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Art History Research Resources: Local Architecture Resources

Research Tips

A few research tips as you start out on your projects:

  • search for your building on Google Maps
    • where is it located in Winston-Salem?  Does that indicate anything about its history or the people who likely built or used it?
    • what information can you gather from looking at the street view?
      • style, date, purpose/use
    • can you visit the site in-person?
      • the following buildings are within an easy walk of each other:
        • Old Post Office/Millennium Center
        • Nissen Building
        • R.J. Reynolds Building/Kimpton Cardinal Hotel
        • Winston Tower
        • Wachovia/Wells Fargo Building
        • Bailey Power Plant
  • is your building part of a larger organization, such as Wake Forest, Old Salem, or RJ Reynolds?
    • is there information on their website or do they have an archive you can access?
  • is there a website for the organization or building?  Does it have some basic information, such as:
    • name of the architect or firm
    • style of the building
    • date of construction
    • size, materials
  • you will be using different types of resources for your research on this project:
    • the bulk of the information needed will be found in local newspaper articles, local history resources, archival collections, and historical register application documentation
    • scholarly books and journal articles will be more useful for contextual or architectural information

A bit of local history info that may help as you research:

  • Winston and Salem were two separate towns until they merged in 1913. 
  • Salem was founded in 1766 by the Moravians and was a church-run town, while Winston was founded in 1849 and became a commercial and industrial district. 
  • Wachovia is the name for the tract of land the Moravians purchased in the 1750's and eventually included the Bethania, Bethabara, and (Old) Salem communities.  Bethania and Bethabara are just north of campus, while (Old) Salem is just south of downtown.
  • Forsyth is the county Winston-Salem is in.  

Local & National Markers & Registers

Local History Resources

Newspapers & Scholarly Articles

Winston-Salem has had several newspapers, the two most prominent are the Winston-Salem Journal and the Twin City Sentinel, which was absorbed into the Journal.  Access is available to these newspapers through microfilm and online options, depending on the year.

Additional access to these newspapers, and others published in Winston-Salem, can be found at the Forsyth County Public Library.

The New York Times is also an excellent resource for information on architects and architectural firms, and "contemporary" discussions of architecture, as well as announcements regarding groundbreakings and building rennovations.

Popular and scholarly articles on architecture can be located via the following databases, which include architectural trade journals as well as scholarly journals.  

Book Resources in ZSR Library

You will find local history resources in our book collection and in Special Collections & Archives.

Browse these call number areas to find books on architecture and local history:

F - State and local American history
F262 F7 - Forsyth County history
F264 S32 - (Old) Salem history
F264 W8 - Winston-Salem history
NA - Architecture
NA705-738 - United States architecture
NA730 N8 - Winston-Salem architecture

F call numbers are located on Reynolds 7.  N call numbers are located on Reynolds 6.  Some items may be located in our off-site storage facility.  It is no problem to request that those items be brought back to ZSR for you to check out.  Those requests should be filled within 24 hours (depending on the day of the week).  If you just need an article from a print journal that is in our off-site facility, you can request that it be scanned as a PDF and it will be emailed to you.

If you need to consult reference resources regarding architectural styles and design, here are a few options:

Local History & Architecture Books

Wake Forest University Special Collections & Archives

Our Special Collections & Archives has several collections regarding the buildings on campus.  You can search their page, but it is highly recommended that you schedule an appointment in order to view original documents, photographs, and architectural plans that may not be digitized. 

A few examples of resources in their collection: