Virginia State Seal

Virginia Department of Historic Resources

129-0075 Downtown Salem Historic District

Downtown Salem Historic District
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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 03/20/1996

NRHP Listing Date 06/05/1996

NPS property number 96000591

Salem’s historic district embraces the core of the present-day city. Within this twenty-five-acre area is the town’s original platted grid, laid out in 1802 along the Great Road by James Simpson. The town’s designation as the Roanoke county seat in 1838 spurred development. The community gained prestige when Virginia Collegiate Institute, later named Roanoke College, located here in the 1840s. Salem escaped the Civil War with minimal damage. Today the district possesses a varied concentration of buildings ranging in date from the early 1800s to the mid-1900s. It is characterized by its mixed-use commercial buildings as well as churches, the courthouse, post office, and library. Prosperity is reflected in the fine quality of many individual buildings. The rapid emergence of neighboring Roanoke facilitated Salem’s measured growth and the resulting preservation of its historic character.


Abbreviations:
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Updated April 4, 2018