaf entry has sidelights and a transom. A similar house is located at 618 Mulberry Street. Other I-house examples, such as that at 639 South Poplar Street (c.1885), have no sawn or turned decorations, but feature simple, Tuscan-style porch columns.
The most numerous house type in the West Salem Historic District until after 1915 is the one-story, side-gable, single-pile cottage with about forty examples. These frame dwellings were built throughout the neighborhood except in the southwestern section. They are particularly common in areas devoted to workers' housing such as on Albert Street, the 900 and 1000 block of South Broad Street, and on Wachovia Street. These workers' houses tended to have modest ornament including turned porch posts and balustrade, sawn brackets, and decorative wood shingles. The examples at 1018 and 1022 South Poplar (both c.1910), which originally housed African Americans, have turned porch posts and sawn brackets. Slightly more robust is the house at 806 Bank Street, which has a tri-gable roofline and decorative wood shingles in the gable ends.
Closely following these cottages in number are the gable ell cottages in West Salem with approximately thirty examples. Much like the single-pile cottages, gable ell cottages use a palette of modest decorative motifs. The cottage at 926 Wachovia Street (c.1900) is representative and features a hip-roof porch with turned posts and sawn brackets, six-over-six windows, and exposed purlins in the gable ends.
During the transitional period between the late-nineteenth century and the onset of the bungalow-building boom of the late 1910s and 1920s, sixteen Queen Anne cottages were built in West Salem with many in the northern section of the neighborhood. This house type refers to dwellings that are one-and-a-half-stories in height with high hip roofs. The asymmetry of more elaborate Queen Anne-style houses is found here with the use of a front-projecting bay (either rectilinear and polygonal). Front gables at the eave line or marking the porch entry are also common and heighten the asymmetrical effect. The Queen Anne Cottages typically have the same types of ornament found of the single-pile and gable ell cottages including sawnwork, turned posts or balusters, and decorative shingle work. The 1100 block of Franklin Street contains six nearly identical cottages. The house at 1115 Franklin Street is the best preserved with six-over-six windows, turned porch posts, and spindle-work brackets. Pyramidal cottages have rectangular massing rather than the asymmetry and less ornamental detail but also feature hip roofs. They, too, were built as West Salem's workers' housing. Three nearly identical examples exist in the 800 block of South Broad Street and have engaged porches, which are common among West Salem's pyramidal cottages. Virtually all the Queen Anne Cottage and pyramidal cottage examples are of frame construction with original weatherboard and German siding or replacement asbestos shingle, aluminum siding, or vinyl siding.
While popular architectural forms like those described above make up most of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century architecture in West Salem there are a handful of unusual, vernacular house forms. These include one and two-story examples of a front-gable house type. A good one-story example is found at 713 Academy Street. These houses feature sawn brackets with a unique side porch/side entry arrangement. A one-and-a-half-story example is located at 603 Mulberry Street.
Altogether, about one-third of the housing stock in the West Salem Historic District dates from the 1880-1915 period, while nearly forty percent was built between 1915 and about 1935. These later houses are overwhelmingly Craftsman Bungalows with 150 examples. Bungalows are scattered throughout West Salem, but the southwestern quadrant of the neighborhood is especially rich in examples. The 900 block of West Street maintains a good collection as does Granville Drive, Walnut Street, Hunter Avenue, and Hutton Street. The house at 941 Hutton Street is representative. This front-gable, weatherboard-sheathed house has a front-gable projection and a side-gable, wraparound porch supported by battered posts on brick piers. Exposed rafter tails, Craftsman-style, six-over-one, windows, wood shingles in the gable end, and false beams with thru-tenon detail are a few of its features.
Particularly common in West Salem are one-and-a-half-story, side-gable bungalows. The majority of these are simple in their Craftsman stylistic motifs, having knee braces and battered posts on brick piers. The house at 632 Laurel Street is a good example with weatherboard siding, four-over-one windows (vertical lights in upper sash), and an engaged porch with square posts. Other decorative features include knee braces and a gable-roof dormer.
Most of the district's bungalows are sheathed in either original weatherboards, German siding, or wood shingles or have replacement siding such as asbestos shingles, aluminum, or vinyl. There are, however, about fifteen examples of brick bungalows and one stone bungalow. The house at 615 Laurel Street is a good example. Other masonry examples include the rock-faced concrete block house at 712 South Poplar Street, while 436 Granville Drive is an excellent example of a stone bungalow. Unique in West Salem, this house features a front-gable form with beaded mortar joints on its granite exterior. Battered stone posts rest on stone piers, a stone balustrade spans the porch, and a stone window box rests on stone brackets under the front window. The house was likely built by its 1925 occupant, John Walton, a stonemason.
Although far less common than bungalows, Foursquare houses are an important part of West Salem's early twentieth century housing. In fact, Foursquares account for about three percent of the historic resources in the neighborhood. These boxy dwellings are often simply detailed, but may also display Craftsman or Colonial Revival motifs. The house at 615 Granville Drive, for example, features Craftsman influences such as square posts on brick piers, exposed rafter tails, and wood shingle siding on its upper level (weatherboard lower). In contrast, the house at 704 Walnut Street, a two-story, hip-roof, brick house has strong Colonial Revival references. Interestingly, Colonial Revival and Cape Cod houses are relatively rare in the neighborhood, but both Bungalows and Foursquares do exhibit some Colonial Revival influences.
After the Great Depression, Bungalows and Foursquare houses fell out of favor. In West Salem during the Recovery Era and into the mid-1950s, a few examples of the Period Cottage style and many examples of the Minimal Traditional style were constructed. There are also a number of Minimal Traditional houses with some Period detailing. In fact, there are 111 Minimal Traditional houses in West Salem making up nearly twenty-five percent of the extant housing stock. The largest concentration of these houses is located on Holland and Shober streets. There are also Minimal Traditional houses scattered throughout the neighborhood as infill in older sections or in areas, like Laurel Street, where there was significant development about 1920 and again about 1940.
The house at 837 Shober Street is an excellent example of West Salem's Period Cottages. Built about 1940, this side-gable, brick house features a Gothic style attic window and a round-head door. More modest in stylistic detail is the 800 Holland Street. Brick, with a side gable roof this house, which was built about 1950, has a steeply-pitched, gable-roof entry pavilion. A representative example of the Minimal Traditional style is 601 Laurel Street. It has a side-gable roof, front-gable projection, aluminum siding, and a shed-roof porch. Two other mid-century house styles that are relatively rare in West Salem are the Cape Cod house and the Ranch, with less than ten examples each.
Ranch houses in West Salem date from the late 1950s and 1960s and were followed by a new building form in the neighborhood. Unlike some of Winston-Salem's suburbs, West Salem had few multi-family residential buildings before the 1950s. In the late 1960s through the early 1980s, however, duplexes and apartment buildings began to be constructed both on vacant land and as replacements to earlier dwellings. The three duplexes in the 700 block of Washington Street are among the earliest examples dating from about 1953. These hip-roof, brick dwellings have very little stylistic detail.
One final facet to the residential resources in the West Salem Historic District is the garages and other outbuildings that are associated with many of the houses. There are approximately sixty contributing ancillary buildings in the district. These are primarily garages such as the circa 1930, single-bay, front-gable, brick garage at 950 Academy Street. Another excellent example is the single-bay, hip-roof, frame garage at 1007 Franklin Street. This building maintains its original, double-leaf wooden doors with upper lights. While frame garages are most common, brick, rock-faced concrete block, and plain concrete block construction are all represented.
Because of its early period of development, there are a number of outbuildings in West Salem that are seldom seen elsewhere in the city. One of the best examples is the one-and-a-half story, front-gable, circa 1900 outbuilding at 1010 South Poplar Street. The building has a single entry, four-light window, weatherboard siding, and exposed purlins. The original use of the resource is unknown, but it may have served as agricultural storage. The extant agricultural buildings in West Salem indicate that small numbers of livestock were kept and a modest quantity of produce was grown during the neighborhood's earliest period. This is corroborated by the 1917 Sanborn map, which shows a number of small and medium-sized outbuildings. By the 1951 Sanborn map, however, most outbuildings were, as they are today, for the purpose of housing the automobile. There are, however, two small barns still standing within the West Salem Historic District. The smaller of the two is located at 625 South Poplar Street and is a one-and-a-half-story, side-gable building with vertical wood siding and shed-roof overhang it dates to about 1900. The larger (c.1890) is found at 503 Wachovia Street; it is similar to the Poplar Street barn, but has a wide opening, a side addition, and a double-leaf bay.
In addition to residential architecture, the West Salem Historic District contains a notable collection of historic commercial buildings. There are eleven commercial buildings, many of which are clustered on Green Street at Wachovia Street and on Broad and Marshall streets at Walnut and West streets. Examples include the circa 1950 row of one-story, flat-roof, brick buildings in the 600 block of Walnut Street at Broad. Across Broad Street is a historic service station with Spanish tile roof. A second service station with Spanish influences is in the 400 block of Academy Street. At 404 West Street is an unusual Colonial Revival-style commercial building, originally a grocery, dating from about 1930. It features round-head dormers on its side-gable roof. A second cluster of one- and two-story, brick commercial buildings exist on Green Street and Wachovia Street although some of the buildings have poor integrity. Most of the buildings (c.1930 and c.1950) face Wachovia and have alterations such as mansard roofs over the storefronts and replacement siding. Perhaps the finest commercial building in West Salem, the 1931 M.D. Gantt Building (328-332 Green Street), is also located in this cluster, however. It is a brick, two-story building with stepped parapet and cast stone coping. There are cast stone keystones over the paired, six-over-six windows. The building has three, small storefronts.
The only industrial building in the West Salem Historic District is the 1930 Coca-cola Bottling plant. Typical of this company's early twentieth century plants, this building features highly decorative architecture. The beautiful brick building has a tile roof and is Mediterranean Revival in style. It is among the most architecturally significant industrial buildings in Winston-Salem.
One of the most important aspects of West Salem's character is its variety of historic resource types. The West Salem Historic District includes houses, industrial, and commercial buildings as well as three important neighborhood churches. The impressive Christ Moravian Church, in the Gothic Revival style, is the earliest, dating from 1895. It is a rare instance of a Moravian Church not using the eighteenth century Home Moravian Church as its model. A few of its features are unequal front towers (one with a pointed roof, the other with a mansard roof), a front-gable entry bay with gable truss and pointed arch windows, side entries in the towers sheltered by pointed arch hoods with trefoil-inspired gable trusses, and a sanctuary with polygonal end walls.
Nearby is the Green Street Methodist Church, a Neoclassical Revival style building built in 1921, it features a classical portico and central dome. The third church, Salem Baptist, no longer retains its historic sanctuary, but the 1917 Education Building still stands. Done in the Romanesque Revival style, this building is joined to buildings from the mid-1950s that are related to the church's day school.
In addition to the important buildings, there is also an important and rare example of a nineteenth century masonry bridge located in the 400 block of Wachovia Street. Constructed in a horseshoe shape, the arch is brick while the abutments are cut granite block. The bridge spans Tanners Run and is one of only three masonry bridges in the city.
The architecture in West Salem maintains good integrity, but there have been changes to some buildings in the district. The most common alteration is the addition of replacement siding, but replacement windows as well as replacement porch supports are found. These changes do not significantly impact the overall form of the buildings and do not substantially change the character of the district.
Looking at the integrity of the West Salem Historic District as a whole, there are eight late-twentieth century apartment buildings interrupting the neighborhood's streetscapes but these are isolated and the dense historic character of West Salem is essentially intact. West Salem is particularly noteworthy because it maintains so many buildings that represent the complex history of use in the neighborhood. The institutional, commercial, and industrial sectors of West Salem are still abundantly evident and add to our understanding of life in the neighborhood.
The neighborhood of West Salem, located to the southwest of downtown Winston-Salem and west of the museum village of Old Salem, is within the suburban development and the westward progression of the Town of Salem. West Salem, unlike most of Winston-Salem's neighborhoods has a very long history that is closely related to the late-eighteenth and nineteenth century history of Salem. Similar to nearby neighborhoods, however, West Salem also played a noteworthy role in the early twentieth century development of the newly created city of Winston-Salem. This dual role, within the growth of the Town of Salem and later the Twin City, distinguishes the West Salem Historic District from other residential areas in the city.
The development of the neighborhood is complex, but began with eighteenth century and early nineteenth century farmsteads on Salem's "outlots." With the pronounced growth in the textile industry in Salem during the late nineteenth century, modestly scaled workers housing was built in the Apple, Albert, and Wachovia streets area. This development coincided with the establishment of a middle-income residential area a few blocks southeast on Poplar Street. Growth during the late 1910s and into the 1930s followed typical suburban models with the construction of a large collection of Craftsman Bungalows. Similarly, the modest amount of new construction and expansion that came during the 1930s through the mid-1950s was often in the popular Minimal Traditional style. One of the most important aspects of the early twentieth century growth was the development of a large number of neighborhood stores. The West Salem Historic District maintains one of the best collections of historic commercial buildings in the city.
The West Salem Historic District meets National Register of Historic Places criterion for local community planning and development because of its important place in the development of the Town of Salem as well as its significant association with Winston-Salem's early-twentieth century suburban development. Despite the architectural differences between certain sections in the neighborhood, the consistent theme in West Salem's development was the increasing reliance upon the burgeoning industrial economy of Winston-Salem. The number of industrial workers of all ranks and pay scales in the historic district is extremely high and workers from Reynolds, Hanes, and most of the other major firms lived in the area.
The West Salem Historic District also meets criterion for its local architectural importance. The West Salem Historic District has a significant collection of illustrative and representative examples of architectural styles from the period of significance. As a whole, the district represents the vast variety of scale, architectural detail, and combination of architectural expression typical of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and distinctive in its ability to illustrate both workers' dwellings and the popular house forms of the suburban neighborhood. Within the West Salem Historic District are examples of mid-nineteenth century vernacular buildings illustrating the influences of the Greek Revival and Picturesque movements, but much more common are I-houses; side-gable, single-pile cottages; gable ell cottages; Queen Anne cottages; and pyramidal cottages that housed industrial workers and other lower to middle-income residents. By the 1920s, the district's architecture had followed the popular architectural tastes and turned to bungalows, especially Craftsman-style bungalows. Similarly, the 1935-1955 period featured the construction of modest Period Cottages, Cape Cods, and Minimal Traditional houses.
While, the earliest resource in the West Salem Historic District is the 1782 Stockburger Farmhouse, its current appearance reflects significant c.1900 alterations. The second oldest resource is the c.1843 Ackerman-Reich House. This two-story, side-gable, two-bay house has a side, one-and-a-half story wing with gabled dormers. The shed-roof porch is supported by square posts and shelters an entry with sidelights and transom. After 1843, development was primarily on Poplar Street until the main wave of construction began around 1865 with the significant additions made to the c.1854 Tesh-Butner-Bryant House and the 1870 construction of the Pfohl House and lasted through the 1950s. Thus, the period of significance of the West Salem Historic District is c.1865 through 1957, two years beyond the fifty-year cut-off date, as to include changes in development patterns and architectural styles after World War II through the mid-1950s. Although there are fewer resources dating from the postwar era than from earlier decades, these resources contribute to our understanding of the continued development of the neighborhood and the changes in taste and technology indicative of post World War II society.
Historical Background and Community Planning and Development Context
The town of Salem was established in 1766. The new village was designed to be the central administrative town in the 100,000 acre Wachovia tract sold to the Unitas Fratum, or Moravian congregation, by the Granville land office in 1753. The Salem town lot was more than 3,100 acres and was administered by theocratic rule (the Diacony) for nearly a century. The village was platted on a ridge between two ravines that carried tributaries of Salem Creek. This topography, particularly the eastern ravine, inhibited the growth and development of the town in that direction through the nineteenth century.
As part of the initial planning of Salem, outlots were designated to the west of the village. These outlots, which lay along the streams of Town Run and Tanners Run, became the location of many of the early industries in the village. The gentler topography in this western section made it the preferable location for development. The red tannery, brewery, and slaughterhouse were all constructed to the west of what is now Old Salem Road, near the current intersection of Academy Street and Factory Row, by 1785. Until well into the first decade of the nineteenth century these buildings marked the end Salem's town grid.
The 1805 Map of Salem, shows two roads leading from Salem's center into the area immediately west of the village. The first was Shallowford Road (now Academy Street) that led to Gottlieb Shober's paper mill. This mill was established on Peter's Creek in 1791 at the western edge of the Salem Town Lot (now marked by Peter's Creek Parkway). Shallowford Road traveled farther west to an important ford in the Yadkin River. The second road west from Salem would eventually become Walnut Street, but began as the Tavern Lane and led to the Stockburger Farm.
This farm was established by the Salem Diacony and Brother Johannes George Stockburger in 1782. The sixty-eight acre farm was intended to supply milk, meat, etc. to Salem since the village was a trade center, not an agricultural village. The farm failed as an economic venture, however, and Brother Stockburger departed in 1789. A succession of other farmers also failed to make the farm an economic success and by 1819, the land was leased to the Salem Fulling Mill (located at the southern end of the farm on Salem Creek). The farm house (510 Walnut Street) was used as the miller's residence. This house, which survives as a small section of a larger c.1900 dwelling, is believed to be the only extant eighteenth century architectural resource from the diverse development that occurred in the outlying western section of Salem. In 1816, a second outlying farm was established on land that is now bounded by Broad, Franklin, Green, and Wachovia streets by Conrad Kreuser and was owned by the Brietz family into the twentieth century.
Early views of Salem, such as the 1787 watercolor by Ludwig Gottfried von Redeken, illustrate that the section west of the village was justly viewed as the country by Salem residents into the early nineteenth century. Yet, the Kreuser farm foreshadowed the intensification of development in the area soon to be called West Salem beginning with the construction of New Street (now Factory Row) in 1819 between Town Run and Tanners Run. The first house here was built by John Ackerman in 1822 and the second was constructed in 1836. Factory Row was well developed by the mid-1850s.
The residential growth in the western section of Salem during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was accompanied by similar expansion in the northern and southern areas. The expansion was a reflection of the modest population growth that the community experienced. The population outside of the Salem Town Lot also grew and began to place economic pressure on the traditional craft monopoly system of the Moravians. Goods from outside of Wachovia were placed in advantageous competition with those of the regulated Moravian craftsman and pressure to relinquish church control heightened.
These pressures eventually led to the establishment of the Salem Cotton Manufacturing Company, the first major Moravian industrial endeavor. Intended to be a new economic generator, the mill was constructed in 1837 near the current intersection of Marshall Street and Brookstown Avenue, immediately east of the historic district. Drawn to the mill were an increasing number of "strangers" or non-Moravians. The presence of newcomers placed social stress on the tightly regulated society in Salem, which struggled to bring the mill workers in line with traditional behaviors. An outreach Sunday School was established in 1839 and grew into Elm Street Chapel by 1879. After Francis Fries established his own mill, F. & H. Fries Company, on New Shallowford Road in 1840 residential expansion increased significantly to Salem's west with construction along streets such as Wachovia. Also during the 1840s a second residential section, this time not primarily for mill workers, was begun two blocks west of Factory Row on Poplar Street. The first house on Poplar Street was constructed by Allen Ackerman about 1843 (608 South Poplar Street). Christian David Tesh built the second house there in 1854 (possibly 622 South Poplar Street with c.1865 additions).
The 1840s and 1850s were a time of transition in Salem, culminating in 1849 with the division of Stokes County into two entities: Stokes to the north and Forsyth County, which included Salem, to the south. The Town of Salem was the obvious choice as county seat. To keep the court, with its associated excesses, from being held in Salem, however, the community elders preferred to sell lands immediately north of the town for a new county seat. Thus, Winston was established in 1851. Entrepreneurs in Salem had lobbied for the county split in the hopes of gaining political power and providing additional business opportunities, but these advantages failed to materialize.
In the years immediately after the creation of Forsyth County, Salem life began to show marked signs of acculturation and secularization. German was dropped as the official church language, restrictions on slave ownership were abolished, and the church-controlled craft monopolies ended. These changes culminated in 1856 with the end of theocratic village government and the incorporation of the Town of Salem. All of these changes were driven by the desire of Salem entrepreneurs for a more open business arena.
With the onset of the Civil War and the subsequent Reconstruction, Salem's industrial progress was stymied. But, like towns across the North Carolina Piedmont, the 1880s and 1890s held a time of intense industrialization. Of greatest note during this period was the development of a strong textile industry in the state. Salem, which was the home of some of North Carolina's earliest textile endeavors, was very much a part of this early development. In 1880, after forty years of producing woolen cloth and cotton thread, F. & H. Fries built the Arista Cotton Mill about two blocks from the northeast corner of the district. This mill, complete with its own power plant, was the first in the South be lit by electricity. Arista continued to gain production capacity throughout the late nineteenth century reaching 180 looms and 15,000 yards of sheeting by 1900.
Accompanying the growth of the textile industry in Salem was the intensification of other industrial enterprises. In Salem's sister town of Winston, tobacco production began to take a foothold and many companies developed or increased their business to produce hogsheads, wagons, and other supplies necessary to the tobacco industry. William Cyrus Briggs, for example, brought the design for his cigarette-making machine to the area in 1892. With financial backing from W.F. Shaffner and others, he organized the Briggs-Shaffner Company on Cotton Street in Salem by 1897. The cigarette machine would become one of the catalysts for the enormous tobacco boom of the early twentieth century. Another example of an expanding industry is Salem Iron Works, which was developing an international market from their location at Liberty Street and New Shallowford Road by 1900.
A significant factor in the burst of industrialization in Salem and Winston was the improvement of rail service after considerable effort from local businessmen. The Northwestern North Carolina Railroad had been brought to the city in 1873 and was extended westward to North Wilkesboro by 1900. A new link to the western markets of Virginia was added with the construction of the Roanoke and Southern Railroad in 1889. A final connection to the extensive Atlantic Coast Line Railroad was made in 1910 with the construction of the Winston-Salem Southbound Railroad.
With steady growth in the industrial sector, the number of factory workers coming to Salem grew from the late-nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century. The population of Salem hovered at around 2,500 in 1880, but had reached 4,000 by the 1890 census. Additional worker's housing was constructed to the east, north, and west of Salem's industrial center during the late nineteenth century. In fact, in 1880 most of the mill workers in Arista Mill lived within six blocks of that plant. Although workers dwellings on Marshall Street and other locations have been demolished, the northern section of the West Salem Historic District retains a number of excellent examples on Wachovia Street, Albert Street, and Apple Street. The modest Queen Anne style dwelling at 1012 Apple Street for example was occupied by Enoch Jarvis, a warper at Arista Mills, in 1915. Similarly, 440 Wachovia Street is a circa 1900 I-house that was the residence of Walter Lumley, a machinist at nearby Salem Iron Works. It should be noted that Wachovia Street during this period was an important east-west corridor that was extended from New Shallowford Road before 1876. Residential development on this street began after 1890 with the Marshall Street Development Company, which was headed by J.W. Fries. 
The residential construction in the West Salem area was far more diverse than a mill village, however, housing businessmen, tradesmen, and industrial workers alike. In 1885, the Moravian Memorabilia recorded that "the new western part of the town, with its beautiful building sites, is now being rapidly laid out in streets, and being built up by those who expect to make their permanent homes there." The emphasis on the construction of "permanent homes" was part of the continued influence exerted by the Moravians. Although theocratic leadership had ended, the church sold its lands surrounding the village throughout the nineteenth century. The sale of these properties offered continued control over development. For example, the church required the erection of a "suitable home" on each lot it sold to prevent speculation.
Part of the church's effort to make West Salem a quiet suburban neighborhood was to ensure the establishment of neighborhood institutions. West Salem Chapel was constructed on Academy Street in 1893 and prayer meetings were commenced there as an outreach of the Home Moravian Church. The effort proved so successful that the large and elegant Christ Moravian Church was constructed at the corner of Green and Academy streets in 1895-1896. Earlier, in 1890, the West Salem Graded School was built to serve the newly formed population in the Mulberry and Academy streets area. A late nineteenth century photograph taken nearby, at Academy and Poplar streets, illustrates a cluster of homes with the industrial center of Salem in the background to the northeast. In fact, West, Washington, Mulberry, and Laurel streets were all built before 1891, although little development occurred on Laurel Street until the 1920s.
Other denominations followed the Moravians into West Salem creating a multi-faith neighborhood. Salem Methodist Church was organized on Poplar Street in 1903 and moved to a larger sanctuary on Green Street in 1921; becoming Green Street Methodist Church. A Baptist mission was established on Marshall Street in 1900 and the burgeoning membership built a larger facility on Broad Street (demolished) in 1917. The moral tone set by these churches was carried out in new social organizations formed in the neighborhood like the West Salem Temperance Society organized by 1894.
In 1962, West Salem native Alderman Carl Chitty remembered West Salem during the early twentieth century. "I don't believe there were more than twenty-five houses," he stated as he recalled assets like the community's fire station in the 400 block of Green Street and the community ice house (both demolished). The neighborhood did not lack in activity, however, "They used to drive cattle through here," said Chitty, "from the railroad cars to the slaughter pen (at the end of Hutton Street)." Chitty attended West Salem Graded School and remembered Laurel Street as open land used by the children as a baseball field and playground.
The infrastructure that supported residential, commercial, and industrial growth garnered much attention from the Salem Commissioners. The Town built several stone and masonry bridges on various arteries leading into Salem during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The Wachovia Street bridge (400 block) was built in 1894 and is the best preserved of the three remaining masonry bridges in Winston-Salem (including bridges on Brookstown Avenue and Academy Street). The $1,700 investment made in this bridge illustrates the importance placed on permanent roads. The use of brick and stone — materials seldom seen in Southern bridges — reiterates this emphasis.
Part of this period's infrastructure development included the construction of a spur of the Winston-Salem Southbound Railroad into the heart of the Salem industrial area in 1912. Further, citizens, as well as businessmen, began to demand improvements to roads and streets. In 1905, the West Salem populous complained about the poor quality of the streets and the lack of sidewalks; brick sidewalks were installed in some blocks in 1908. The streets of West Salem were still limited at this time, however, with only the northern and eastern sections of the district having streets platted and virtually no development to the southwest of Green and West streets. Although the neighborhood would continue to grow over the next four decades, Salem officially sanctioned the West Salem suburban development in 1907 when a half-square mile was added to the west and east of the original town boundaries.
By 1913, West Salem had become a growing suburban neighborhood that held close historical ties to the Town of Salem, but was firmly attached to the burgeoning industrial economy of the newly formed Twin City. The political leadership after the city's merger included men from Winston and Salem, especially the latter town's industrialists. With a combined population of 26,000, Winston-Salem grew to become the state's largest city in 1915, a title it held through 1930 with its population increasing to 48,375 people by 1920 and 75,275 by 1930 when Charlotte overtook her. Driven by the success of companies like R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the Hanes family's textile operations, and the Fries family's mills, other businesses in the city increased their employment during the 1910s and many new, smaller businesses and service industries opened their doors.
The economic prosperity and increased population were direct aids to the growth of West Salem as employees of many of these businesses took residence in this expanding neighborhood. For example, in 1915, the 600 block of Poplar Street housed a laborer at Salem Iron Works, a tobacco worker, a carpenter, a salesman at Artista Mills, the proprietor of J.C. Chambers and Son General Merchants, a superintendent at Arista Mills, a watchman at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, a carpenter, a farmer, and a machinist at Shamrock Mills. The occupation most often recorded in the 1915 city directory research for the district was that of carpenter. Even into the 1920s, carpenters and other tradesmen made up a significant portion of the employment in West Salem as economic and population increases sparked construction throughout the city. 
In West Salem, existing streets were extended and new streets were cut, significantly increasing the density of the area during the 1910s and 1920s. For example, Bank Street between Marshall and Poplar streets was built and Broad Street was pushed south two blocks to join with Ash Street to become a major north-south connector. Construction of new houses on West Salem streets resulted in a neighborhood that was well developed between Poplar and Mulberry streets by 1917. The largest area of development at this time was in the northwest of the district and included Albert Street, the 200 block of Green Street, Apple Street, and Franklin Street. These houses were primarily one-story workers dwellings, such as the excellent collection found in the 900-1000 blocks of Albert Street, but Franklin Street featured a mix of larger and smaller residences. In fact, Franklin Street, has one the largest concentrations of turn-of-the-century resources in the West Salem Historic District. It is one of the few streets appearing in the 1902 City Directory and maintains a number of circa 1900 houses.
Joining the construction in the eastern and northern areas of the West Salem Historic District, new streets were platted southwest of Green and West streets by 1917. These streets were part of an important subdivision of some of the last remaining open lands owned by the Moravians. The one hundred acre tract known as Christ Church Reservation was the largest remaining parcel of land from the original Salem Congregation holdings. Between 1914 and 1916, this tract was developed as Kunwald, named after a Moravian village in Bohemia. The name was soon changed to Granville Place in honor of Lord Granville, from whom Wachovia had been purchased. The Granville Place Plat is dated July 1914 and was prepared by J.L. Ludlow, C.E. Granville Place developed in the area near Granville School (demolished), which was built in 1914 at Granville Drive and Academy Street, and Granville Park, at Granville Drive and West Street. Little residential construction was accomplished on Granville Place's new streets until the 1920s and 1930s, however.
While the bulk of West Salem's early twentieth century development was as a white neighborhood, there were "pockets" of African American residences. One of these, bounded by Walnut Street, Broad Street, Salem Avenue, and Poplar Street, housed African American workers in dwellings that were constructed around the turn of the twentieth century. Architecturally, the houses here are much like those found on Apple and Albert streets. This area was not covered in the 1915 City Directory, but by 1925 a few of the residents of the 900 and 1000 Blocks of South Broad Street included William Couslar, a fireman at Hotel Zinzendorf; Elijah Scott, a laborer; Mary Jarrett, a laundress; and Hugh Norris, a porter.
Little is known about the history of this area, but it appears to have been developed after the 1890 death of C.P. Sides, who owned thirty-three acres of the former "Salem [Fulling] Mill tract." By 1899, thirteen acres of this tract, including the Poplar Street, Salem Avenue, and Broad Street area, were subdivided and sold to relieve debts of the estate. It has been theorized that this African American population may have stemmed from African Americans living in this vicinity by the 1890s and working at the Salem Mill, which burned in 1902.
A second African American residential area existed at the northern end of West Salem in the vicinity of Watkins Street and Granville Drive to the north of the Albert/Apple Street area, but it is now separated from the neighborhood by Business-40 and is not included in the historic district. Both the Watkins and South Poplar Street residential areas were small pocket neighborhoods that typically contained African Americans employed at locations near their residences. For example, the white, upper-class neighborhoods of West End and Washington Park had African American pockets associated with them and housed many domestic and service workers. The pockets in West Salem, unlike those near wealthier neighborhoods, were not strongly associated with service to the white families living in the neighborhood.
White residents who grew up in West Salem during the 1930s, remember African Americans working for their families on rare occasions when extra help was necessary — never on a daily basis. The idea that domestic help was generally beyond the means of most of West Salem's residents is supported by the recollections of West Salem native, Reverend William Cranford. Reverend Cranford described a working or middle class neighborhood filled with employees from most of the major industries in the city: R.J. Reynolds, Hanes, and Briggs-Shaffner as well as tradesmen, barbers, bus drivers, shop keepers, and mechanics. "I don't think it was considered the best of Winston-Salem," he stated about the neighborhood, "It wasn't Buena Vista."
There was, however, a strong sense of neighborhood in West Salem. Social life was focused on the churches. Green Street Methodist, Christ Moravian and Salem Baptist were truly neighborhood churches and served the majority of West Salem's population. Church socials were especially important events and were often held at Granville Park. Other church-sponsored activities included choirs, the Home Church Band, and Christ Moravian's Vesper Singers who gained local attention during the early 1940s with performances on WAIR radio. The open field between Laurel and Mulberry often served as the site of tent revivals. Mordecai Ham, a renowned evangelist who is said to have converted Reverend Billy Graham, was among those who conducted revivals here.
Secular entertainments were more difficult to find, but domino parties were popular. Although dominos was primarily a gentleman's game, women used the occasions to chat and serve refreshments. As might be expected in a growing neighborhood, during the early twentieth century West Salem was inhabited by many young families. The indoor pool at Granville School was a popular gathering spot for children, while the ball field on Laurel and the woods of Granville Park were places of play. In fact, West Salem during the early twentieth century was more heavily wooded than it is at present. Both Reverend Cranford and Mr. Lee recall a neighborhood with many trees and vegetable gardens behind most of the houses and ornamental plants in many yards. The woods are of note since they represented the remnants of the so-called Christ Woods or Moravian Woods — a source for early Salem timber. The woods were part of the tract subdivided by Christ Moravian Church and developed into Granville Place. 
While the schools and churches had been part of the neighborhood's earliest development, commercial activity was still concentrated on Main Street in Salem during the first fifteen years of the twentieth century. Small stores had begun to appear at the corners of Apple and Green and Wachovia and Green by 1917, but these were only modest predecessors to the more intense commercial development of the 1930s. The commercial ventures in West Salem included at least three service stations. Two, one in the 400 block of Academy Street and another at 901 South Broad Street, still survive, but a third, a seashell-shaped Shell Station, at the corner of Green and Wachovia streets has been demolished.
Small neighborhood groceries became numerous in West Salem and included Bailey's Cash Store, which began at 936 Bank Street during the early 1930s and later moved to a larger store at 514 Granville Drive. Similarly, the large M.D. Gantt Building (built 1931) housed the Quality Cash Store and Cornatzer Clothing Cleaners in 1934. The earliest extant store is the circa 1915 building located at 1016 South Poplar Street; it housed the B.O. Disher Grocery in 1925. Another early building is at 700 Green Street and dates to around 1920; it housed the Granville Grocery in 1925. Small groceries like these were supplements to the large City Market in downtown, the commercial area on Main Street, and the commercial district in the First/Green/Burke streets area near West End. Additionally, peddlers traveled throughout Winston-Salem's residential neighborhoods each Saturday morning selling butter and in-season produce.
By the 1920s, the development in West Salem became increasingly like that of many of the city's other suburban neighborhoods including modestly-sized bungalows inhabited by a wide variety of middle-income people. Meanwhile, Salem itself grew into a "place of the past" as the city of Winston-Salem formed an identity all its own.
Winston-Salem solidified its place as a major industrial center and by 1924, the city was the largest manufacturer of tobacco products in the world; the nation's largest producer of men's underwear; and the largest manufacturer of knit goods, woolen goods, and wagons in the South. Employees of nearly all these industries were represented in West Salem along with managers, businessmen, insurance agents, and clerks. In 1934, the large 900 block of Hutton Street, which was developed during the early 1920s, was representative of the neighborhood's employment. The block included: a machinist at Hanes Hosiery, a substation operator at Southern Public Utilities, two molders at Briggs-Shaffner, a policeman, a carpenter, two foremen, a life insurance agent at Pilot Life Insurance, a rate clerk at Southern Railroad, a watchman at Orinoco, a salesman at Swift & Company, a department head at Security Life and Trust, a painter, a meat seller at City Market, an employee of P.H. Hanes Knitting Company, a Justice of the Peace, a carpenter, a subforeman at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, a salesman at Standard Brands, and a mechanic at Dixie Welding Works.
The notable presence of industrial workers on Hutton Street was typical in West Salem where the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company had become the dominant employer during the 1920s and 1930s. The physical industrial presence in West Salem increased during the 1920s and 1930s. The Bahnson Company (air conditioners and tobacco plant humidifiers), the Coca-cola Bottling Company (830 South Marshall Street), and the Jones Bakery all built facilities on South Marshall Street at the eastern edge of West Salem before 1935.
Winston-Salem's primary industries, tobacco and textiles, remained viable during the Great Depression and the city was even ranked among the top thirty-five manufacturing cities in the United States in 1935; producing one-fourth of all manufactured goods in North Carolina. In fact, the preeminence of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company as the city's collective employer grew, and by 1930 over one-half of all employed African Americans in Winston-Salem held positions at the company. At a smaller scale, however, the Depression hurt many businesses including that of the successful concrete contractor, Charles S. Lee, who lived at 224 Green Street. Lee had installed most of the city's early sidewalks (c.1918-c.1930), employing as many as one hundred workers, but he lost much of his wealth during the Depression. Incidents of families losing their homes in West Salem were rare, however.
The decline in construction business was an important part of the occupational changes in Winston-Salem following the Great Depression; West Salem's residents are representative of these changes. Tradesmen were quite numerous in the neighborhood from the 1910s through the 1930s, but by the 1940s, industrial workers far out-numbered them. This trend was based on the dramatic increase in the city's industrial production and expenditures during the Recovery Era. Twelve major Winston-Salem companies, including Reynolds, Hanes Knitting, and Hanes Dyeworks, added significant space to their plants during 1936-1937 making more workers necessary. Thus, even before the large war-time contracts began to appear in the early 1940s, Winston-Salem's industry was on the increase. Despite this building by the city's industries, however, construction activity as a whole experienced a significant slump between 1929 and 1947.
During and immediately following World War II, Winston-Salem's reputation as a major center of industry drew several new companies to the area including Duplan Corporation (synthetic yams) in 1942, Bassick Company (furniture hardware) in 1944, McLean Trucking Company in 1943, and Western Electric Company in 1946. These new companies, Western Electric in particular, hired a large number of local workers. In fact, ninety percent of Western Electric's 1,600 original employees were hired locally. The company thrived and became Winston-Salem's second largest employer by the early 1970s. The occupational information for West Salem illustrates this point. Western Electric was the third largest employer in the neighborhood in 1955.
In West Salem, citywide trends towards modernization were evident by the late 1930s as improvements in roads and sidewalks were made. By this time, most of West Salem's primary arteries had been paved including Broad, Green, and Granville. Secondary streets were less consistent, with many still being dirt. Streetlights were also common on the major thoroughfares.
Ironically, West Salem began to show early signs of decline despite these improvements and even though the neighborhood had experienced a construction campaign around Granville Park that saw the erection of many one and one-and-a-half-story bungalows between 1920 and 1930. Winston-Salem's largest, fastest growing, and most popular new suburban neighborhood among the middle and upper-middle income buyers was Ardmore. Located immediately to the west of West Salem, across Peter's Creek (Peter's Creek Parkway), Ardmore seemed to carry a more fashionable tone. West Salem, with its mix of old and new houses was looked upon less favorably by home buyers and city dwellers. The houses in Ardmore tended to be larger and more ornate and were being built at an astonishing rate. In West Salem, however, many of the oldest houses dating to the mid- to late-nineteenth century had fallen into disrepair by the 1930s and tended to give an undesirable character to the neighborhood in the eyes of observers.
Despite this perception of the neighborhood, the southwestern section of West Salem continued to be the site of new construction. Period Cottage and Minimal Traditional style houses were erected on Holland and Shober streets during the late 1930s through the early 1950s. Yet, the 1960 census records showed that nearly seventy-seven percent of the then-extant houses in West Salem had been built before 1939.
At the end of World War II undeveloped areas to the west and southwest of West Salem were built with Ranch and Minimal Traditional houses, but this was modest in comparison to the extensive postwar development in Ardmore and the new suburbs developing further afield. The postwar years were a time of transition in West Salem as neighbors began to organize in an effort to stabilize their community. The West Salem Garden Club was active during 1940s and 1950s and the West Salem Civic Club was founded before 1950 by returning veterans, making it one of the oldest clubs in the city.
Old Salem, Inc. was established in 1950 and during its first fifteen years demolition and restoration within the museum village were intense. Yet, this activity failed to bring attention to the preservation of West Salem since most of the extant buildings in the neighborhood post-dated the period of early Salem development.
The income levels in West Salem, although still near the citywide average in 1960, were such that many women in the neighborhood joined the workforce. Nearly eighty of the families recorded in the 1945 and 1955 City Directories were two-income households. This trend was particularly notable in 1955. For example, George Whitaker, a mechanic at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, and his wife Maggie, an inspector at Hanes Hosiery, were living in a new house at 315 Broad Street in 1955, while Thomas Davenport, an accountant at McLean Trucking, and his wife, Walta, a cafeteria worker at Granville School, resided at 223 Green Street in a circa 1910 cottage. Among those women working at this time, industrial jobs were most common, but cafeteria/restaurant and sales clerk jobs were also notable.
West Salem continued to be a neighborhood composed primarily of owner-occupied dwellings, but duplexes and eventually apartment buildings began to appear by the mid-1950s. This trend is especially noteworthy since West Salem did not share the history of multi-family dwellings that was common in other early twentieth century neighborhoods, like Ardmore. Only two of West Salem's fourteen duplexes were built before 1950 and several historic houses were converted from single-family to multi-family use. Similarly, all of the eight apartment buildings in West Salem were built after 1960, especially in the 1970s and 1980s. Many of these buildings were built after the removal of historic, single-family residences.
The influx of people into West Salem who lacked historical family ties to the area was unsettling in a neighborhood that had maintained strong psychological links to the village of Salem and to Moravian history. Into the 1970s, many West Salem families had lived in the neighborhood for more than one generation and some traced their ancestry back to Salem itself. In 1960, the Twin City Sentinel found that "many longtime West Salem residents ...still feel they are part of Old Salem, as they were before a four-lane bypass cut them off for good in 1958."
Further cut off from Winston-Salem's downtown by the construction of Interstate 40 (now Business 40) in the late 1950s, West Salem struggled to maintain its identity. Urban renewal projects such as the South Marshall Street Redevelopment Plan changed the complexion of West Salem by introducing upscale town homes, greenways, and other features between the core of West Salem and Old Salem. Other projects that were never brought to fruition suggested that decline had become rampant in the northern section of West Salem in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1970, Alderman Chitty suggested a complete removal of buildings in the area surrounding Apple and Albert streets area; the idea was renewed in 1974.
The northern section of West Salem was the site of the important development of Piedmont Bible College by Salem Baptist Church in 1945. While residential structures were removed in the construction of the growing institution during the 1950s and 1960s, the college and the church's large day school, gave this area renewed activity. In 1962, more than 350 children attended Salem Day School and Nursery, the largest such school on the East Coast.
The combined forces of concerned neighbors, an expanding physical presence at Old Salem, and an increased recognition of the role of West Salem in Salem history have recently brought about a renewed vigor in the neighborhood.
The architecture in the West Salem Historic District is significant to the history of the westward expansion of the Town of Salem, with two notable houses from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The earliest resource in the West Salem Historic District is the 1782 Stockburger Farmhouse, but its current appearance reflects significant c.1900 alterations. The second oldest resource is the c.1843 Ackerman-Reich House. This two-story, side-gable, two-bay house has a side, one-and-a-half-story wing with gabled dormers. The shed-roof porch is supported by square posts and shelters an entry with sidelights and transom. After 1843, development was primarily on Poplar Street until the main wave of construction began around 1865 with the significant additions made to the c.1854 Tesh-Butner-Bryant House. This two-story house is only one bay wide under its front gable roof. Other features are gable returns, six-over-six, double-hung sash, weatherboard siding, a one-story, gable-roof wing and a hip-roof, wraparound porch. The reworking of the Tesh-Butner-Bryant House was closely followed in 1870 by the construction of the 1870, picturesque-style Pfohl House.
The predominance of the resources in West Salem, however, represent the architecture of Salem's, and later Winston-Salem's, late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century moderate income citizens. A mix of industrial worker's housing and suburban bungalows mark West Salem as having an unusually diverse architectural collection. The neighborhood also has excellent church designs and the continued presence of a large number of historic, neighborhood store buildings makes West Salem especially noteworthy among Winston-Salem's historic neighborhoods.
West Salem is primarily a residential neighborhood and includes a large number of single-family dwellings from the late-nineteenth century through the 1920s. Although the remnant of an eighteenth century resource and a handful of mid-nineteenth century resources exist, the primary period of development coincided with the dramatic increase in the industrial capacity of Winston and Salem at the turn of the twentieth century. Roughly thirty percent of the extant resources in the West Salem Historic District were built between 1880 through 1915 while approximately forty percent were constructed between 1915 and 1935 and about twenty-five percent have construction dates from 1935 through 1957.
With the influx of new workers for plants like the Arista Cotton Mill in Salem, many dwellings were constructed in areas near the mill. Most of these have been razed, but the West Salem Historic District's Apple, Albert, and Wachovia streets maintain an excellent collection. Like worker's housing found across North Carolina, these houses were uncomplicated in form, were usually of frame construction, and tended to have simply adorned, hip-roof porches. Rear ells or shed additions were common. The most ornate of these houses display Queen Anne inspired sawn brackets, sawn or turned balustrades, and turned porch posts. The forms exhibited by the turn-of-the-century workers' dwellings are almost evenly divided between two major types: the gable ell cottage and the one-story, single-pile dwelling. One well-preserved house is 931 Albert Street. This circa 1915 house, which was home to a white factory worker at B.F. Huntley Furniture in 1925, is the single-pile type and has two-over-two windows and a sawn balustrade. A similar house is 1007 South Broad Street. It was home to an African American laundress, Mary Jarrett, in 1925.
More complex than the side gable, single-pile cottage is the gable ell cottage. These L-plan dwellings may feature simple Queen Anne style decorative elements. Porches vary in size with some following the angled facade across its full width and others merely running along the long wing of the building. The house at 1004 Albert Street is a good example with two-over-two windows and little ornamentation. It was home to George Krites, an employee of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in 1925.
Workers housing was also pyramidal cottages and Queen Anne cottages. The latter type, with high hip roofs and front-gable projections, illustrate the complexity that a modestly-sized house could obtain. The house at 803 Academy Street (c.1910) is a good example and features a high, hip roof, weatherboard siding, a hip-roof dormer, Tuscan porch columns, and a trefoil motif attic vent. The house was occupied by a plumber, Edward Brewer, in 1915.
It should also be noted that the simpler house forms were not solely the realm of modest workers' housing. The single-pile and gable ell forms, although seldom the pyramidal form, are also found in West Salem with a higher level of stylistic detail and ornamentation. The house at 210 Green Street, for example is a well-preserved single-pile cottage that features sawn brackets and a two-light transom over a double-leaf entry. This house was home to R.W. Thomas, a livestock dealer in 1915. Similarly, the gable ell cottage at 924 Franklin Street includes such Queen Anne details as turned porch posts, an ornate, sawn balustrade, a wood shingled gable end, and a sunburst ornament in the gable. This circa 1900 house was home to Willis Shores, manager of Salem Roller Water Mills in 1902.
The latter two houses are representative of the second aspect of West Salem's architectural history. At the same time that the northern section of the neighborhood was being developed with housing for industrial workers, other areas, principally the 900 block of Franklin Street and in the Poplar and Mulberry streets area, were being built up with the larger or more ornate residences of shop keepers, managers, and similar middle-income families. Some of the earliest of these dwellings, dating primarily from 1880s, demonstrate elements of the Italianate style, while several houses from the 1880s and 1890s are simple, sparsely adorned I-houses.
One of the most architecturally elaborate dwellings in West Salem is the 1870 Pfohl House located at 632 South Poplar Street. Charles Pfohl was employed at Patterson & Company Merchants. This Picturesque house is one-and-a-half stories with a projecting, upper-level, octagonal bay. Turned porch posts, delicate sawn brackets, paired lunette upper windows, and sidelights and transom at the entry are some of the house's details. Another house with Italianate influences is found at 918 Franklin Street (c.1890). This I-house dwelling has chamfered porch posts, sawn brackets and an elaborate sawn balustrade, and drop-pendant brackets on the porch and roof eaves. It was the home of T.F. Morgan, proprietor of Morgan & Blum tinners in 1902.
Most I-houses in West Salem had ornamentation and stylistic references on a more modest scale. The Lumley House (440 Wachovia Street) is a well-preserved example of the I-houses within the district that display modest, Queen Anne-inspired ornamentation. Built about 1900, this house retains its original weatherboard siding and pressed tin roof shingles. The hip roof porch has turned posts and sawn brackets and shelters an entry featuring a two-light transom and single sidelight. Walter Lumley, a machinist at Salem Iron Works, resided here in 1915.
The Franklin Street example noted above is also illustrative of the mixed development that occurred within the district prior to about 1915. Franklin Street and Poplar Street feature a mix of workers housing at their extreme ends with larger and more ornate dwellings of the middle-income group in the intervening blocks. This dichotomy was representative of the mixed residential development in West Salem during its late-nineteenth century history. Notably, these two streets feature large concentrations of late-nineteenth century dwellings.
The complexity of dating the pre-1915 resources within the West Salem Historic District should also be understood. The lack of city directories and Sanborn mapping for much of the district until after 1915 inhibits accurate dating for many of the district's resources. The 1891 Bird's Eye View of Salem, does provide a reference, but many of the houses dated c.1900 and c.1910 in the inventory simply reflect educated guesses based on the resource's architectural appearance. Thus, these resources could fall anywhere within the c.1890 to c.1915 period. The use of Queen Anne-style ornament could suggest dates that lie closer to c.1900 since c.1910 would be a relatively late usage of that style.
As West Salem moved into its second developmental phase around 1915, however, it began to establish itself as a suburban development rather than a workers' neighborhood. This shift coincided with a marked architectural change as the bungalow came to the forefront of stylish design, especially when constructed in platted suburban developments like Granville Place. Between 1915 and 1930, a wide range of bungalows were built in West Salem. These houses are found most densely in the 200-300 blocks of Green Street and in the Granville Place development, particularly south of Wachovia Street and west of Mulberry Street.
The Craftsman Bungalows of West Salem were almost always occupied by persons in the middle-income range and they represented the extreme popularity of the bungalow. A simple, neat, and efficient dwelling, bungalows could be ornamented at a wide range of levels that allowed financial flexibility. In North Carolina, suburban developments were filled with every sort of variation of this popular house and the bungalows built in West Salem as the neighborhood expanded to its west and south were clearly a part of this trend.
Expressing ambitions to make West Salem one of Winston-Salem's most desirable suburbs, a few of these dwellings can be placed among the city's most architecturally elaborate examples of the Craftsman Bungalow style. Many of these ornate bungalows are found near Granville Park in the 600 and 700 blocks of Granville Drive and in the 900 blocks of Walnut Street. Among these, 742 Granville Drive (c.1930) stands out. This one-and-a-half-story, side gable dwelling has a double-gable dormer and pebbledash exterior stucco. The engaged porch has paired, square posts on brick piers with a brick balustrade. Among the other numerous details are very unusual tripartite and paired, double-hung sash featuring upper muntins in a chevron-like pattern. These features may be partially explained by the occupation of the original owner, W. Leroy Snyder, who was the proprietor of Snyder Lumber Company.
Far more common, are bungalows similar to those found throughout Winston-Salem in Ardmore [see Ardmore Historic District], Waughtown [see Waughtown-Belview Historic District], and Washington Park [see Washington Park Historic District]. The house at 1017 Montgomery Street is a well-preserved example. This one-story Craftsman Bungalow has a front-facing jerkinhead roof, weatherboard siding, and a hip-roof porch with square posts on brick piers. The house was home to W. Lundy Wyatt, a foreman at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in 1936. Similarly, the house at 636 Green Street represents the front-gable with front-gable projection form featuring a wraparound porch. Typical details are shingled gable ends, knee braces, and tripartite windows. The house, which was built before 1917, was occupied in 1925 by M.R. Gass, an employee of Gorrell's Warehouse.
Although much less common than Bungalows, Foursquare houses were also built in West Salem during the early twentieth century. The two-story, cube-like houses with deep, attached front porches are simple in form, but are often ornamented with subtle Craftsman references. The house at 830 South Broad Street is a good example. Built about 1920, this two-story house has the typical hip roof, but also maintains its original siding configuration with weatherboard on the lower level and wood shingles on the upper level. The house also has eight-over-one, Craftsman style windows and Craftsman-style sidelights. The hip-roof porch is supported by battered posts on wood shingled brick piers with wood shingled balustrade.
The Colonial Revival style, which is well represented in nearby early-twentieth century suburban neighborhoods like Ardmore, is very rare in West Salem with only about ten examples. The brick Salem Baptist Church Parsonage is an excellent example at 432 South Broad Street (c.1930). A similar example is 704 Walnut Street (c.1920). It, too, is a two-story, hip-roof, brick house. It has a hip-roof porch with paired square posts on brick piers, tripartite eight-over-one windows with four-over-one sidelights and a multi-light door and sidelights. The house was owned by Fred and Ruth Snyder in 1934. Colonial Revival features, like Tuscan porch columns, are also found on a few bungalows in West Salem such as the c.1920 house at 450 Green Street. The popular two-story, side-gable form, however, is nearly non-existent here with only two examples including the house at 927 West Street (c.1920), which features a gable roof hood with barrel vault on curved consoles at its entry. This house was occupied by Lolar Brandon, a carpenter in 1925. Similarly, there is only one example of the Dutch Colonial Revival Style in the district. Located at 603 Green Street, this circa 1915 house is also the earliest example of Colonial Revival in the district. It is one-and-a-half-stories with a cross-gambrel roof. Although the windows and siding are replacements, the original hip-roof porch features Tuscan columns.
The lack of the Colonial Revival style in West Salem appears to have been directly related to the image of the neighborhood. It was clear by the early 1930s, that West Salem was not Winston-Salem's premier neighborhood or even the most desirable middle-class neighborhood. Although construction of other kinds of houses, especially moderately-priced bungalows was strong during the 1920s, West Salem failed to develop a market for the Colonial Revival style, which had come to be the preferred design mode of North Carolina's well-to-do by the late 1920s.
By the late 1930s, West Salem had come to an interesting juncture in its development. The neighborhood had fallen out of fashion, but new construction had once again begun. Much like the Colonial Revival style, few examples of the Period Cottage style, which was the mainstay of Recovery Era architecture, were built in West Salem. Period Cottages tend to have brick exteriors, double-pile massing with side gable roofs. The steeply-pitched, often asymmetrical, front-gable entry pavilion is also a defining feature as are any number of the Tudor Revival inspired motifs such as round-head doors. The house located at 620 Walnut Street is one of the best examples in the neighborhood. The brick house, built about 1940, has a facade chimney with stone accents and half-timbering in the gable ends. Period Cottages can also have restrained ornamentation, taking on the more boxy massing of Minimal Traditional houses in combination with simple entry pavilions (often brick with on wood-sided house), facade chimneys, and occasionally, round-head doors. 800 Holland Street (c.1950) is a representative example. It is one-story with a side-gable roof, six-over-six, double-hung sash and a brick, entry pavilion with a steeply-pitched gable roof.
More common in West Salem, are examples of Minimal Traditional houses with Period Cottage references. The circa 1940 house at 825 Shober Street is an excellent example. This one-story, brick house has a few simple, Period Cottage motifs such as a round-head door. Across the street at 826 Shober Street, is a good example of the large numbers of Minimal Traditional houses that were built in the district in the newly developing area around Holland and Shober streets. This one-story, side-gable, brick house has six-over-six windows and a shed-roof porch.
The significance of the Minimal Traditional houses in West Salem lies in their ability to illustrate the final phase of single-family residential development in the neighborhood. These houses were built in large numbers in areas like Shober Street and Laurel Street, but they are also found scattered throughout West Salem as infill construction and in some case as replacements to earlier dwellings. The surge of construction in the neighborhood was clearly part of the postwar building boom experienced in the city, but its scale was limited by the geographical constraints of West Salem (little vacant land separated the neighborhood from adjacent neighborhoods) as well as the declining image of the area.
Thus, by the 1960s when the Ranch house gained architectural preeminence, construction in West Salem had declined to the point that only nine Ranch-style houses were built. Unlike Ardmore and Waughtown, West Salem did not experience a continued course of development. In fact, it was not until the late 1970s and early 1980s that any significant construction resumed as eight apartment buildings were constructed both on vacant land and on land cleared of historic buildings.
The second facet to the architectural significance of West Salem is its notable collection of historic commercial buildings. One of the largest collections in any of the city's neighborhoods, examples vary from two-story, brick buildings like the important 1931 Gantt Building on Green Street and the C.H. Brown & Sons Grocery at 500 Wachovia Street (c.1920) to the tiny, front-gable, weatherboard-sheathed store at 1016 South Poplar Street (c.1915). The circa 1930 J. Mock Doub Grocery at 404 West Street is a rare, one-story, side-gable Colonial Revival example, while the one-story, hip-roof Bailey's Cash Store and Hires Grocery (514-540 Granville Drive, c.1920) are more architecturally refined with knee braces and yellow brick trim as well as being extremely well-preserved. They retain some of their original double-leaf entries and storefront window transoms. Most of these buildings are in the early twentieth century Commercial Style, which is defined by the use of brick with rectangular windows and restrained ornamentation such as decorative brick sign panels and parapets. The construction of these commercial buildings indicates that the neighborhood supported its own trade activity despite a slow-down in growth. The presence of commercial buildings marks the neighborhood as different from Ardmore or Washington Park, where corner stores were relatively rare. Yet, as West Salem began to decline as a neighborhood during the 1960s, the construction of commercial buildings increased and removed historic houses and expanded the historic commercial and industrial cluster near Walnut Street, Poplar Street, and Marshall Street.
The third aspect of West Salem's architectural significance rests with the industrial and institutional buildings within the historic district. While the residential architecture is significant to the history of suburban neighborhoods during the early twentieth century and our understanding of workers housing from the 1880s through 1915, there are few houses that exhibit individual architectural significance. This is not true of the institutional and industrial buildings in West Salem. The Coca-cola Bottling Plant (1930) on South Marshall Street, is a rare and beautiful example of the Mediterranean Revival style. Although a high level of architectural finish was common among Coca-cola's early twentieth century plants, such expression was quite unusual among Winston-Salem's industrial buildings.
Winston-Salem's churches held a much higher architectural standard, with the 1895-1896 Christ Moravian Church is one of the best examples of the Late Gothic Revival style in the city. The highly ornate building punctuates the district both with its striking form and its lofty situation. The two-story, brick building has a slate roof and unequal front towers (one with pointed roof, the other with mansard). Large, polygonal bays are located immediately behind the entry towers and the Sunday School wing extends further west and features gabled, wall dormers and paired, pointed arch windows on the upper level; it terminates in a polygonal bay. The front-gable entry bay is ornamented by gable truss and pointed arch window. The side entries in towers are unusual design features and are sheltered by pointed arch hoods with trefoil-inspired gable trusses. Plans for the complex and picturesque church, a rare example of a Moravian congregation not utilizing traditional Moravian design elements, were drawn by W.S. Pfohl and the sanctuary was built by the Fogle Brothers. Although the site of Green Street Methodist Church, which was constructed in 1921, is less prominent, the church is an excellent example of the Neoclassical Revival style and maintains a good level of integrity on both its interior and exterior. The two-story, brick church is sheltered by a domed, rotunda entry with clerestory widows. Other classical elements include Tuscan columns in antis; triple, double-leaf entries with cast stone lintels, round-head upper windows; pedimented wings with pilasters, fanlights, and cast stone keystones and diamond motifs.
The architecture of West Salem paints a vivid picture of the varied development within the neighborhood. While the geographic area of West Salem is not large, it contained an industrial workers' neighborhood and a fashionable suburban residential area. Although West Salem became a middle-income suburb after 1915, the neighborhood was unable to completely move away from its earlier industrial-worker roots. The architecture in the West Salem Historic District highlights this dichotomy and illustrates the racial and financial diversity that was an important part of West Salem's character.
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‡ Sherry Jones Wyatt, West Salem Historic District, Forsyth County, NC, nomination document, 2004, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
Academy Street • Albert Street • Apple Street • Bank Street • Beaumont Street • Broad Street South • Cotton Street • Franklin Street • Granville Drive • Green Street • Holland Street • Hunter Avenue • Hutton Street • Laurel Street • Marshall Street South • Montgomery Street • Mulberry Street • Poplar Street South • Salem Avenue West • Shober Street • Spring Street South • Wachovia Street • Walnut Street • Washington Street • West Street