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Salem, Virginia: Its Advantages and Attractions


[Editor’s noteThis document was prepared in 1891 as a way to influence Northern investors into funding activities in Salem, Virginia. The dates, offers, and addresses are from that period .]

This text is offered on Jeffrey’s Store on Lulu. Jeff’s Store has some of the texts offered on this website, and several other historic texts, not on the website. They are offered as reprints.


THIS is a circular of information; it is not a prospectus to sell stock. The placing of the stock of the companies herein represented was accomplished with very little effort in a few weeks after their organization. The solid work of building an industrial city is now in progress, and the great success which has attended these efforts in the past year has created a widespread interest in Salem. This book is issued to answer numerous inquiries of information with respect to the advantages and attractions of Salem as a place for homes, for business, for manufacturing, and for investment. It is the desire of the companies to place before the public a statement that is both reliable and conservative, preferring rather to understate than to overestimate the advantages, progress, and prospects of the city. The matter has been necessarily condensed, and the illustrations embrace only a part of the industrial plants and a few of the handsome residences and business houses of the city. A cordial invitation is extended to all to visit Salem in order to see and examine for themselves.

A copy of this book will be sent free to any address on request.

The Salem Improvement Company
Organized Oct. 2, 1889.
Authorized Capital, – $1,000,000
Stock Issued, – 300,000

The Salem Development Company
Organized Jan 27, 1890
Authorized Capital, – $1,000,000
Stock Issued, – 300,000

The South Salem Land Company.
Organized March 8, 1890
Authorized Capital, $300,000
Stock Issued, – 250,000
Reserved for Manufactories, – $50,000

Maps of the properties and financial statements of their companies, maps of Salem, copies of this book, and further information will be furnished free on request.

Salem, Virginia

Natural Resources of Southwest Virginia.

THE natural resources of the southwestern part of Virginia are varied, extensive, and practically inexhaustible. No other section of our country at present offers so many inducements to capital and immigration. The climate is generally mild and equable. The soil in the main is unusually fertile. The valleys readily yield large crops of all the cereal grains, and the mountain lands, producing blue grass spontaneously, are especially adapted to the raising of stock. The soil is adapted to the growing of fruits, especially apples, peaches. pears, cherries and grapes, and in Roanoke and Botetourt Counties are many canning factories. The country is capable of supporting more than ten times its present population. Southwest Virginia is traversed by the Appalachian System of mountains. Its numerous streams–the Roanoke River, New River, Clinch River, and their tributaries-afford ample drainage and water power. Timber is abundant, and there are immense forests of oak, poplar. pine. beech, hickory, cherry and walnut.

But the mineral wealth of Southwest Virginia is its most noteworthy and promising feature. In the Blue Ridge plateau, including the Counties of Floyd, Carroll and Grayson, are found iron, copper. silver and gold bearing quartz. The copper ore is destined to be extensively worked. Vast deposits of iron flank the western base of the Blue Ridge in Roanoke and other counties. Glass sand is abundant in this region. The great Valley of Virginia extends through the Counties of Botetourt, Roanoke, Montgomery, Pulaski, Wythe, Smyth and Washington. Throughout this whole extent it is underlaid with limestone suitable for building, fluxing and agricultural purposes. Iron ore in immense quantities is found in the hills and mountain slopes. Marble, sandstone, barytes and brick and pottery clays are in abundance. In Montgomery and Pulaski Counties beds of semi-anthracite coal cover an extent of about 100 square miles. In Pulaski and Wythe Counties are large deposits of lead and zinc ores, which are being extensively worked, and in the same section are found the iron ores of the famous Cripple Creek District. In Smyth and Washington Counties salt and gypsum exist in abundance. In the Counties of Tazewell, Buchanan, Dickinson and Wise, the great Appalachian Coal Basin covels an area of more than 1,000 square miles. This coal, which is semi-bituminous, lies in immense veins, and is unsurpassed for coking, steam and domestic uses. It is remarkably high in fixed carbon, and low in ash and sulphur, and therefore admirably adapted to metallurgical purposes. Hitherto the working of this immense coal field has been chiefly confined to the Flat Top Region in Tazewell and adjacent counties. The total shipment of coal and coke from this region for the year 1890 was 2,478,886 tons. The output is being constantly and rapidly increased, as there is a growing demand for this coal and coke throughout the country.

Writing in the Century Magazine, so long ago as 1874 Edward King says of Southwest Virginia: “The wealth of this region is by no means developed yet. Southwest Virginia proper, which remained so long unexplored, after the Valley and the Potomac shores had been carefully studied, has a grand future. As a field for immigrants who have capital and intelligence, for the better class of large farmers, and for workers in metal, it cannot be surpassed. It is an empire in itself, with every resource conceivable.***

President Harrison on Southwest Virginia

On his recent tour President Harrison traveled by day-light through Southwest Virginia, from Lynchburg by way of Salem to Bristol, on the Tennessee line, where he spoke as follows:

“My Fellow Citizens: I have found not only pleasure, but instruction in riding to-day through the portion of the State of Virginia that is feeling in a very striking way the impulse of new development. It is extremely gratifying to notice that those hidden sources of wealth which were so long unobserved and so long unused are now being found, and that these regions, once so retired, occupied by pastoral people, having difficult access to the center of population, are now being rapidly transformed into busy manufacturing and commercial centers. In the early settlement of this country emigrants poured over the Alleghanies and Blue Ridge like waters over an obstructing ledge, seeking the fertile and attractive farm regions of the great West. They passed unobserved these marvelous hidden stores of wealth which are now being brought into use.

“Having filled those great basins of the West, they are now turning back to Virginia and West Virginia and Tennessee to bring about the full development and production for which time is ripe and which will surprise the world. It has not been long since every implement of iron, domestic, agricultural and mechanical, was made for you in other States. The iron point of the wooden mold board plow, with which the early farmers here turned the soil, came from di#ant States. But now Virginia and Tennessee are stirring their energies to participate in a large degree in mechanical productions and in the great awakening of American commerce and American influence which will lift the nation to a place among the nations of the world never before attained.

“What is to hinder us when we have secured the markets of our own States that we shall reach out and enter into successful competition in the markets, of other parts of the world? I say what is to hinder this people, possessing by the providence of God, all the elements of material wealth, endowed with a genius and energy unsurpassed among the nations of the earth, shall again have on the great seas a merchant marine flying the flag of the common country and carrying its commerce into every sea and upholding its honor in every port?

“I am glad to-day to stand for this moment among you and to express my sympathy with any and every interest that tends to develop you as a people. I am glad to stand with you on one common platform of respect for the constitution; differing as some of us may do in our opinions as to what the law should be and how it should be applied; having in view one common devotion of obedience to the law an the majority of our people, by their own representatives, make it.

“I shall carry away from here a renewed impulse to public duty; a new inspiration as a citizen, and that, too, of a country whose greatness is only dawning.”

View of Salem from Development Hill
View of Salem from Development Hill

Edward Atkinson on Southwest Virginia and the South.

To the Manufacturers’ Record, Baltimore, May 30th, Mr. Edward Atkinson, of Boston, contributes two pages giving an account of his recent visit to Southwest Virginia and other parts of the South. A few brief extracts from his able article are given here.

“Such general observations which one may make in a trip of two weeks must of necessity be somewhat superficial. The points on which assurance can be given even on a short trip are as follows: First, in respect to the railways; more solid, substantial and well-kept main lines cannot be found in this country anywhere than in a large part of the tract over which we have passed. Evenly and adequately ballasted with broken stone, free from dust, and in some places so nearly rivaling the great Pennsylvania Railway in their methods and surroundings as to have led us to charge some of the district superintendents with having swept up their tracks in special anticipation of our visit: nearly all crowded with more traffic than can be handled on single tracks with their present equipment.***

“With respect to the resources of the country, it needs only a trip of two weeks, or even less, to prove the existence of almost unlimited supplies of fire-clays, kaolin and glass sand, iron ore, coal, manganese and salt, to say nothing of some of the metals of less importance. Coal, ores and timber exist in such abundance as to make the question one of the proximity and of the relative quality of the supplies rather than of their abundance and of their existence. The competition is no longer to find coal in excessive abundance; it now consists in a friendly rivalry among those who possess the coal as to which will make the strongest and richest coke. It is no longer a question of the existence of iron ore in such masses as to make the number of tons a matter of no present consequence. The pending question is which ore is the richest or the purest or the best in its situation for immediate use. ***It is no longer a question whether or not basic steel can be made in the southern part of the iron section; it is only a question whether the right men have taken hold of the matter or not, and whether the right method is being adopted, and of that there can be little doubt. It has been wholly due to the basic process of making steel that the product of Germany has been carried from a little over 2,000,000 tons in 1878 to nearly 4,500,000 in 1889. All these points may be proved by observations right on the line of the railways, but what there is a few miles away is still almost unknown. The surface only has been scratched. Within a week of our arrival at one point a vein of antimony had been opened, apparently yielding an abundant supply of very high grade ore. Copper has been made in past years at several points, and there are claimed to be many workable deposits yet to be explored. One .needs only to go to Saltville, in Southwest Virginia, to touch the main source of the supply of salt by which the whole Confederacy was sustained throughout the war. ***It may be deemed almost officious for me to deal at such length with the details of the area which I have defined. My justification must be found in the fact that in the very heart of the eastern part of the territory of the United States is to be found an area nearly as large as France, endowed with more varied resources and with a better climate than almost any other similar area within the limits of our common country.”

The Development of Southwest Virginia.

The work of developing and utilizing the immense resources of Southwest Virginia, although undertaken some years ago, and now going forward with marvelous rapidity, may be said to be as yet only in its beginning. This development is due largely to the enterprising spirit of what is called the “New South.” The efforts of the people of this section have been greatly aided by large invest ments of Northern and foreign capital.

The Norfolk and Western Railroad Company has shown remarkable foresight in its plans for the development of this immense mineral district. Beginning at Norfolk, which has one of the best harbors on the Atlantic coast, the main line of this road extends to Bristol, Tennessee, a distance of 408 miles. The New River Branch, which runs through the Pocahontas coal field, is now being further extended through West Virginia to Ironton, on the Ohio River, where connection will be made with the Scioto Valley Road (now controlled by the Norfolk and Western) for Columbus, Ohio.

From Graham, on the New River Road, the Clinch Valley Branch forms a connections at Norton, Virginia with the Louisville and Nashville Railroad systems.

The Cripple Creek Extension which opens up the inexhaustible deposits of iron, zinc and lead ores of the famous Cripple Creek Mineral Region, will connect at Mount Airy, North Carolina, with the Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad for Wilimington. The Shenandoah Valley Division extends from Roanoke to Hagerstown, Maryland, a distance of 239 miles.

While securing through connections with the North, South, and West, the Norfolk and Western has shown great wisdom and energy in developing the resources of Southwest Virginia. It has everywhere stimulated local activity, and has thus created for itself an immense and rapidly increasing local trafic.

Old towns have been rejuvenated, new towns have sprung up, and furnaces, rolling mills, machine works, and factories of all kinds have been built with that amazing rapidity hitherto peculiar to the West.

Salem,–the Gateway of Southwest Virginia

The natural outlet for the entire region of Southwest Virginia is along the valley belt of counties which extends from northeast to southwest throughout its whole extent. From this central division, the other parts of Southwest Virginia may be reached, and in considerable measure have been reached, by lateral routes.

A glance at the map will show that Roanoke County, lying between the Alleghany and Blue Ridge Mountains, is the natural gateway to the vast resources further west. Salem is the favorably located county-seat, and the great routes of travel and traffic lead, and must continue to lead, by her doors. The geographical position of the town, its present and prospective railway connections, and the immense mineral wealth in the county and in the counties to the north, east, and south, as well as to the southwest, mark Salem and its vicinity as a place destined to great industrial and commercial importance. The development of this immediate section is now going forward rapidly. The wonderful growth of Roanoke, seven miles east of Salem, from a population of 669 in 1880 to 16,159 in 1890, is well known throughout the country. What has been accomplished there is being repeated at Salem. The territory lying between the two cities, along the Roanoke River and Norfolk and Western Railroad, is already in the hands of strong land companies that will spare no effort to develop their property. It is confidently believed that this part of the Roanoke Valley will become for the entire State what it already is for Southwest Virginia,–the leading manufacturing and commercial center.

No other point in Roanoke County, or indeed in this great coal and iron region, has greater advantages than Salem.

Passenger Station, Norfolk and Western Railroad. Salem Improvement Company Building, College Avenue (inset)
Passenger Station, Norfolk and Western Railroad. Salem Improvement Company Building, College Avenue (inset)

Salem’s Railway Facilities

Salem is on the main line of the Norfolk and Western Railroad, sixty miles west of Lynchburg and 264 miles west of Norfolk. The distance from Richmond is 184 miles; from Washington City, 238 miles; from New York City, 467 miles; from Chattanooga, 382 miles.

The Norfolk and Western Railroad, which has been double tracked, gives Salem connections with all parts of the country. At Bristol, Tennessee, 140 miles from Salem, connection is made with the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia System for Chattanooga, Atlanta, Memphis, New Orleans, and all points in the South and Southwest; at Radford, thirty-six miles west of Salem, with the New River Division for Pocahontas (111 miles from Salem) and the West and Northwest; at Pulaski, fifty-two miles west of Salem, with the Cripple Creek Extension for the Cripple Creek and Carroll County ore fields; at Roanoke, seven miles east of Salem, with the Shenandoah Valley Division, extending from Roanoke to Hagerstown, and connecting with the Chesapeake and Ohio, the Baltimore and Ohio, and the Pennsylvania Railroad System.; at Lynchburg, with the Richmond and Danville System for all points North, East, and South; and at Norfolk, 264 miles east, with steamships for the principal cities of the Atlantic coast.

Salem is the chartered terminus of the Valley Branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. This branch road, starting at Harper’s Ferry, is in operation to Lexington, fifty-four miles northeast of Salem; fully one-half of the grading has been done between these two points, and the completion of the line to Salem may be expected in the near future. This road will make Salem the first point of competition in shipping the vast products of Southwest Virginia to Northern and Eastern market –a fact of great commercial importance.

The Roanoke and Southern Railroad, now building from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to Roanoke, will also be extended to Salem, and thus give the city another outlet southward, by the extension of its main line or the building of a branch road to Salem. A dummy railway line of standard gauge, already in operation between Salem and Roanoke, affords rapid transit between the two cities.

The Salem and Southwestern Railroad Company has been chartered to build a road from Salem to a point on the North Carolina or Tennessee line. When built, this road will render the rich mineral lands of Floyd, Carroll, and Grayson Counties of Virginia and the famous Cranberry ores of North Carolina easy of access, and extended by way of Asheville will give a short route to Atlanta. An air line from Boston to New Orleans passes through, or near, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Salem, Asheville, Atlanta, Montgomery, and Mobile.

It is considered highly probable that a road will be built from Salem to Newcastle in Craig County (which is rich in mineral resources), a distance of only twenty-two miles, to form a connection at that point with a branch of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, now in course of construction. This road will connect at Covington, Virginia, with a road now building as a part of the West Virginia Central System, thus forming a direct line to Pittsburgh.

A charter has been obtained for the Salem Electric Street Railway, which will be extended to Roanoke on the south side of the river.

There are six passenger, mail, and express trains in and out of Salem daily. Through Pullman cars run by Salem, from New York, Philadelphia and Washington, to Chattanooga, Atlanta, Memphis and New Orleans.

The time to Salem from Boston is twenty-one hours, from New York fifteen hours, from Philadelphia twelve and one-half hours, and from Washington nine and one-half hours. The cost of a ticket to Salem is as follows:

Travel Cost to Salem
From Cost From Cost
Boston (all rail) $19.05 Pittsburgh $12.40
New York (all rail) 13.30 Harrisburg 9.35
Philadelphia 10.80 Hagerstown 7.40
Altoona 12.40 Baltimore 8.00
Washington 6.80

Regular summer excursion tickets, good from June 1st to October 31st, are sold to Salem, from principal points North, South, East, and West. The excursion rates to Salem from the North are as follows:

Travel Cost to Salem
From Cost From Cost
Boston (Str. to Norfolk) $25.80 Altoona $19.70
Providence (Str. to N’folk) 25.80 Pittsburgh 23 10
New York (all rail) 21 00 Wilmington 16.00
Philadelphia 17.00 Baltimore 13.00
Lancaster 16 60 Washington 11.00
Harrisburg 12 90 Hagerstown 9.90

The Natural Bridge, forty-seven miles, and the famous Caverns of Luray. 157 miles from Salem, are both on the Shenandoah Valley Division of the Norfolk and Western Railroad. The White Sulphur Springs of West Virginia are 101 miles from Salem by rail, and about sixty miles by carriage road.

Salem’s Natural Advantages

With respect to natural advantages, Salem may challenge comparison with any other place in the Old Dominion. It is situated in the beautiful and fertile Valley of the Roanoke, 1,100 feet above sea level. Its altitude and excellent natural drainage make its healthfulness proverbial. It is free from malaria; it is in the region of mineral springs, several of which are quite near the town. Salem is itself popular as a summer resort for the people of States further south, as well as for those of Eastern Virginia. “The town of Salem and its surroundings,” wrote the late Dr. J. J. Moorman, for forty years resident physician at the famous White Sulphur Springs of West Virginia, “in connection with its elastic and invigorating atmosphere, its abundant supply of pure living spring water, brought to the door of every one that desires it; its natural drainage of all superfluous water from the surface of the ground; its freedom from fogs, low and marshy ground stagnant pools, and all generators of malaria, distinctly point it out as an unusually healthy location, and one most desirable for a lifetime residence.”

The climate is mild, equable, and invigorating. As the summers are exempt from extreme heat, and the winters from extreme cold, the climate is well adapted to people from all parts of our country, and especially to those from the New England and the Middle States. No case of sunstroke has occurred here. Tornadoes and cyclones are not known. The average rainfall is about forty-two inches a year.

The following table shows the temperature of Salem in comparison with that of several famous resorts on the Continent of Europe:

Temperature Comparison
City Spring Summer Autumn Winter Year
Geneva 52.2 70.3 54.2 34.0 52.07
Turin 53.7 71.5 53.8 33.5 53.1
Vienna 56.2 71.8 54.6 38.7 55.3
Milan 54.9 72.8 55.9 36.1 54.9
Salem 56 76 61 41 58

The soil of the Roanoke Valley is very productive. Large crops of the cereal grains are raised, and vegetables and fruits grow in great profusion. In the vicinity of Salem are excellent openings for farmers, fruit growers, market gardeners, and dairymen. For their products, the rapid growth of the population of this section furnishes a ready market.

The Roanoke River, which winds about the hills on the southern side of the valley, affords ample water power. The hills and mountains around Salem are well timbered, and there are also tracts of timbered land in the valley. All the hard woods for wagon-making and the finer woods for furniture abound in this part of Virginia.

Iron ores of several varieties and of excellent quality, brown hematite ores, magnetic iron ores, oxides of manganese and ferro-manganese abound in the vicinity of Salem, in other parts of Roanoke County, and throughout this section of the State. Limestone of good fluxing quality also abounds at Salem. Pocahontas coal is delivered for manufacturing purposes at a very low price. Pocahontas coke, the best in America for furnace use, can be had in inexhaustible quantities at a price which is fully $1.25 a ton less than it costs many furnaces now using it in the Chattanooga and Northern Alabama districts. Owing to the proximity of all the raw materials, the best quality of foundry iron, mill iron and basic pig, can be made at Salem at a large profit, the cost of manufacturing iron here being about $4 a ton less than in Eastern Pennsylvania. Furnaces in this vicinity are now shipping iron in large quantities to consumers in Pennsylvania and New England. D. B. Strouse Esq., president of the Salem Furnace Company, will give further information on request.

Roanoke County Court House
Roanoke County Court House

Salem as a Manufacturing and Commercial Center

As has been shown, Salem is not only the gateway to the immense resources of Southwest Virginia, but it has great natural resources immediately around it, and also in easy distances in every direction. The various branches and connections of the Norfolk and Western Railroad afford excellent transportation facilities, which will be increased by new lines in the near future. The abundance and proximity of all necessary raw materials, together with the favorable rates of transportation, reduce the cost of production to a low figure, and correspondingly increase the margin for profits.

As the policy of the Norfolk and Western Railroad Company is to encourage the location of manufactories on the line of the road, freight rates to and from Salem are made as favorable as from any other point in this section of the State. Mr. Chas. G. Eddy, vice-president of the Norfolk and Western Railroad Company, is a director in the Salem Improvement Company and the Salem Furnace Company.

The new iron furnace at Salem will go into blast as soon as the short branch line to its mines is completed. The capacity of the furnace is 120 tons a day. A rolling mill, now building, will manufacture this pig iron into bars and such other shapes as may be demanded by the trade or by the manufacturing interests of Salem. This will give all manufacturers using iron in their products the advantage of getting their supplies of iron on the ground at first prices.

Wool can be obtained in this section, and cotton laid down at Salem at low prices. The climate is adapted to the manufacture of silk goods. The Salem Steam Tannery will furnish leather for the manufacture of shoes, saddles, harness, and belting.

Sites for factories are given free, and in many cases liberal subscriptions are made to the capital stock of manufacturing companies. Factories of all kinds are exempt from municipal taxation for ten years. The climate is especially favorable for manufacturing. The taxes are low, living is cheap, and labor is abundant. As there are no labor organizations here, manufacturing industries are not subject to the losses and interruptions connected with strikes.

Salem as a Home

Salem is not a mushroom growth of shabby dwellings and a floating population. Its history dates back to 1802, and it became the county-seat in 1838. A part of the land on which it stands was originally granted by George III, in 1767, to Gen. Andrew Lewis, the hero of Point Pleasant, a general of the Revolutionary War, whose remains now rest on a hill in the town, overlooking the beautiful valley of the Roanoke. This valley, 1,100 feet above the sea level, and completely encircled by the Blue Ridge and the Alleghanies, is justly called the “Garden Spot” of the Old Dominion and the “Switzerland of the South.” The Hon. Henry C. Allen, of the West Roxbury News, Boston, after a visit to Virginia last year, in writing of this place, says: “Salem is one of the older towns, and exhibits that aspects of intelligence and refinement which distinguishes a university town. It is an attractive place for the man of leisure as well as for the man of business. The view from the high table land outside town is one of unrivaled beauty. It is surrounded by mountains at just the right distance for their best effect, and the broad and fertile intervale adds to its picturesque beauty. We have not seen the locality in North Carolina where Vanderbilt is about to erect his magnificent country seat, but he would have made no mistake if he had secured one of these lovely hills.”

Salem is the most attractive town in the Old Dominion. It has always been noted for the social refinement, cordial hospitality, general intelligence, high moral tone, and religious character of its people, and has been deservedly popular as a place of residence for more than a half-century. Visitors from every State are charmed with Salem and its people, and many decide to make it their home.

Five-denominations, Baptist, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian, have large brick edifices and hold regular services in Salem. There is also a flourishing Young Men’s Christian Association in the city. Besides several private schools there is an excellent public graded school. The handsome brick building, completed a year ago, is heated by steam and furnished with the best appliances for instruction.

The colored people also have a good public school and three churches.

Salem is the seat of Roanoke College, a flourishing institution of high grade for young men, now in its thirty-ninth year. It offers superior advantages in comprehensive courses for degrees, at comparatively small cost, It has four large brick buildings on ample and beautiful grounds ; a library of 17,000 volumes; a laboratory. with a, good supply of chemical and physical apparatus; and extensive mineral and geological cabinets. The students come from many States, Indian Territory, Mexico and Japan, and the graduates are to be found in twenty-eight States and Territories, and in two foreign countries. Dr. Julius D. Dreher, president, will send illustrated catalogue on request.

Roanoke College
Roanoke College

Buildings are in course of erection for the Salem Female Seminary, which will be opened in September, with Mrs. J. E. Guy as principal.

The town owns a complete system of water works, with an ample supply of the best mountain spring water, drawn from Lake Spring, in the western part of the city. An efficient fire department renders property comparatively safe in Salem. Work has begun on an electric light plant, which will be in operation in July. Salem has nearly four miles of macadamized streets, and the roads leading to the city are generally good. A street railway company has been chartered and will begin work as necessary franchises arc secured. A comprehensive system of sewerages has been begun.

The climate and healthfulness of Salem have already received consideration under “Salem’s Natural Advantages.”

From this brief outline it will be seen that Salem is an old town with a settled and orderly society, and that persons coming here to live will find all the comforts, conveniences and attractions of a desirable home.

New Public School Building - Erected 1890
New Public School Building – Erected 1890

A New Era in Salem’s History

A new era of rapid growth began with the organization of the Salem Improvement Company, the most successful organization of its kind in Virginia. It was organized October 2d, 1889, with an authorized capital of $1,000,000 of which stock to the amount of $300,000 was issued, and was all subscribed for in a few weeks. The company purchased about 900 acers of land in and adjoining the town and completely surrounded the town and the properties of other land companies. The property of the Improvement Company is unsurpassed in location, the lower lands on both sides of the Norfolk and Western Railroad and along the Roanoke River being admirably situated for manufacturing sites and business houses, while the higher ground further back, commanding a view of the valley and the mountains, is most desirable for residences. Wide streets and avenues and a boulevard, ninety feet wide, were laid out, and lots places on the market December 11th, 1889. This sale was so successful that the company declared a dividend of eighty percent, thus making its stock fully paid up, only two assessments of ten per cent each having been called for. The aggregate sales of lots now amount to nearly a million dollars, and the stock of the company commands a high premium.

The Salem Development Company was organized January 27th, 1890, with an authorized captial of $1,000,000 of which $300,000 was issued, this amount having been subscribed for in less than four days. This company purchased about 800 acres of land adjoining the town and the property of the Improvement Company, with both of which it is connected by two handsome double roadway iron bridges. Its lands for business, manufacturing and residence purposes and unsurpassed and this is attested by the fact that nearly half a million worth of lots were sold and a dividend of fifty per cent. declared ($61,200. of which was paid in cash), within seven months the organization of the company.

The South Salem Land Company was organized March 8th, 1890. Its authorized capital is $300,000, of which $250,000 has been issued, with a guarantee that only thirty per cent of the par value of the stock will be called for. $50,000 of stock has been reserved as a fund to promote the building of industries on its land. This company owns 318 acres of desirable business, manufacturing and residence property adjacent to, and partly surrounded by the lands of the Development, Improvement, Glenmore and Riverside Companies. The company is just ready to place its lots on the market. Other land companies have been organized and have co-operated in the work of locating industries and building up the city.

Salem’s Rapid and Substantial Growth

Although the new growth of Salem received its first impetus in the fall of 1889, the actual work of building up the town did not actively begin until April, 1890. Since then the growth of Salem has been more rapid and substantial than that of any other place of its size in Virginia. Although building operations were retarded for lack of material, more than 500 buildings, many of them handsome residences and costly business houses and factories, have been built. The population has increased from about 2,000 to nearly 5,000. The business of the post-office and telegraph office has increased 500 per cent. The post-office has become an office of the second-class this summer. The iron furnace about to go into blast and the factories in operation and actually secured will employ several thousand hands, including females, and insure the doubling of the present population in the near future.

The improvements made in Salem are of a solid and substantial character. The new streets have been graded and macadamized on both sides of the river, brick pavements have been laid, the water-works have been extended, and an additional water supply secured to meet the needs of a large increase in population. A new system of water works has been put in on the south side of the river, and two handsome iron bridges have been constructed to connect the two parts of the city; and an additional iron bridge is under contract to be completed in August. College Avenue, seventy-five feet wide, extending from Main Street to th new passenger station of the Norfolk and Western Railroad, has been well macadamized. This is the principal business street of Salem, and as only brick or stone buildings may be erected on it, it is sure to become one of the finest thoroughfares in the State. Among the imposing buildings already erected on this street are the Hotel Salem, a brick edifice of five stories, with more than 100 rooms, and the Improvement Company’s bank and office building, a three-story brick structure, trimmed in stone and terra- cotta. A number of handsome brick business houses have already been built on this avenue. At the head ot it stands the imposing group of brick buildings of Roanoke College and at its foot the new stone passenger station of the Norfolk and Western, one of the finest on the line of its road.

Salem has been selected as the location for the Baptist Orphanage of Virginia, an extensive instition whose buildings will be erected this year.

Visitors to Salem are impressed with the substantial and attractive character of the buildings that have been erected or are in course of construction. A staff correspondent of the Richmond Dispatch, in a recent number of that paper, says: “The character of the houses strikes one at a glance. There is no cheap work. Salem is being built up for the future. Every dollar put in brick and mortar represents solid investment by men who know what they are doing.”

Buildings for a rolling mill, the Chadwick Speed Cart Works the Corbett Works to make machinery for roller flour mills, and other industries, are now in course of erection–some nearly completed and others to be completed within a few months; a great many residences and business houses are in course of erection and under contract, and the wonderful growth of the last twelve months is being repeated this year.

List of Industries

  1. The Salem Furnace. Capacity 120 tons of pig iron a day. Furnace will go into blast in August.
  2. The Salem Rolling Mills. Site of ten acres secured and buildings in course of erection.
  3. The Holstein Woolen Mills and Clothing Factory. Main building and clothing factory completed. In operation.
  4. The Salem Steam Tannery (Leas & McVitty of Philadelphia). One of the largest tanneries in the South. In operation.
  5. The Edward Corbett Machine Shops for making machinery for roller flouring mills. Buildings in course of erection.
  6. The Chadwick Two-wheeler Works (from Olean, New York). Extensive buildings in course of erection.
  7. The Salem Wagon Manufactory. In operation.
  8. The Salem Gas Heater Works. Building completed.
  9. Camden Iron Works. Castings, iron fronts for buildings, iron fencing, etc. In operation.
  10. The Electric Light Plant. To be completed, July, 1891.
  11. The Electric Street Railway. Charter secured and company arranging to begin operations.
  12. Salem Folding Chair Factory. Has exclusive right to manufacture the Gage Folding Chair for Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland. Delaware and District of Columbia. In operation.
  13. The Conrad Chair and Manufacturing Company. Works in operation.
  14. The Mineral Fibre Company. Building completed.
  15. The Bank of Salem.
  16. The Farmers National Bank of Salem.
  17. The Salem Loan and Trust Company.
  18. The Salem Banking and Investment Company.
  19. The Salem Building and Investment Company.
  20. The Times-Register Book and Job Printing Office. Publishes the Salem Times-Register and the Roanoke Collegian.
  21. The Williams Ink Factory. In operation.
  22. The Salem Carriage Factory. In operation.
  23. N. Hockman’s Sash, Door, Blind and Building Establishment. Largest and most complete in Southwest Virginia. In operation.
  24. The Planing and Building Works of W. G. B. Fitzgerald & Co. (from Danville, Virginia). In operation.
  25. Sash, Door, Blind and Building Factory and Lumber Yard of Adams, Clements & Co. In operation.
  26. The Crystal Ice Company. In operation.
  27. The Graveley Foundry and Machine Works.
  28. Pierpont Brick Works (of North Haven, Connecticut). In operation.
  29. Brick Works of Nininger, Son & Martin. In operation.
  30. Novelty Brick Works of W. H. Shuff & Co. In operation.
  31. Brick Works of Bethel & Fitzgerald. In operation.
  32. Brick Works of Jas. C. Deycrle. In operation.
  33. Carriage and Wagon Works of Ligon Bros. In operation. J. C. Langhorne’s Roller Flouring Mills. In operation.
  34. The Salem Roller Flouring Mills. In operation.
  35. Johnson Bros.’ Grain Cradle Works. In operation.
  36. The Salem Marble Works. In operation.
  37. J. W. Harveycutter’s Tannery. In operation.
  38. Salem Mattress Factory. In operation.
  39. Daniel Scull’s Steam Laundry.
  40. Fruit and Vegetable Cannery of Preston, Evans & Co. In operation.
  41. Fruit Cannery of H. Garst & Son. In operation.
  42. Fruit Cannery of J. A. Garst & Bro. In operation.

The foregoing list includes only those industries which are already in operation, or whose buildings are in course of erection. While works are being built it is not easy to give the exact number of hands that will be employed. It is safe to say that the foregoing list represents a combined force of from 2,000 to 3,000 hands.

Hotel Salem on College Avenue
Hotel Salem on College Avenue

The chief offices of the following companies are in Salem: The Bonsack Machine Company. capital $1,600,000; the Carper Spark Conductor Company, capital $1,000,000; and the Comas Machine Company, capital $100,000.

The aggregate capital stock of the various Land, Improvement and Development Companies of Salem is a little more than $4,000,000; and this financial backing gives a great impetus to the growth of the town and the establishment of manufactories.

Salem as a Place for Investment

The rapid development of Salem affords many excellent opportunities for profitable investments. The price of stocks and real estate has greatly increased, and those who had the discernment to invest early have already realized handsome profits. As the rapid growth of the city will continue to enhance the value of real estate, profitable investments may be made in land stocks, town lots or buildings for business purposes.

The population of Salem has increased as rapidly as accommodations could be secured. In the past year it has often been impossible for new-comers to secure any sort of accommodations, and the large increase in population this year will create a still more urgent demerit for houses. The building and renting of houses can be confidently recommended as a safe means of securing good returns. The profits would range from ten to twenty per cent. on such investments.

By a fair estimate the industries in operation and actually secured will give employment to several thousand hands and increase the population from 10,000 to 15,000 in the near future. So large a growth being assured, it will be seen that Salem presents an inviting field for investments. Persons desiring to make investments should bear in mind that the development and growth of Salem have been accomplished largely by local enterprise. A majority of the officers, directors, and holders of the various land companies are citizens of Salem, While much Northern and foreign capital is invested here, the development of the town is largely in the hands of actual residents, who have their own money invested, and who naturally have the best interests of the city at heart. While exerting themselves to make their own investments more profitable, their efforts will also increase the value of the investments of persons from a distance.

The Future of Salem

Salem will continue to grow. This is assured by all the conditions that have brought about its recent remarkable progress. At the head of its business interests are men of energy, experience, sagacity, and integrity. Millions of dollars are invested in its numerous industries and in its land, improvement, and development companies, and hundreds of investors, North and South, are interested in its success. The work that has been done is only a beginning. The success already achieved in locating industrial plants is the promise and and pledge of still greater success in the future. Negotiations are going on constantly to secure additional industries of various kinds. With a people united to their determination to build up their city, and with the strong support and cooperation of the combined capital of the various land companies (more than $4,000,000), it will be seen that the largest enterprises are within the reach of Salem, and that such enterprises are actually being located. It is the aim and ambition of the people of Salem and its various land companies, not only to build up a prosperous industrial center, but to make Salem a beautiful and attractive place-the “Queen City of the Southwest.”

In all the considerations that make a desirable place of residence-climate, health, society, education – Salem is a favored spot. Distinguished visitors from all sections of our country, hundreds of editors and correspondents of magazines and of leading papers in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and other Northern cities, in Virginia, in the South and West. and many New England editors who visited Salem a year ago on press excursions, have spoken and written most favorably of the beauty of Salem’s location, the healthfulness of its climate, the hospitality and culture of its people, the natural advantages of its location for general business and manufacturing, and of the enterprising spirit of its people as shown in the recent rapid development and growth of the city. Extracts from a few of these articles and letters will be found in this hook.

We would not, however, ask any one to take the opinion of others, but would urge those who are interested in seeking new homes or new places of business, to visit Salem to see and examine for themselves. Confident in the superiority of the advantages and attractions of their own city, the people of Salem invite the closest scrutiny into the statements herein made, and a comparison of their city with any of the other growing towns of Virginia or of the South.

All who come, whether as visitors or settlers, whether from the North or the South, may be assured of a cordial Virginia, welcome.

What Others Say of Salem

[From the Century Magazine, April 1874] *** Climbing over the huge grades of the Alleghanies, we came suddenly upon the delicious expanse of the Roanoke Valley bathed in the splendid shimmer of an afternoon autumn sun, and faded into delicate colored shadows where the mountain rose gently, as if loath to leave the lovely and lowly retreat. The vale was filled with wheat and corn fields, and with perfect meadows, through which ran little brooks gleaming in the sun.***

Salem, the site of Roanoke College, is surrounded by charming hills, and stands in one of the richest agricultural regions in the United States.****

[From Rev. Washington Gladden, D. D., LL. D., in the “Springfield Republican,” 1882.]

The Blue Ridge and the Alleghanies draw close together at Salem, but the valley they include is with reason, declared to be the fairest and most fertile in all Virginia. Such magnificent fields of wheat as we saw turning to gold would make the farmers of the Connecticut Valley open their eyes. Salem is a handsome town, the neatest and most like New England of any I have seen in Virginia.

Allen Building
Allen Building

[From Charles Dudley Warner, in the “Hartford Courant,” 1883.]

Salem has more natural advantages as to health, sightliness, fertility. and picturesqueness, perhaps, than Roanoke. and equal advantages for iron manufacture and railway operation”, and it was perhaps chance or mismanagement that prevented such a new growth there as we saw at Roanoke. But it has mineral wealth all about it, and its turn of enterprise may come before long. *** It seems to be a very salubrious place its water supply is from on of the remarkable mountain springs of which I have spoken; the meadows are rich, the air is pure, and, sheltered by the hills, it has a temperate climate in winter with little snow. This outline is enough to show that the region is one of great natural beauty. Observation leads us to say that it is the abode of a hospitable, industrious, and highly moral people. Indeed I do not know any New England town in which the moral standard of living is higher. In Salem everybody has the habit of going to church, and most of the leading religious denominations are represented. It is a town where the domestic virtues thrive and there are no scandals.

[From the New England “Journal of Education,” June 30, 1887.]

That the Roanoke is a valley of wonderful beauty may be seen from the cut which appeared in The Century, when Edward King was writing “The Great South” papers for that popular monthly. It is a region much like the Wyoming region in Pennsylvania, the valley being small enough to he seen at one view from an elevation, together with the outline of the mountains that completely encircle it, It bears a close resemblance to the lovely valley in Western Massachusetts, in which Williams College is situated. Rev. George Muller, of Bristol England, who visited Roanoke College, in Salem, in 1878, remarked that the scenery around Salem strikingly reminded him of Switzerland.

[From the ” New York World,” November 18, 1889.]

Salem presents attractions as a place of location that no other town along this route can offer. From the time of its birth Salem has had just recognition as a place of true refinement and culture. On account of recent and improved railroad connections Salem has taken a new lease on life, and now asserts herself as one of the coming cities of Virginia On every side can be seen evidences of progress and improvement. Possessing as it does a beautiful location, perfect drainage, and healthfulness which is proverbial, Salem is sure to be within a few years, on account of these natural advantages, a large and important city. No place offers more attractions to manufacturers or men with brains and capital. (Extract from a long letter on Salem by a staff correspondent.)

[From the “New York Sun,” January 18, 1890.]

Salem holds out many inducements for the capitalist, investor and the settler, chief of which is its peculiar central location with reference to the large territory which can be supplied in all lines of manufacturing and trade of all classes. Also the numerous facilities for utilizing all kinds of raw material for manufacturing purposes, and the facility for distributing the manufactured articles in every direction. It is located in the rich iron ore, coal limestone and timbered country, embracing all kinds of timber which, with the present facilities of transportation, can he placed it Salem at low rates and small cost. Besides these special advantages, Salem is peculiarly blessed with a climate almost unsurpassed.****

Capital must come where so many natural advantages exist. It is only a question of time. But one thing is quite certain: This city is sure to grow and develop into a commercial and industrial center and the indications today are so favorable to this end that it is not at all astonishing that so many inquiries are received daily asking what of the possibilities and advantages of this favored section of Southwest Virginia, midway between the frozen blasts of the North and the balmy breezes of the South.-(Extracts from a long letter on Salem by a staff correspondent.)

[From ” The Times,” Philadelphia, June 14, 1890.]

Coming east over the Norfolk and Western Railroad, I was astonished at the great material progress along the whole line from Bristol to Salem. When we reached Salem mv attention was drawn to the wonderful beauty of the valley at a point where the new Salem was marked out along both sides of the Roanoke River and the railroad. Stopping here I have carefully investigated, and my wonder grows. Salem has leaped from youth to old age, and in less than six moriths has grown from a quiet educational town to an active modern city. The city builders are here and houses are being built on every side.****

The land and development Companies are managed mainly by substantial, intelligent Virginia men, and the personnel of the officers of the Companies will impress any visitor with the stability of the movement here. There is a great future to this town, and the movement so well begun, will bring profit to the promoters and investors, and prosperity to the people. To those seeking homes or a fortune, Salem offers a fine opening. The tide is turned southwards. Go South, young man Go South ” (Extracts from a column letter on Salem by H. H. Colquitt, of Georgia )

[From “The Forum,” New York, August, 1890.]

The Roanoke Valley, about forty miles long, is nowhere more picturesque than at Salem. It stretches more invitingly than the Genesee, and the eye does not feel like resting, but is coaxed on and on over meadows, Streams, knolls and hills, mountains and crags, up to the blue sky which encircles the wonderful picture.

The Companies are pushing forward every interest so persistently that one is at a loss to select the feature of greatest moment. Here are groups of neat, modern Cottages for workmen; there is a costly residence of some capitalist ; there a $25,000 spacious, solid bank-building of brick; there a $75,000 hotel of modern, picturesque architecture ; there an iron furnace ; there the site of a steel-plant ; there and there iron bridges spanning the river ; there a factory with its busy buzz ; there a railroad depot; there a summer retreat, in shaded seclusion, and there a handsome public school building just completed. All around from any hill one may see a town forming, and though he cannot see it grow from hour to hour. It is no exaggeration to say that marked and steady advances may be observed from day to day.-(Extract from a long article on Salem)

[From the “American Wool, Cotton, and Financial Reporter,” Boston, New York and Philadelphia, August 21, 1890]

Eureka Yes, I have found it I have found a town ‘mid the mountain-guarded. river-divided valley of Roanoke, a valley more fertile, more beautiful and more healthful than your much extolled Connecticut Valley. I have found a town here that will be a large and thriving city within the next ten years, just as surely as the manufactured products of the mineral deposits of Southwestern Virginia Continue to be used in the civilized world.****

Through the years of the coming future, Salem will continue to grow and thrive long after she has fulfilled my predictions.- (From a page article on Salem by a staff correspondent of “The Reporter”)

[From the ” Memphis Commercial,” September, 1890 ]

Some cities are remarkable for the enterprise and progressiveness of the citizens some for their natural advantages, which bring prosperity ; and still others for a charming situation in the midst of many beautiful scenes of nature. Salem is remarkable for all of these, and he who interests himself here, either for pleasure or profit, can but bless the day of his so doing. (From a long letter by a staff correspondent.)

Salem Furnace, and Salem Rolling Mills (inset)
Salem Furnace, and Salem Rolling Mills (inset)

[Richmond (Va.) ”Dispatch,” April 3, 1891.]

If the future of Salem as a great industrial center is not assured, then hundreds of men of sagacity and capital are blind. These men have not said we will tell you what to do, but have set an example, and the money that has been put into industries here is only an earnest of what is to come. Money, brains, enterprise, and public spirit are here. The climate cannot he excelled. The railroad facilities are all that could he desired. There is a prodigality of raw material at the doors of the town awaiting the ingenuity of man to turn it into manufactured products If that does not mean continued progress there is no such thing as the logic of development. Further it means a continued advance in values.

The law of industrial accretion has been strikingly illustrated in Salem since the first step was taken along the road of progress that opened up before Southwest Virginia Salem did nut begin to develop as soon as some other places, but when she did start it was on a solid foundation which precluded the possibility of collapse. What she has she will bold and the possession is a magnet that is constantly attracting.

To see Salem is to be satisfied that nothing that has been said regarding its present, or predicted touching its future, is exaggerated.-(From a long letter on Salem by a staff correspondent.)

[From the Baltimore ”Journal of Commerce,” April 25, 1891.]

If there be a town in Virginia more beautifully situated than Salem, it has not been my good fortune to behold it. The green valley through which the Roanoke River winds is broken just enough to rest and please the eye, while the hills and mountains set back a few miles and, softened by the slight haze of early spring, form a picture upon which few can look for the first time with hearts unmoved. It is, in truth, a vale of peace. It is a sermon without words, an idyl of nature’s own telling. It is the simplest and briefest statement of fact to say that its beauty is beyond the power of words to express. Every heart that beats loyal to the Union rejoices to see the development of the South, and Salem is a typical town of the new South, but I cannot altogether repress a pang of regret at the thought that a few years hence this charming valley will be filled with the smoke and dust and noise and strife of a busy city.

Salem has well-nigh everything that the heart of man could desire in the way of natural advantages -a climate healthy and delightful, a country rich in mineral and agricultural wealth, and a bounteous supply of pure water from a crystal spring.

Salem has cultivated society and Roanoke College gives her exceptional educational advantages. During the past eighteen months her business men have put new life into the town and pushed it to the front with commendable enterprise and judgment. To me Salem seems one of the best owns in Virginia, and few, if any, have made more rapid strides in the past twelve months.-(From a letter by a staff correspondent.)

Salem Steam Tannery (top), Corbett Machine Works (lower left), Salem Wagon Manufactory (lower right)
Salem Steam Tannery (top), Corbett Machine Works (lower left), Salem Wagon Manufactory (lower right)

[From Bruce’s, “Southwest Virginia and Shenandoah Valley” published by the J. L. Hill Publishing Company, Richmond, Va., 1891]

The growth of Salem for the past fourteen months has been simply marvelous. All of the level plateau east of the old town has become a lively scene of activity in the way of erecting hotels, banks, offices and residences. All have a substantial look, and the placing of the new handsome passenger depot by the Norfolk and Western Railroad Company in this eastern part of the place will make a lovely town. Pretty villas, cottages, and brick buildings are going op, while south of the railroad is the great blast furnace for the manufacture of pig-iron. The whole surroundings have put on the air of activity, and so rapidly has building increased that it is almost impossible to keep pace with it. South of the river, on the Development Company’s land, quite a village is springing up, and the large brick woolen mill now erected will soon pour forth its products from the raw material, worked up by numerous operatives for wholesale use. Forty or fifty houses are now being constructed on the plateau around, while some handsome dwellings are being finished on the brow of the hill above. About the whole place there is an air of rapid progress and growth which impresses one very decidedly on viewing the city even from a passing railroad car. That this improvement will continue there is every reason to believe, from the fact that in the near future the place will have railroad facilities which it does not possess at present. The Valley branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company is partly graded from Lexington to Salem, some fifty-four miles, and the construction of a branch line by the Roanoke and Southern to Salem will almost insure the building of the Baltimore and Ohio branch. With such railway facilities the place would breathe with renewed energy, if such a thing were possible.

The increase in the population of Salem has been in keeping with her other improvements. From the best evidence upon the subject which we could gather we are satisfied that in October, 1889, there were some 2,500 people in Salem. About January 1, 1891, there were some 4,350, as near as we could figure it, which shows that in fourteen months the place has almost doubled in inhabitants.

That Salem will grow into a city there can be no doubt, and many think that it will eventually meet Roanoke, forming a second edition of St. Paul and Minneapolis. The extension of Roanoke west and Salem east, which is the tendency now, would seem to be some ground for the assertion. While we are sure from the reasons we have given that Salem must continue to grow and become larger, yet what will be in the future we cannot sav. Certain it is, that for natural surroundings and climate, social and other privileges, its present resources-agricultural and mineral-its many commercial and manufacturing powers, Salem has no superior that we know of as a place of residence or business center.-(Extracts from an article of eleven pages.)

New England Press Association Visit Salem

An excursion party of the Massachusetts Press Association Salem May is, 1890, and a similar party of the Suburban Association of New England visited the town on the 28th of the same month. Although their stay in both cases was limited to a few hours. they saw enough of Salem and its people to be most favorably impressed. Only brief extracts from a few of their many kind letters can be given here.

That these visits proved instructive and enjoyable maybe learned from the letters written by these editors to their papers. As expressing the views of the members of the Massachusetts Press Association, the editor of The Bunker Hill Times, Boston, says:

“Not only the resources of the country hut the state of their development was a revelation, and the journey was made with an ease and comfort wholly unexpected. The social condition, too, presented a phase wholly at variance with preconceived notions gained from various sources. Taken as a whole, then, it was not alone a pleasure trip for Massachusetts editors, but for one, at least, a valuable and valued educational experience.”

[From the “Palmer Journal” Palmer, Mass.]

At the station we found carriages ready to take us for a drive about Salem, whose macadamized streets are a wonderful improvement over some of the streets we had passed over. Our time here was short, but the arrangements were perfect for making the most of it, and we were taken about the town to some of the sightly points, where the most charming views were to be had. It is really beautiful for situation, with a charming climate which makes it a most desirable and healthful place of residence the year round, while the moral and intellectual atmosphere is as desirable as would be expected in a university town. We were taken to the college library, where the citizens and ladies met us most cordially, pinned badges upon our coats and presented all with bouquets, after which a dainty and tempting lunch was served, all of which was a pleasant surprise to us.*** Building operations are so brisk just now at Salem that the material cannot he obtained half fast enough. (By Chas. B. Fiske, President Massachusetts Press Association)

Olstein Woolen Mills and Clothing Factory (top left), Salem Gas Heater Works (top right);Chadwick Two-Wheeler Works (bottom)
Olstein Woolen Mills and Clothing Factory (top left), Salem Gas Heater Works (top right);
Chadwick Two-Wheeler Works (bottom)

[From the “Free Press.” Waltham. Mass.]

Salem has, it is claimed, added fifty per cent. to its population within less than a year. ***The lower grade of labor is not much, if any, better paid at the North, but skilled labor commands excellent wages, and the man of sagacity and good habits stands a show of rapidly acquiring a competence. Houses are springing up with phenomenal rapidity, and the more rapid growth is only held in check by the lack of carpenters and other skilled labor. Our advice would be to young, active, pushing, capable men to go to one of these rapidly developing towns and grow up with it. They are not booming Southwestern Virginia in the way many towns are being boomed, but the work is being put in in a quiet, healthy manner. ***To our ambitious young men, therefore, who are contemplating a change, and to whom the West seems from this distance to offer so many allurements, we would say, Look to the Southland. For the next decade her development bids fair to equal that of the West in its palmiest time, and the man of sagacity and energy will find a highway to success.-(By Alexander Starbuck, President of the Suburban Press Association of New England.)

[From the “Springfield Republican,” Springfield, Mass.]

Salem is located in a charming valley, environed by rugged mountains with beautiful scenery in every direction, and reminding us more forcibly than any other spot of a New England village. There is a picturesque beauty about the valley of Roanoke, with its mild climate, stamping it at once as just the spot for a growing educational institution. This college came out of the furnace of the war purified and strengthened for its work. It has an enviable record in the cause of sound scholarship. With more money and increased facilities the institution has a great future before it. Much has been done by the personal sacrifice of a hard worked and poorly paid faculty to give it prestige. That the Virginians appreciate the blessings of such a college is seen in the fact that since the war eight bequests have been made to aid the college, six of which came from Virginia and two from New England.***

[From the “New England Farmer,” Boston]

Salem is destined to be a very important place, and many points of interest were visited, it being a city rich in iron, manganese and limestone. *** But, as “hope springs eternal in the human breast,” so the South, at least in the sections that I have visited, is of good courage and is bending its energies to a new life. They tell us, and I can well believe it, that they are glad that the war terminated as it did, and in favor of the Union, which they fight for in the future. They have a magnificent country, rich in all that goes to make a people strong and independent, a fertile soil abounding in minerals and covered with a magnificent growth of timber. In short, they need Northern men and Northern money to help them develop it, and there is money in it to the careful man.

[From the “City Item,” Lynn, Mass.]

Salem is destined to increase in population and wealth, as much so as any city in the South. Her people are hustlers; her lands, especially those which are in the boom districts, are high and dry; the scenery on all sides is indeed beautiful; she has rich iron mines which must produce millions of wealth, and the introduction of steel works, iron works and other industries, to work up a part of the iron product on the spot, will, of necessity, be of great benefit. The Massachusetts visitors were driven over Salem in a procession of private carriages.

[From the “Worcester Spy,” Worcester, Mass.]

Salem, situated in the very heart of a most beautiful agricultural and grazing country, with the mountains all about it in the distance, is a charming place. It is a combination of the old and the new condition of things, and is a pleasanter town to live in than Roanoke, although the views in Roanoke are also grand. Roanoke College at Salem, an institution thirty-seven years old, thanks to the help of many friends both South and North, is now in a very flourishing condition, and ranks among the best colleges in Virginia. Our visit to Salem was on a beautiful morning, and the drive about the town and the visit to the attractive college grounds will not soon be forgotten.

[From the “Daily Journal” Milford, Mass.]

*** No wonder the people of Salem are proud of their town and its unrivaled scenic surroundings. To the north, south, east, and west, a few miles away, tower mountain ranges interlacing each other until they describe one mighty and indescribably grand circle. as if exulting in their power to shut in the picturesque little town from outside intrusion Beneath us is the village, rich in its heritage of a century’s history, and flowing through it the winding river. When did artist’s brush ever successfully imitate the perfect beauty and peacefulness of the scene? We feast our eyes as we descend to the smiling valley again and are driven to the library room of Roanoke College. A collation, abundant in quantity and superior in quality, was served by the most accomplished ladies of the vicinage. It was a complete ovation of both hand and heart is it strange, therefore, that Salem and its people occupy a warm place in the memory of those they so lavishly, and yet so unpretendingly, entertained? *** There are promising prospects ahead for Salem. It has a beautiful location, an unsurpassed soil, attractive homes, Roanoke College, rich mineral deposits in close proximity, industrial enterprise, scores of new buildings going up, etc.

[From the “Pawtuxet Valley Gleaner,” Phenix, R I.]

*** Salem has a bright future before it. It is a place seventy-five years old. True, there is a good college there that stands well, ha t simply a college will never make a great city without other things to help. The other things are locating there fast. *** The population of course is growing. At this writing the city has a population of about 4.000 people. In ten years it will be a great city. *** The manufacturing interests will of course locate on the river and railroad, and tbe dwellings will of course be on the surrounding bills. It is laid out to be a pretty city, and the vim and push of its citizens will see that it becomes what they intend it to be. Our stay here was altogether too short, and with reluctant steps we got aboard the train with our minds made up to appear in Salem again at the first opportunity.

[From the “Mansfield News,” Mansfield, Mass.]

The scene from the summit of the bluff is picturesque in the extreme, and needs the brush of the painter to show its beauties. Involuntarily our thoughts recall that other and older Salem, “beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth.” Long after we left the town did that ride up and down the mountain side linger with us * * * Here, as well as in the surrounding country. property is rapidly increasing in value, and as the growing prosperity is based on coal mines, iron ore, varied manufacturing industries, with superior and increasing railroad facilities, values must continue to increase.

[From the “Lawrence American,” Lawrence, Mass.]

A short ride took us to Salem, and here we reached the climax of all that not only was but that could be imagined. The minutest detail has been considered. All was settled before our arrival consequently not a moment was lost. * * * We were able to make a circuit that laid before us one of the grandest views and most promising countries that it is the good fortune of man to behold.

[From the “Canton Journal” Canton, Mass.]

Salem, the most enthusiastic town in Virginia, was next reached. We realized for the first time that it was possible in this section of the land to have good streets, as we were now riding over smooth and comparatively hard roads. Up to this time in all our meanderings through Virginia the highway departments of the various towns seemed to be neglecting their duty. * * * The tone of the people is elevated, as is evidenced by their devotion to education, religion, law and order. Possessing every advantage that cultured Massachusetts has for mental training, religious devotion and moral discipline, there is no place along the entire route that would suit a New Englander as a permanent abode so well as Salem, and it was here that many of us selected our “corner lots” with a view to settlement should we decide to make a change.

[From the “Gazette and Courier,” Greenfield, Mass.]

*** More beautiful scenery cannot be found, while the climate is nowhere Surpassed. The old town contains the county court house and has long been a place of considerable importance not only commercially but as a health and pleasure resort. It is now, however, awakened to its possibilities as a manufacturing town, and industrial plants are being brought in and the outlying lands are being rapidly taken up for new Streets and building lots. The chances for investment were presented to us in a very favorable light, for Fortune’s wheel is here making many a lucky turn.***

[From the “Dedham Transcript,” Dedham, Mass.]

If there is one Spot more charming than the rest of Virginia for a place of residence, that of Salem, in our view, takes the lead. Being situated about 1,200 feet above sea-level, there is neither extreme heat nor cold, and the climate is simply delightful.