Rumored to be one of only two towns in the United States to have a hyphen in its name, Winston-Salem was formed from the gradual meeting of the town of Winston and the Moravian settlement of Salem. The original Salem community is left intact in the Gettysburg-style faux community of Old Salem, and in remnants of another settlement called Bethabara. Winston-Salem's name was rent asunder by RJ Reynolds and the cigarette industry, in the naming of the Winston and Salem varieties of cigarettes which make the town dubiously famous throughout the world.

The chief employers of the town are Wake Forest University, the bank Wachovia, and RJR. It's the fifth-largest city in North Carolina, trailing Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, and Greensboro in population.

Winston-Salem has reinvigorated its downtown centers by sponsoring jazz and bluegrass concerts on Fourth Street, gallery hops, and by supporting events at its Benton Convention Center. Downtown's dotted with odd architecture like the Sawtooth Center and the late-1990s phallic Wachovia building, a cylindrical building topped with a dome.

Winston-Salem is the home of Maya Angelou.

With a population of 185,776, Winston-Salem is the 109th largest city in the United States and by and far the biggest in Forsyth County, North Carolina. It makes up for headquartering RJ Reynolds and Krispy Kreme by also being the location of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, one of the top hospitals in the Southeast. It can also lay claim to graduating songwriter Ben Folds (R.J. Reynolds High School) and ESPN anchorman Stuart Scott (who attended both Reynolds and Mount Tabor High School).

Winston-Salem's economy was highly reliant on the 'New South'-esque industries of tobacco and finance for much of the 20th century; however, both simultaneously began to crumble with the tobacco lawsuits of the late 1990's and banking titan Wachovia's sudden move to Charlotte, North Carolina. Winston-Salem has managed to survive by promoting a revival of their dormant downtown, awarding lucrative contracts to companies of all varieties, and pouring massive amounts of revenue into attracting startups in the fledgling biotechnology sector. Still, they continue to compete economically with the nearby metropolises of Greensboro and High Point.

Despite one of the more serpentine urban road layouts one might encounter, Winston-Salem's traffic flow is surprisingly free of gridlock... at least when work isn't being done on Interstate 40 or its "Business" counterpart. (Unfortunately, this isn't too often--downtown, nevertheless, remains maneuverable.) Weather is mild, though able to produce 90+ degree heat waves, foot-thick snowdrifts, and the occasional hurricane or two when it wants to. The residents are generally kind, often well-educated (and cultured, with the Winston-Salem Symphony and film festivals a regular occurrence in the Stevens Center)- what one would expect to find in a bustling Southern city. People looking for a spectacular social scene may be forced to look elsewhere, though.

Institutes of higher education in Winston-Salem include Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem State University, all-female Salem College, and Forsyth Technical Community College. High schools in Winston-Salem not mentioned above are North Forsyth High School, Parkland High School, and the Career Center. Other businesses associated with Winston-Salem include the Mayberry's restaurant chain and banking company BB&T.

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