Historic Bethania – Forsyth County
“More people are becoming aware of how unique Bethania truly is. I’m glad to see PLC serve as a partner with the Town of Bethania to preserve this national treasure.” – Lamar Taft, former PLC Board member
Established in 1759 and registered as a National Historic Landmark, the Moravian town of Bethania is the only remaining example of a European open-style agricultural village in North Carolina. Historic Bethania was the first of 35 planned agricultural villages within the 100,000-acre Wachovia Tract when it was settled in 1759 by members of the Moravian Church. Surveyor Christian Philip Gottleib Reuter designed Bethania to withstand the challenges and dangers of the often hostile frontier landscape during the tumultuous years of the French and Indian Wars. Borrowing from town designs used in Medieval Europe, Reuter clustered the individual home lots in the center of the 2,500 acres that comprised the Bethania Town Lot and surrounded these residential lots with land segregated into orchard lots, bottom land lots, and upland lots. The town included houses, tradesman shops, a church, school, barns, animal husbandry facilities and gardens.
PLC has worked with community members and the State to permanently protect 176 acres of Bethania’s historic natural landscape, including:
- Black Walnut Bottoms and Bluffs, scenic bluffs and former agricultural lands surrounding the heart of the village
- God’s Acre, the historic Moravian cemetery
- The original apple orchards, which are currently under restoration
- A trail corridor along Muddy Creek
- Other open lands
- The site of the former Cedar Grove School, an African-American one room school house that served Bethania and the surrounding area.
PLC continues to work with partners to protect remaining critical open lands. As a future growth area for Forysth County and with the construction of two interchanges on the Winston-Salem Northern By-Pass within three miles of town, this area will see increased growth and change, making protection even more critical. After a decade of efforts, PLC is now extremely close to having protected the primary character of Bethania forever.Visit the Bethania Website