Old Salem, North Carolina

Continuing on our desired path of history learning, we headed to Old Salem. This quaint village was founded in 1766 by the Moravians–a Protestant religious group that first organized in what is now known as the Czech Republic in the 15th century. This is our second visit to a Moravian town, the first being Lititz, PA.

The Moravians were active missionaries who established an earlier settlement in Bethlehem, PA, before settling “Wachovia” in the North Carolina backcountry in 1753. In the Wachovia Tract of nearly 100,000 acres, Salem was developed as the central administrative, spiritual, craft, and professional town surrounded by five outlying congregations.

We dined in the Tavern and it was uniquely delicious. We had beer cheese soup, a chicken pie along with a basket of delectable baked goods.

This incredible organ (1800) was constructed for Salem by David Tannenberg, a German-speaking immigrant who lived most of his life in Lititz. He had no formal training but created this masterpiece and is sited as the most important organ-builder of his time.
The Moravians have a rich and deep history with music, and certainly continued that tradition in Salem.  Some Moravians came from an area close to Dresden, and so they were leaving an area that was steeped in music by masters like Bach and Handel. As they left migrated, they brought their culture and traditions with them. Our day, here, meandering in 250 year old neighborhoods, eating traditional food and learning more about the Moravian lifestyle was a wonderful history lesson and, like most things, so worth the detour onto the road less traveled.
I have a bumper sticker on my car that states, "I BRAKE for Little Free Libraries!" As we were leaving Old Salem, I spotted this and had to stop. It was one of the prettier libraries and it matched the surrounding buildings perfectly. On the front was a note, explaining its significance. Penny’s Little Free Library "is a labor of love, conceived of and constructed by the residents here as a tribute to Penelope Niven, an acclaimed writer and biographer who died two years ago."

“No one is gone as long as someone calls their name,” wrote Carroll Leggett, one of Niven’s neighbors. I absolutely loved that sentiment and this Little Free Library.

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Cyndy Brown said...

I want that green Bowler hat and I can't believe that Darla was inside the window!!!!! What an adorable Free Library!

Karen Booth said...

I had never heard of the Moravians before your sharing. What great photos! It looks like Cyndy laid claim to the hat before me -- dang it! And I agree that the Little Free Library was a delight. What a wonderful tribute.

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