Writers Who Read: Books About the History of Winston-Salem

Writers Who Read: Books About the History of Winston-Salem


As the world slowly returns to normal, this year’s summer vacation may still not be the same. Travel plans may be altered and trips closer to home could be on the schedule. Yet, that doesn’t mean memories and fun can’t still be made. One way to do this is by taking a staycation right here in Winston-Salem. Our city is full of historic sites to visit, whether your trip is only a day or spread out through a couple of days. To help prepare for your trip and help pick out what historic sites to see, read up on the history of Winston-Salem. This list is just a handful of books filled with facts and stories. Of course, you don’t have to be taking a staycation just to brush up on your history. These books are perfect for locals and history-fans alike.

Winston-Salem: A Twin City History by Michael Bricker

Originally separated into the two cities of Winston and Salem, the twin city has a longstanding history. Author Michael Bricker covers the history of the twin cities, starting with the founding of the Moravian settlement of Salem and the industrial town of Winston, and moves to present day. An interesting aspect to this book is that the perspectives of tobacco and textile industry works are brought in, as well as the transformation of the city after the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, the Great Depression, and the Cold War. Often these events are overlooked, but they aren’t in Bricker’s book.

Winston-Salem in Vintage Postcards by Molly Grogan Rawls

Take a step back in time and explore what Winston-Salem used to look like through vintage postcards. In 1913, Salem and Winston officially joined together as one city. Through this book, readers will get to see postcards and captions about historic landmarks, homes, and neighborhoods of these two cities as separate entities and together. In addition, Grogan Rawls brings in sites that pertain to Winston-Salem’s cultural history, including sporting events, college campuses, and more. This pictorial book is full of wonderful vintage postcards that showcase our beloved Winston-Salem. I have this book and love it! Trust me, it is a treasure.

Winston-Salem: A History by Frank Tursi

Former newspaper journalist Frank Tursi has covered many topics, including environmental and special projects. Now, he has added another special project to his portfolio, a chronological history of Winston-Salem through unique perspectives. In his book, Tursi describes the history of the development of Wachovia, the future site of Winston-Salem and the industrial haven of Winston as created by the Reynolds, Hanes, and Gray families. Along with the history, he adds in the journey of the city’s coming of age and transformation since the 1989 buyout of RJR Nabisco. Lastly, Tursi uses the perspectives of various locals throughout time to include little known facts. These voices include Marshall Kurfees, Simon Green Atkins (an educator to African Americans), Z. Smith Reynolds, F. Ross Johnson (who at one time was known as the most hated man in town), and Joe Camel. Another book that is packed full of history and a must-read for all.

Every town has a passionate history that makes it unique and interesting, Winston-Salem included. No matter what mission you are on, whether it is organizing a staycation, learning more about your hometown, or increasing your historical knowledge, these books are a great place to begin.


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