Winston-Salem’s Architectural Heritage provides a comprehensive overview of the city’s distinctive built environment. The book profiles individual resources ranging from sturdy mid-eighteenth-century dwellings to postmodern skyscrapers as well as the neighborhoods that evolved as Salem, the Moravians’ central congregation town, and Winston, to the north, grew slowly but steadily. The municipalities’ 1913 consolidation to form Winston-Salem formalized a symbiotic relationship that had been in place for many years as leaders from both communities joined forces in business endeavors, development initiatives, and infrastructure improvements.
Successes in banking, commerce, and manufacturing subsidized building construction per the designs of locally and nationally prominent architects, physically manifesting the twin city’s status as North Carolina’s largest and wealthiest metropolis in 1920.
Myriad industrial employment opportunities encouraged worker migration from rural to urban areas during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, fueling a rapid population increase that resulted in a need for new housing at all socioeconomic levels. The city limits expanded in every direction as developers planned numerous suburbs. Although Winston-Salem’s physical growth slowed during the Great Depression, manufacturing enterprises remained strong and federal and state government programs funded significant public works projects during the 1930s and early 1940s. Development almost ceased as the nation’s attention turned to supporting World War II efforts, revived following the conflict, and experienced constraints again in the early 1950s due to building materials shortages during the Korean War. Prolific postwar construction exemplified the mid-twentieth century’s progressive spirit and, in conjunction with new transportation corridors and urban renewal projects in the 1950s and 1960s, reshaped the city’s physical landscape. Beginning in 1976, federal rehabilitation tax credits incentivized historic buildings’ adaptive use, a sustainable practice that continues to rejuvenate resources, particularly downtown commercial and industrial structures. Today, within another period of exceptional development, Winston-Salem is striving to meet the challenge of growing responsibly while protecting the historic resources that impart its intrinsic character.
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