About This Place
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 24,802 according to 2010 U.S. Census. While Salem is politically separate from Roanoke County, the Roanoke County courthouse is located there ; 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 from 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. 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 built west of the town in 1752. Salem's Andrew Lewis Middle School was named after General Lewis. Salem became 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, receiving its charter in 1806. It is not known why the town was named Salem; the most widely accepted explanation is that it was named to honor William Bryan, a prominent citizen, who had moved from Salem, New Jersey. Salem was attacked twice by the Union Army during the American Civil War, but its Salem Flying Artillery is said to have fired the last Confederate shot at Appomattox Court House prior to Robert E. Lee's surrender. One of the city’s four elementary schools is named African American scientist G.W. Carver. Before integration, this was the high school for African Americans in Salem.