Clio Logo
Old Salem Walking Tour (Winston-Salem, NC)
Item 4 of 8
Completed in 1769, the Single Brothers' House was the first institutional building in Old Salem. The Single Brothers, a group of unmarried men from the local Moravian church, lived and worked within the house. Further construction expanded the building in 1886; the completed building held a dining hall, sleeping quarters, a prayer room, and a meeting room, along with several workspaces. Today, the Single Brothers' House is open to the public as a museum and also houses The Old Salem Museums and Gardens Administration Offices.

The Single Brothers' House in Old Salem

The Single Brothers' House in Old Salem

Construction began on The Single Brothers' House even before the town of Salem (now part of Winston-Salem) had been officially settled by the Moravian congregation. "Old Salem" was originally founded by the Moravian settlers in 1766. Salem, known at the time as Wachovia, was designed to be the religious, cultural, and industrial hub of four other surrounding Moravian settlements spanning over 98,000 acres. All land was owned by the church to be leased for construction to church members. The single men of the group, ages 14 and up, unless they were sent to school in Pennsylvania, lived in the Single Brothers' House and learned a trade. Nine craft shops for potters, tailors, woodworkers, shoemakers, joiners, gunners, spinners, and tinsmiths could be found on the bottom floor of the house; on the second floor, experienced craftsmen slept; the apprentices slept on the third floor. The house also contained a dining hall, sleeping quarters, a prayer room, and a meeting room. For a time the Brothers' had a fairly thriving economic situation. However, internal problems caused the closure of the Single Brothers' Home in 1823.

The building housed The Boys' School for a short while, and eventually became apartments for the community. In 1842, the southern portion of the House housed the Moravian widows. Widows and unmarried women of the community continued to live in the building until 1961. Old Salem Inc. began restoring the building in 1961 and completed them in 1964. Today, the building is part of the Old Salem Museums and houses their administrative offices. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

North Carolina NHL Single Brothers' House, National Archive Catalog. Accessed October 8th 2020.

Single Brothers' House, City of Winston-Salem. Accessed October 8th 2020.

Our History, Home Moravian Church. Accessed September 30th 2020.

Image Sources(Click to expand)