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City of Salem, Virginia
—  City  —

Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Coordinates: 37°17′12″N 80°3′21″W / 37.28667°N 80.05583°W / 37.28667; -80.05583
Country United States
State Virginia
 - Mayor Byron R. "Randy" Foley
 - Total 14.6 sq mi (37.8138 km2)
 - Land 14.6 sq mi (37.8 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 1,075 ft (358.14 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 24,747
 - Density 1,695.0/sq mi (655.0/km2)
  U.S.Census 2000
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
FIPS code 51-70000[1]
GNIS feature ID 1498533[2]

Salem is an independent city in Virginia, USA, bordered by the city of Roanoke to the east but otherwise adjacent to Roanoke County. It is part of the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 24,747 at the 2000 census. While Salem is politically separate from Roanoke County, the Roanoke County courthouse is located there [3]; historically, Salem was the county seat of Roanoke County, however the executive government offices for the County are now located in an unincorporated section of the County. Salem and Roanoke County still share jail facilities but are otherwise politically separate. Residents of Salem do not pay taxes to Roanoke County. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Salem with Roanoke County for statistical purposes.

Roanoke College is located in the city. The NCAA Division III National Football Championship, also known as the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, as well as the Division III Men's Basketball Championship, are played there annually. Salem is also the home to a minor league baseball team, the Salem Red Sox, formerly the Salem Avalanche.



The earliest history of Salem exists as archaeological evidence of Native American tribes as far back as 8000 B.C. until the middle of the 18th century. Europeans first explored the area of Salem in 1671, when the Totero people had a village nearby. European explorers Thomas Batts and Robert Fallam gave the area its first recorded name: Totero Town, after this tribe, who supplied them with a guide to help with further exploration. Fort Lewis, named for General Andrew Lewis, of what is now Roanoke County, was constructed to the west of the town in 1752. The city's Andrew Lewis Middle School was named after the General. Salem grew as a small settlement serving travelers on the Great Wilderness Road (roughly the same path followed by US-11 and later Interstate 81 today) and was officially founded in 1802, though it received its charter in 1806. It is not known with certainty why the town was named Salem; however, the most widely accepted explanation is that Salem was named to honor William Bryan, a prominent citizen, who had moved from Salem, New Jersey. Salem was attacked twice during the American Civil War, but its Salem Flying Artillery was said to have fired the last Confederate shot at Appomattox Court House prior to the surrender of Robert E. Lee. Also, one of the city’s four elementary schools is named G.W. Carver. During segregation, this school served as the high school for African Americans in Salem.

Salem annexed South Salem in 1953 and an eastern tract in 1960, giving it a population of 16,058 and thus making it Virginia's largest town at that time. Salem officially became a city on December 31, 1967. Salem became a city to avoid the possibility of annexation into the city of Roanoke.

In education, Salem has been the home of two colleges. In 1847, the Virginia Institute, a boy's preparatory school, moved to Salem from Staunton. The institute received a college charter in 1853 and was renamed Roanoke College in honor of the Roanoke Valley. The college is located in central Salem one block north of Main Street. Roanoke Women's College, later named Elizabeth College, operated between 1912 and 1922; the college burned in late 1921 and did not reopen. Both colleges are/were Lutheran affiliated. The Elizabeth College campus is now the site of residence halls and athletic fields belonging to Roanoke College.

At present, Salem has a certain amount of regard in the athletic community. It is home to the Salem Red Sox, a Class High-A affiliate to the Boston Red Sox. The Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, the NCAA Division III Football Championship game is held at Salem Football Stadium. Salem's success in holding that event led the NCAA to also move the NCAA Men's Division III Basketball Championship and the NCAA Division III Volleyball Championship to the Salem Civic Center and the Women's NCAA Division III Softball Championship to Moyer Field. In August 2007, the Salem Football Stadium also hosted the Southwestern Virginia Educational Classic. This game is played annually in the Roanoke Valley and consists of two football teams from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The city hosts several other statewide, regional, and national sporting events at its facilities. These events are attracted by the city's hospitality, modern facilities and overall support. Salem High School, is also known for its athletic programs, particularly the football team which has won six state championships since 1996, and also the forensics team, which has won four consecutive state championships.


Salem is located at 37°17′12″N 80°3′21″W / 37.28667°N 80.05583°W / 37.28667; -80.05583 (37.286895, -80.055836)[4].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.6 square miles (37.8 km²).


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 24,747 people, 9,954 households, and 6,539 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,696.4 people per square mile (654.9/km²). There were 10,403 housing units at an average density of 713.1/sq mi (275.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.88% White, 5.88% African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.97% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.25% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.83% of the population.

There were 9,954 households out of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.9% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.3% were non-families. 29.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.84.

The age distribution is 20.9% under the age of 18, 11.7% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 24.0% from 45 to 64, and 16.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 89.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $38,997, and the median income for a family was $47,174. Males had a median income of $32,472 versus $23,193 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,091. About 4.3% of families and 6.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.0% of those under age 18 and 8.1% of those age 65 or over.

Organizations, Associations and Clubs


External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SALEM, a town and the county-seat (since 1838) of Roanoke (disambiguation)|Roanoke county, Virginia, U.S.A., on the Roanoke river, about 60 m. W. by S. of Lynchburg. Pop. (1900), 3412, including 798 negroes; (1910) 3849. It is served by the Norfolk & Western and the Virginian railways, and has electric railway connexion with Roanoke, about 6 m. E. The town is a summer resort about r000 ft. above the sea, surrounded by the Alleghany and Blue Ridge mountains. There are chalybeate and sulphur springs in the vicinity. Salem is the seat of a Lutheran Orphan Home (1888), of the Baptist Orphanage of Virginia (1892) and of Roanoke College (co-educational; Lutheran; chartered, 1853). The town is in a dairying, agricultural and fruit-growing region. The Roanoke river provides water-power. The water supply is obtained from a spring within the town limits, from which there flows about 576,000 gallons a day, and from an artesian well. This part of Roanoke county was granted in 1767 to General Andrew Lewis, to whom there is a monument in East Hill Cemetery, where he is buried. Salem, laid out in 1802, was incorporated as a town in 1813.

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