On May 13, 1913, the town of Salem and the city of Winston merged to form the new city of Winston-Salem through the election of a new unified city board.
The two municipalities that would eventually become Winston-Salem came from two strikingly different backgrounds. The town of Salem traced its lineage back to 1753, when it was established by Moravian Bishop August Spangenberg. Winston, named for Joseph Winston, was created in 1849 as the county seat for newly formed Forsyth County.
In 1879, the two towns attempted to unite through legislation passed by the General Assembly, but the use of the name of “Salem” as the city’s new name forced the citizens of Winston to withdraw their support. In years following this first attempt at unification, the local post office was renamed “Winston-Salem” to reflect the closeness of the two communities.
In 1913, a second effort was made to unite the two communities through legislation and another referendum was taken to the voters of both municipalities. This second attempt proved successful, and Winston-Salem was formed in May of that year.
May 13, 1976: A SHELL OF A BUILDING
On May 13, 1976, the iconic Shell Service Station on East Sprague Street in Winston-Salem was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Built by R.H. Burton in 1930, the station was one of eight constructed around Winston-Salem that year in an effort by the Shell Company and its local affiliate, Quality Oil, to boost marketing in North Carolina. The Sprague Street station is the only one of the eight still in existence.
The building’s design was modeled on the logo of Royal Dutch Shell Oil at the time, and the structure was built by first boxing in the interior office and then adding a wire frame in a shell shape around it. Concrete was then poured on the wire like stucco, giving the building its distinct shape. The station reflects the literalism of advertising of the era, and it is a great example of the Pop architecture that became popular around the time.
After the structure was used as a lawn mower repair shop and had fallen into disrepair, Preservation North Carolina raised funds to bring the landmark back to its original condition in the late 1970s
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