Forsyth County Architectural Survey Update

Heather Fearnbach (Ongoing)

Beginning in 2019, Heather Fearnbach started to re-survey areas in Forsyth County outside the City of Winston-Salem. The primary focus of the new survey is on suburban development in Forsyth County between 1930 and 1970, although previously-recorded properties built before 1930 are being revisited and photographed. This is a multi-year project that began southwest of Winston-Salem. Fearnbach will progress around the city in a clockwise fashion. 


The Bethania Freedmen’s Community

Heather Fearnbach (2010)

During 2010, Fearnbach studied a group of historic resources along Bethania-Rural Hall Road known as the Bethania Freedman’s Community. The land was purchased by formerly-enslaved people in the late nineteenth century and much of it was still owned by descendants in 2010. In 2012, Fearnbach completed The Bethania Freedmen’s Community: An Architectural and Historical Context of the Bethania-Rural Hall Road Study Area.

Forsyth County Survey Report

Forsyth County Phases I, II, and III Survey Update 

Heather Fearnbach (2006-2009)

Phase I

Phase I began in 2006 with the goal of updating the 1981 survey conducted by Gwynne Taylor. Approximately 1,000 previously surveyed properties outside of Winston-Salem’s historic districts and Bethania were revisited to assess condition. During Phase I, Fearnbach found that “approximately thirty-three percent of the previously surveyed principal resources have been demolished, twelve percent have deteriorated or been altered, and fifty-four percent are intact.” Resources outside of Winston-Salem that had reached 50 years of age between 1980 and 2006 were identified for Phase II investigation.

Phase II

During Phase II (2007-2008), revisits of properties surveyed in 1980 were completed. Fearnbach analyzed the loss of historic resources since 1980, finding that losses were concentrated along transportation corridors and the edges of growing cities and towns. She recorded newly-identified sites outside of Winston-Salem, including approximately 150 properties built between 1930 and 1960. Neighborhoods and properties in Winston-Salem that post-dated 1930 and justified additional survey work were also identified. At the end of Phase II, thirty-three properties were placed on the North Carolina Study List.

Phase III

Phase III began in 2009. The goals of this phase were to document Winston-Salem’s development patterns from the 1930s through the 1960s and to survey both representative and the most significant examples of domestic, religious, commercial, and industrial buildings and subdivisions from the period. As a result of Phase III study, seventeen individual properties and ten historic districts were added to the North Carolina Study List. Phase III culminated with the publication of Winston-Salem’s Architectural Heritage by Heather Fearnbach (2015).

Complete Report from Phases I, II, and III of the Survey Update [pdf/1,894kb/pdf]


Spanning the Past: A Survey of Selected Historic Bridges in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Matisha Wiggs and Christine Chapman (2008)

A grant to the Wachovia Historical Society by the Marion Stedman Covington Foundation of Greensboro, North Carolina funded a survey of selected bridges in Winston-Salem. The City-County Planning Board administered the grant. Most of the bridges surveyed were built in the 1920s and 1930s, with all but one built before 1955. The survey includes rail, street, and park bridges.


Winston-Salem’s African-American Neighborhoods: 1870-1950

Langdon Oppermann (1994)

Funds from an anonymous donor, the State, and the City of Winston-Salem funded a comprehensive study of African-American neighborhoods and settlement patterns in Winston-Salem, and an inventory architectural resources associated with the local African-American community. In 1998, this survey of more than 2,200 African-American historic resources was developed into a National Register Multiple Property Documentation Form.


Frontier To Factory

Gwynne Stephens Taylor (1981)

Frontier to Factory
Frontier to Factory [pdf/47.94mb/269p]

Published in 1981, Frontier to Factory by Gwynne Stephens Taylor documents the 1978-1980 comprehensive survey of Forsyth County’s architectural resources. The survey included documentation of approximately 1,500 resources built before 1930 located in all parts of Forsyth County.

Revised 4/23/2019

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