Visiting Historic Bethabara Park
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

By Patricia B. Mitchell

The site of the 1753 Moravian settlement of Bethabara, North Carolina, is now commemorated as Historic Bethabara Park. The park includes interpretive reconstructions of colonial-era community and medicinal gardens, and contains several structures which are related to Moravian foodways.


The Gemeinhaus (Community House) at Bethabara was designed by Moravian Wachovia tract leader Frederic Marshall, and constructed in 1788. The Bethabara Moravian Congregation, formed by settlers who arrived at Bethabara in November 1753, used this as their church home from 1788 until 1952, when a modern structure was begun a block away, just out of sight to the northwest (left) along Bethabara Road. The Gemeinhaus is still used by the congregation on special occasions.

Bethabara's Gemeinhaus is now the only German colonial-era church with attached living quarters for the pastor which remains in the United States.

Gemeinhaus Detail

The Gemeinhaus is seen here during the Christmas season, touched by a snowfall and decorated with a wreath.

Distiller's House

This structure was built in 1803 for Bethabara's distiller Hermann Buttner and his wife, after a fire destroyed the 1756 brewery and distillery. The rear wing of this house was added in 1938. It is the only remaining distiller's house in Forsyth County.

Potter's House

This, the oldest brick house in Forsyth County, North Carolina, was built in 1782 by Johannes Shaub, Jr., for use as his home and as a dyer shop. Subsequently, the buliding was owned as a home and pottery by Gottlob Krause (1789) and John Butner (1802).

These potters provided many of the food preparation and storage utensils for the Bethabara community and surrounding area.

Potter's House Entrance

A front view of the Krause-Butner house shows brick walls in Flemish bond above a foundation of stone rubble which is plastered and rusticated to simulate cut stone. This rubble wall construction is also seen at nearby Old Salem.

Log House Front

The log house was constructed around 1816 with a Federal-style form, and later modified with Greek Revival details.

Log House Rear

Rear of log house.


German settlers often sought locations with black walnut trees since the walnuts' presence can indicate limestone-rich soil, superior for farming. Walnuts on the ground in front of the log house at Bethabara are a reminder of this early emphasis.

Calf Barn

This circa 1800 barn was moved here and restored in 1993. Its location is that of a calf barn which is seen on a 1766 map of Bethabara. That original barn was built in 1765, and consisted of two structures similar to this one, with a connecting roof covering an open area.

Cattle were important to the Bethabara community for both meat and milk products. October 1774 entries in the Bethabara Diary mention purchase of 3,000 pounds of butter by the local store, and over 1,000 cattle being driven through on the way to Pennsylvania.


Related Books

By Patricia B. Mitchell

Available at museums throughout the United States, or directly from the publisher.

German Cooking in America

German Cooking in America

Colonial Spices and Herbs

Colonial Spices and Herbs

At the Table in Colonial America

At the Table in Colonial America

Colonial Christmas Cooking

Colonial Christmas Cooking