Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Fort New Salem

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Institution Name: Salem International University
Original/Historic Place Name: varied
Location on Campus: K.D. Hurley Blvd.
Date(s) of Construction:
1973original construction Randolph, John Bond, John
Designer: John Randolph, John Bond
Type of Place: Landscape site
Style: (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, education, history, landscape
Narrative: see below
References: see below
ca. 1973-present (2006)museum (living history museum and educational center)

Fort New Salem is a collection of relocated log structures (homes, barns, tavern, blockhouse) representing a frontier settlement of early nineteenth century North-Central West Virginia. The original Salem community was settled in 1792 by a group of Seventh Day Baptist families from Shrewsbury, New Jersey. The Green Tree Tavern was moved from nearby Clarksburg, West Virginia. It was one of the first in the area to accommodate stagecoach travelers.

Fort New Salem began as classroom project and grew into a Heritage Arts and museum studies program designed to help preserve the arts, lore, and music of the West Virginia mountains. It was dedicated as a Museum of Appalachian Heritage in 1974. As the public gained knowledge of the project, other buildings were offered to the college. Using the logs from those structures found around the area, buildings were reconstructed to represent the variety of buildings that might be found in an early frontier settlement fort. The Fort's plaque indicates it was "dedicated to the settlement families of West Virginia, whose way of life has become the hallmark of our heritage. Salem College, June 20, 1974."

Over time, the Fort has become a living museum, with programs and activities offering a picture of the lives and traditions of the people of North Central Western Virginia from 1790 to 1830. The buildings include a blockhouse, a meetinghouse, a tin shop, a blacksmith house, a wood shop, a basket shop, a print shop, a store house/country store, a weaving classroom, a kitchen, and a farmhouse. Through school tours, summer programs, concerts and festivals, and interpretive programming, the Fort and its staff present living examples of life in earlier times.

The University also offers a Master's of Education in Appalachian Studies, for which the Fort is a focal point.


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Council of Independent Colleges
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Last update: November 2006