“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Winston-Salem in Forsyth County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)

Reich-Hege House Site (1830-1922)

Reich-Hege House Site (1830-1922) Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), April 23, 2021
1. Reich-Hege House Site (1830-1922) Marker
This exhibit represents the partial façade of the Reich-Hege house as it appeared in the mid-1800s. Built in 1830, the house stood until 1922. Archaeological excavations, written records, and photographic evidence have helped clarify the history of the house and its families.

Initially used as a graveyard for non-Moravians and meadow and pasture for the Tavern, by early 1800s, the Moravian Church had begun to develop this part of Salem to service a growing population. In 1830, shoemaker Emanuel Reich built a home here on Lot 101. Typical of the German-Moravian style, rooms were grouped around a central chimney, and it would have looked similar to the 1831 Eberhardt House located behind you at the corner of Main and Race streets. The Reich house had side wings (see sketch from around 1840 below); one served as Emanuel's shoe shop and the other as a residence for his aunt. As many as three adults, four children, and two apprentices lived in the small house at one time.

The Reichs sold the house in 1851 to George Hege, who owned a grist and saw mill outside of town. He and his wife Mary Catherine expanded the house,

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adding a second level and a two-story Greek Revival-style front porch (see the 1882 photo at right and detail from the 1891 "Bird's Eye View" below). Maps indicate that there were also a number of outbuildings on the property during this period, including a structure census takers called a "slave house" in 1860. Individual ownership of slaves was initially prohibited in Salem, but restrictions had been lifted by the time the Heges bought the house and at least two enslaved African Americans accompanied family on their move to Salem. (See the panel on Lewis Hege.)

George Hege, seen in the 1882 photo at right (left of the light post), lived in the house until his death in 1891, and Mary Catherine continued to live here until 1898. By 1922, the house had been replaced by the new Central School (see photo below). Following the school's closure in the 1970's, Old Salem purchased the land and cleared the lot as part of a long-range plan for archaeological study and potential reconstruction. The site was excavated in 2005-2006, and the site has been kept open for viewing so that it can continue to tell the story of the house and the people who lived here.

Footprints from the Past
The excavation of the site helped clarify how the house evolved over time. The plans above, imposed over the archaeological plan, and the outlines on the ground

Reich-Hege House Site (1830-1922) Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), April 23, 2021
2. Reich-Hege House Site (1830-1922) Marker
in front of you reflect these footprints. The tan outline shows the 1830 house; the dark red boards outline the 1850 expansion. To your left is the original cellar hole, foundation walls (1), and central chimney footing (2) of the 1830 house. The end chimney on the eastern wall (3) was added by the Heges, who converted the traditional central-chimney house into a "center hall" plan. the front door opened to a main hall (4), seen in the 1882 photo at right, which included the stairs. A back door led to the porch (5) and yard. The eastern wing of the original house (6) remained in the later period, though the door was replaced by a window. The western wing (7) was apparently absorbed into the enlarged structure.

Archaeological pieces of history
Archaeologists were able to use photos like this one from 1882 to date artifacts found during the excavation of the Reich-Hege site, like the ones shown below.

This iron, star-shaped shutter "dog" was used to keep a shutter panel open. Historically, window shutters opened and closed on hinges, like doors, to keep out cold wind or hot sun. In the photo above, some shutters are closed while others are held open by their "dogs."

This porcelain doorknob was found during the dig in this area around the front porch, and is similar to the one on the second-story porch door.

If you look closely at the photo,

Reich-Hege House Site (1830-1922) Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), April 23, 2021
3. Reich-Hege House Site (1830-1922) Marker
you can find other interesting details of life at the Hege house. Find the house plants sitting on the second-story window sill, the bird cage airing outside of the upstairs porch, and the gas lamp hanging in the center hall. Through the front door to the far end of the center hall is the open back door that led to a porch and rear yard, which had a number of outbuildings, including a privy, storage sheds, and a barn.

[Timeline:] 1820 - A mill race was constructed nearby to carry water to a mill near town (hence the name "Race" Street).
1823 - A log church was built for African American Moravians.
1830 - Shoemaker Emanuel Reich built a central-chimney home here at Lot 101 (see above).
1837 - Mill owner George Hege and his wife Mary Catherine became "non-resident members" of the Salem Congregation, but continued to live outside of town limits.
1840 - Lewis Hege was born to Rachel, an enslaved woman owned by George Hege.
1847 - Slavery restrictions in Salem ended.
1849 - Forsyth County was created, along with the courthouse town of Winston.
1851 - George Hege bought the house at Lot 101 and soon expanded it to two stories (see highlighted detail above).
1856 - The theocratic government in Salem ended.
1861 - The brick African

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Church in Salem (later called St. Philips Moravian Church) was consecrated, replacing the log church.
1865 - Freedom was announced by a Union cavalry officer at the African Church.
1922 - The Hege house was removed to make way for the Central School (pictured above).

Erected by Old Salem Museums & Gardens.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansAnthropology & ArchaeologyChurches & ReligionSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1830.
Location. 36° 5.017′ N, 80° 14.44′ W. Marker is in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in Forsyth County. Marker is at the intersection of Race Street and Church Street South, on the left when traveling west on Race Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 922 S Church St, Winston Salem NC 27101, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lewis Hege (1840-1918) (here, next to this marker); Reich-Hege Lot (1830) (a few steps from this marker); Squire's Grave (within shouting distance of this marker); Salem and the "Farmer's Railroad" (within shouting distance of this marker); The African American Graveyard (within shouting distance of this marker); Last Burials in the Parish Graveyard (within shouting distance of this marker); The Landscape South of St. Philips (within shouting distance of this marker); Emancipation in Salem (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Winston-Salem.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 28, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 28, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 329 times since then and 115 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 28, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Dec. 3, 2023