The origin of the town of Salem dates to January 1753, when Bishop August Gottlieb Spangenberg, selected a settlement site in the three forks of Muddy Creek. He called this area “die Wachau” named after the ancestral estate of Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf.
For many years only members of the Moravian Church were permitted to live in the settlement. This practice had ended by the American Civil War. Many of the original buildings in the settlement have been restored or rebuilt and are now part of Old Salem Museums & Gardens.