A Short History of Salem, VA

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This article is presented by the sexual abuse attorneys in Salem. Discover the local history of the city of Salem and learn about some of its features.

Brief History of Salem

Salem is an independent city of the Commonwealth of Virginia. As the county seat of Roanoke County, it is home to the Roanoke County Department of Social Services and Roanoke County Sheriff's Office. The city also has its own sheriff's office and a courthouse that has no relations to the county. Based on archaeological evidence, the area that is now Salem has been inhabited by Native American tribes since 8000 B.C. In 1671, the Europeans started exploring the area and encountered the village of the Siouan-speaking Totero people nearby. Subsequently, explorers Robert Fallam and Thomas Batts named the area Totero Town. It became a small town serving travelers passing on the Great Road. In 1802, the town was officially founded. Four years later, it received its charter. The name of Salem is said to have originated from William Bryan – a prominent resident who moved from Salem, New Jersey.

In 1960, the Town of Salem was the largest town in the state of Virginia, with a population of 16,058. On December 31, 1967, it officially became a city. Salem has been the home of the following:

  • The boy's preparatory school, the Virginia Institute
  • Roanoke Women's College – Elizabeth College
  • A Class-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, the Salem Red Sox

Between 1933 and 2016, the city was also the host of the NCAA Division III Football game, the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, at the Salem Football Stadium. The NCAA has since relocated its Division III Volleyball Championship and Men's Division III Basketball Championship to the Salem Civic Cente and the Women's Division III Softball Championship to Moyer Field. In August of 2017, the stadium also hosted the annual Southwestern Virginia Educational Classic.

Continue along the journey with Discovering Short Pump, Virginia.

Roanoke College

Established in 1842 by Lutheran pastors Christopher C. Baughmann and David F. Bittle, Roanoke College was initially a boy's preparatory school known as the Virginia Institute. Located near Staunton, the school was moved to Salem in 1847. On March 14, 1853, the Virginia General Assembly gave a college charter to the school and named it Roanoke College. As of today, the college has a population of around 2,000 students, 16 academic departments, nine recognized Greek chapters and two service Greek organizations. The athletic fields and residence halls of the college are now located on the former Elizabeth College campus.

Salem Civic Center

The Salem Civic Center was built in 1967 as the Salem-Roanoke Valley Civic Center. It is part of the James E. Taliaferro Sports and Entertainment Complex that also includes the Salem Memorial Baseball Stadium and the Salem Football Stadium. In the 1980s, the county decided to no longer financially back the center, so its name was changed to Salem Civic Center. As the largest convention establishment in the Roanoke Valley, the main area has 40,000-square-feet of space and 6,820 seats. There is also an additional community center and three rooms. The civic center has held:

  • Boxing
  • Professional wrestling
  • Roadeos
  • High school basketball games
  • Concerts
  • Circuses
  • Conventions
  • Trade shows
  • Dog shows

It is currently open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The center is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

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Have you been experiencing unwanted sexual advances in work-related environments? Contact our Salem work abuse lawyers to determine the legal action you can take. We are ready to help you fight against your offender. Call our office today to schedule your free, confidential consultations.

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