National Geographic : 1970 Dec
still live here and work here, or go to jobs in Winston Salem," explained James A. Gray, Chairman of the Board of Old Salem, Inc., the nonprofit corporation that runs the historical district. "Some of our homes are restored by pri vate owners, under our control and guidance, and they live in them the year round." The presence of the Home Moravian Church on the Square, with about 1,900 members, also helps make this a living town. The Christmas Eve lovefeasts, when the church fills up four times and still must turn people away, and the annual Easter Sunrise Service, when 20,000 or 30,000 people come to God's Acre, are two examples of a program that spans all seasons. "Fires in the Fireplaces, Apples in the Bowls" A man who worries about how lively and real Old Salem seems to its visitors is Nicholas B. Bragg, the Director of Education and Interpretation. "What do you do with the Single Brothers House, the Boys School, or any of our other six walk-through buildings to convey the mood and environment of early Salem?" he asks. "The important thing is to bring action and life to the old houses. That's why we have a tinsmith making candle sconces or cookie cutters, a dyer brewing yellow dye in a pot of onion peels [page 831], a gunsmith shaping a maple stock [page 827]. That's why we have a village pump for you to work, fires in the fireplaces, apples in the bowls." Nick Bragg has no need to worry. From the 50 states and many foreign lands the visitors come-100,000 a year-and find the world of today falling away. Teacher Marjorie Corum of Kernersville, North Carolina, shepherded her fifth-graders through the town and said, "They seem to feel they are actually walking the streets in the 1700's." Joe McDonald of Columbus, Ohio, began visiting relatives in Old Salem each Christmas and became fascinated with making beeswax candles. To date he has made 2,000 for his state historical society, which uses them in historic Ohio homes. Seeking the Salem of the past, our boys seemed strongly moved by their sense of smell-right through the Dutch door of the Winkler Bakery, where Master Baker Edwin P. Hale (page 826) directs a crew of six each weekday morning in producing 125 loaves of assorted white, honey-wheat, and pumpernickel bread, plus 20 pounds of Moravian cookies, plus 25 trays of gooey brown Moravian sugar cake. But it was the small 18th-century pipe organ in the Saal, or meeting room, of the half-timbered Single Brothers House that brought the Moravians' past back most sharply for me. No syrupy triller of tunes, this instrument, but a harsh and biting enunciator of sound that bespoke iron character and faith forged in flames of persecution and death. I could see resolute John Hus's face through the smoking faggots of his funeral pyre, hear the musketry and cannonading that marked the growing wars between the Brethren and Romish forces in Bohemia and Moravia, wars that culminated in 1621 with defeat for the Unity, and 100 years of persecution. 822 Window on a simpler age frames 20th-century visitors to restored Main Street. This view from the 1769 Single Brothers House looks out on a corner of the 1771 Miksch Tobacco Shop and across the street to the hooded front of the 1800 Winkler Bakery. Some 100,000 peo ple annually visit Old Salem, whose exhibits remain open all year. To feed a multitude, lovefeast Dieners, or servers, fill coffee mugs swiftly from two-gallon tin pots kept shiny by use. The efficient team serves nearly 1,000 partakers in a few minutes. Coffee comes sugared and liberally laced with milk to help wash down brown buns. The sharing of simple meals by early Christians inspired the lovefeasts, first celebrated by the Moravians in 1727 at Herrnhut in Saxony, where the Unity had flowered after a century of persecu tion in Bohemia and Moravia.