•    The early history of Winston-Salem...

    and Wachovia Bank, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company,

    the Hanes companies, Hanes Park,

    and R.J. Reynolds High School &

    Richard J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium

    Information in this historical document is continually being updated as new information becomes known. A lot of this information comes from Wikipedia and Wikipedia-like sources...and some of it is copied directly from books. Since this document will never be published (because it is presented as a free public service to all who read it): royalties will not come into play, because absolutely no income will EVER be received from this. Hopefully everything in it is 100% correct.  If you find any errors, please send an email to Harrry Corpening (who wrote and researched this document) at RJRhighschool@aol.com with them.

    In 1849, the North Carolina legislature created the new county of Forsyth out of part of what was then Stokes County.  Forsyth County was named in honor of Colonel Benjamin Forsyth, a respected landowner in Stokes County. Colonel Forsyth distinguished himself in battle during the War of 1812 at Odelltown, Canada, where he was mortally wounded.

    Co. Benjamin Forsyth

    Col. Benjamin Forsyth

    Also in 1849, the town of Winston was officially  founded. It was named after a local Revolutionary War hero, Joseph Winston. Colonel Winston was officially honored by the NC General Assembly for his gallantry during the War. (The black statute of a gentleman on a horse in front of City Hall is in honor of him). Winston quickly established itself as a bustling industrial town.

    Col. Joseph Winston

    Col. Joseph Winston

    In 1851, the town of Winston was named as the county seat of Forsyth County...after Salem declined. The courthouse square was laid one mile north of Salem Square (which was the middle of the village of Salem)…. with plans for the one major road in these two towns to be extended so that they would intersect.

    For reference only:  in 1860, North Carolina was a slave state, in which about one-third of the total population of essentially 1 million citizens were enslaved African Americans. This was a smaller proportion than many southern states. In addition, the state had a substantial number of free negroes:  just over 30,000. The state did not vote to join the Confederacy until President Abraham Lincoln called on it to invade its sister-state, South Carolina. Thus N.C. became the last state to join the Confederacy.  Even after secession, some North Carolinians refused to support the Confederacy. This was particularly true of non-slave-owning farmers in the state's mountains and western Piedmont region.

    For the sake of reference, the Civil War was fought between 1861 to 1865

    The first known reference to the term "Winston-Salem" was the writing on the awning of the local post office (a picture of which, from 1898, follows).

    Winston-Salem Post Office

    In 1913, the two towns of Winston and Salem merged to form the "twin city" of Winston-Salem.  For the sake of reference, World War 1 was fought between 1914 and 1918.

    Let’s start out with one of the best known names in the history of Winston-Salem:  R.J. Reynolds…

    Richard Joshua Reynolds was born in 1850. He was the son of prosperous tobacco planter and manufacturer Hardin W. Reynolds (and his wife Jane) of Chritz, Virginia (in Patrick County).  They lived at what was called the Rock Spring Plantation.  Richard was part of a large family, and worked on the family tobacco plantation, and in the tobacco factory, and at the general store his father owned.  Though he had access to quality education, he always struggled with it.  He excelled at selling the family's tobacco products across the south.

    He ended up entering into a business partnership with his father.  In 1874 he sold his interest in the family tobacco business to his dad and moved 60 miles south to Winston, North Carolina. Later in his life he said he came to Winston "for the benefit of the railroad facilities" and "on account of this town being located in the center of the belt in which the finest tobacco in the world is grown."  Although the town of Winston had only a few hundred residents and no paved roads, Mr. Reynolds saw two potential keys to business success: Winston was a production center for flue-cured tobacco leaf, and the town sat on a newly built railroad line (that would later become part of the Norfolk & Western Railroad). Reynolds invested $7,500 in land and machinery and built and equipped a small factory in a small wooden two-story building he named "The Little Red Factory," to manufacture flat plug chewing tobacco, in 1875. In 1888, Mr. Reynolds formed a formal partnership with his youngest brother William Neal Reynolds and company bookkeeper, Henry Roan. Richard served as President with 75 percent ownership and William Neal and Henry Roan divided the remainder. 

     RJ Reynolds

    Richard Joshua Reynolds

    In addition to his keen entrepreneurship, R.J. was known for his fairness in business dealings and for the genuine interest and concern with which he treated his employees. Furthermore, the growing success of the company brought about positive changes for both whites and African Americans in the city’s businesses, hospitals, orphanages, colleges, and churches. Not only did Reynolds open doors to economic development in the region, he also began a legacy of family charitable giving that continues today.  Richard Joshua Reynolds was a key player in the industrialization of the New South. 

    Richard S. Reynolds, Sr. (R.J. Reynolds’ nephew) left the University of Virginia in 1903 to go to work in Winston for him.  He induced Mr. R.J. Reynolds to switch from the production of chewing to smoking tobacco…and hence, was partially responsible for the creation of Camel cigarettes.  He devised a moisture-preserving tobacco tin.  In 1912, Mr. Reynolds resigned to enter business for himself. In 1919 he started a company (the US Foil Company) in Louisville, KY, that later became known as Reynolds Metals Co. This company first supplied lead and tin foil wrappers to cigarette and candy companies. Later, it was responsible for the invention and manufacture of Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil.

    Richard S. Reynolds

    Richard S. Reynolds, Sr.

    Now for the history of Wachovia Bank.

    William A. Lemly decided in 1879 to relocate his bank from the quiet Moravian village of Salem to the bustling county seat of Winston, and he needed more than a crew of movers. Although the relocation involved moving only a few blocks up the street, changing towns required a new charter and a new name.

    William A. Lemly

    William A. Lemly

    Both became effective on June 16, 1879, with the opening of the doors of the new Wachovia National Bank. The bank started business with capital of $100,000, which its directors felt was "very adequate."

    Fourteen years later, on June 15, 1893, North Carolina's first trust company - Wachovia Loan and Trust Company - opened its doors for business in the rapidly growing town of Winston. Its two-man staff was headed by a prominent textile and railroad entrepreneur, Francis Henry Fries (pronounced "freeze") and Henry Shaffner.  One bit of interesting info about this trust company:  in the early days, all the money the trust and loan company had was put into a small tin container by Mr. Fries, and he placed it under his bed each night.

     Francis Henry Fries

    Francis Henry Fries

    A little history about Salem and the Moravians that lived there. …

    The name Moravian identifies the fact that this historic church had its origin in ancient Bohemia and Moravia in what is the present-day Czech Republic.  The movement that would develop into the Moravian Church was started by a Christian priest named John Hus. The church was established as a reaction against alleged errors within the Roman Catholic Church. Hus wanted the practices of the church in Bohemia and Moravia to return to the allegedly "purer" practices of early Christianity: liturgy in the language of the people, having lay people receive communion in both kinds (bread and wine), eliminating indulgences of the Roman Catholic Church and the idea of purgatory.  Hus was accused of heresy, underwent a long trial at the Council of Constance, and was burned at the stake on July 6, 1415.

    John Hus

    John Hus

    In 1722, with the Moravians being persecuted in Moravia and Bohemia, Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorff of Saxony (in present-day Germany) formed the community of Herrnhut on his estate (which was formed as a safe refuge for these folks).  He instilled the teachings of Unitas Fratrum within this community.  Unitas Fratrum was the original name of what became the Moravian Church…and was the way the Church was set up (establishing the hierarchy of this organization).  Have you ever heard your preacher say “what would happen if everyone in this church were a missionary?”  In Herrnhut, everyone was a missionary.  Count Zinzendorf encouraged them to keep the discipline of the Unitas Fratrum, and he gave them the vision to take the gospel to the far corners of the globe.  Herrnut had a theocracy type of government with its various rules and regulations.

    Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorff

    Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorff

    The Moravians were some of the earliest Protestants, rebelling against the authority of the Pope more than a hundred years before Martin Luther. One unusual and (for its time) shocking belief was the group's eventual focus on universal education.  They believed in educating everyone: men and women (and started the first educational institution for women in the United States:  Salem College).  They also educated their slaves. 

    They also sent out (to all parts of the world) some of the first Christian missionaries…especially to places with harsh climates.  Unique to their way of sending missionaries:  they sent laymen with skills as opposed to the other religious sects that sent mainly clergy.  John and Edith Kilbuck were missionaries sent from the Home Moravian Church to Alaska.  John grew up in Kansas, and Edith grew up in Salem (having been Edith Roemig). 

    The Moravians sent missionaries to America, and they settled in Pennsylvania in 1741 in settlements that became known as Bethlehem and Nazarath.

    The Moravians' received all of what was essentially most of modern day Forsyth County in a land grant from Lord Granville. A group of Moravians went to survey this 100,000 acre tract of land in North Carolina (between the 3 forks of the Muddy Creek that came to be called Wachau … named in honor of the estate of Count Zinzendorf). Wachau came from the German words "die Wach au" - "Wach" was the name of a stream on the Count’s estate, and "au" means "meadowland". The name later anglicized to “Wachovia.”  

    Bethabara was the site where fifteen settlers from the Moravian Church in Bethlehem first settled in 1753 in an abandoned cabin.   Its early settlers were noted for advanced agricultural practices, especially their "Medicine Garden," which produced over fifty kinds of herbs. Bethabara grew slowly and today is that area which is known locally as "Old Town".  Although later parties of Moravians joined the first fifteen, including women and children, Bethabara was never meant to be a permanent settlement. It was intended to house the Moravians until a more suitable location for their central village could be found.

    Bethania was the first planned Moravian settlement in Wachovia, and was founded in 1759 as a congregational, agricultural, and trades community.  Whereas Bethabra could only be inhabited by folks that were committed Moravians, Bethania had both Moravians (believers) as well as non-believers (who agreed to live by the standards set up by the Moravians).

    In 1771, the place for their central village was chosen, and it was called Salem (which in Hebrew means peace).  The guidance of the Lord was sought for selection of a new town by a drawing of lots among sites which were suitable. One of the options in the drawing of lots was the location of Richard J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium. 

    After 5 years of construction, folks moved into Salem in 1776.

    Salem and Raleigh have a unique distinction among cities in N.C.: they are the only 2 pre-planned cities (in that plans were drawn up as to where all buildings and roads would be located).  The center of the Moravian life was the church, and thus Home Church was the center of the village of Salem.  There is a cupula on top of the church that reads 1800….the year the church was built.

    Is there anything in your extended family that still works today like it worked over 220 years ago?  The church bell at Home Church rings today on the hour during each hour of sunlight…..the same as it did in 1800.

    The Moravians here still celebrate the lovefeasta Christmas service where sweet buns are served with hot coffee.  It is a service rooted in a religious experience the Moravians had (i.e., the renewal of the church) on the Hernhutt estate in 1727.  It was during the time that Count Zinzendorf sent food to them so the congregation could continue without interruption.  The first lovefeast occurred in 1727.

    Moravians continue to use older and traditional music in worship. In addition, Moravians are buried in a traditional God's Acre, a graveyard organized by gender, age, and marital status rather than family.  Salem's God's Acre is the site of the world famous Easter Sunrise Service, where thousands of people gather in the early morning to celebrate Christ's Resurrection.

    The Home Moravian Church is still the largest Moravian parish in the United States.  Ten percent of the population in Salem were slaves in the 1800's.

    The church owned all slaves in the community of Salem, and leased them out as potters, carpenters and bricklayers to citizens when needed. White citizens addressed black residents as sister and brother, and church leaders required that slaves be paid a nominal wage and be provided with adequate clothing and tools. In time, most of the African Americans became bilingual, since they had to speak German to communicate with whites.  Both white and black townspeople attended church--and were buried--side by side. Salem's biracial harmony didn't last forever; and by the early 19th century, white Moravians began to adopt the segregationist perspective of the rest of the South. In addition, many of the citizens felt that allowing blacks to worship with whites would give the slaves the impression that they were equal, and that (they believed) could only lead to slave revolts and other problems. By 1822, sadly, Salem was one community with two churches sitting almost side by side (one for whites and another for slaves).  St. Philip's, the church for the slaves, is one of the oldest churches in the South.

    What was taking place world-wide in the later 1800’s and the early 1900’s?  The Industrial Revolution.

    In 1835 the business leaders of the Moravian congregation of Salem took the first step in moving textile crafts (being created in the town) from a cottage industry to mass production. With the approval of the church elders, Francis Levin Fries and other local businessmen organized the Salem Manufacturing Company to build a factory on the western edge of Salem. The next year Fries was dispatched to New England to study textile manufacturing processes. The Salem Cotton Mill began operations in 1837.

    Francis ("Franz") Leven Fries

    Francis ("Franz") Leven Fries

    He left that firm, and created the Fries Manufacturing Company in 1839, which later became the F and H Fries Manufacturing Company (in 1846). His son, Francis Henry Fries, became a partner in the firm at age twenty-one (in 1876). In 1881 Francis built Arista Mills, the first mill in North Carolina to have electric lights. Shortly afterward, he started Indera Mills. In 1887, at the urging of R.J. Reynolds and others, Fries assumed the task of building a 122-mile railroad to cross the mountains to connect Winston and Salem to Roanoke. Completed in 1891 at a cost of $2 million, the Roanoke and Southern Railway, which Fries served at times as president and general manager, became part of the Norfolk and Western rail system in 1892.

    To get back to Wachovia Bank: 

    Francis Henry Fries in 1893 went into banking as President of the first trust company in North Carolina:  the Wachovia Loan and Trust Company.  And just as Mr. R.J. Reynolds wanted a railroad built for his company, he also wanted a bank in Winston-Salem that was large enough for his company….and he hoped that the bank that Francis worked for (Wachovia) would become that bank.

    Eighteen years later in 1911, the two Wachovia's merged to form Wachovia Bank and Trust Company.

    Now for the history of the Hanes companies….

    Following the Civil War, brothers Pleasant Henderson ("P.H.") Hanes and John Wesley Hanes began selling plug tobacco from wagons they guided throughout North Carolina. In 1872 the brothers started the P.H. Hanes Tobacco Company in Winston. Anna Hodgin married John Wesley Hanes in 1879 (and R.J. Reynolds was chosen to be Best Man at their wedding).  Pleasant and John shepherded the P.H. Hanes Tobacco Company through two factory fires until they had built the third largest tobacco business in America. A serious illness to John in 1900 made the brothers decide they wanted to cash-in on their investment. Thus, they sold their business to the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company that year.  For quite a few years after that, the brothers were the largest holders of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. stock outside the Reynolds family. When John regained his health, the Hanes brothers re-invested their profits into the textile industry - but as independent proprietors.

    Pleasant Henderson Hanes

    Pleasant Henderson Hanes

     John Wesley Hanes

    John Wesley Hanes

    John Wesley Hanes concentrated on men’s stockings and named his company Shamrock Mills.  John’s health broke again and he died in 1903.  His son James Gordon Hanes, Sr. took the helm in 1903 at his father's death. He found the company debt-ridden, but within five years—through his skillful management—the firm had become solvent and was renamed the Hanes Hosiery Mills. He was elected president of the company in 1917 and chairman of the board of directors in 1938, a post he held with pronounced success and expansive growth until his retirement. In 1918, the company expanded its product line to include women's socks.  In 1938, working with DuPont, they introduced nylon into their hosiery and became the first company to start producing pantyhose in the 1960's. Hanes is credited with the company’s famous advertising tagline, “Nature gives you seamless legs. Hanes gives you seamless nylons.” Hanes Hosiery Mills became recognized as the "world's largest producer of women's seamless nylon hoisery."  Subsequent corporate actions included the spin-off of the L'eggs brand in 1972 and the sale of the company to Sara Lee in 1979.  

    Hanes believed that businessmen should serve their communities. He was a city alderman from 1917 to 1921, Winston-Salem’s mayor from 1921 to 1925, and served on the Forsyth County Commissioners from 1927 to 1950, many of those years as chairman. In office he oversaw the annexation of Waughtown, West Highlands, and Buena Vista, the erection of schools and fire stations, and worked toward desegregation. The citizens of Winston-Salem loved him, because the annexation of the above 3 mentioned areas meant that a lot of expensive homes owned by wealthy residents were brought into the City limits...which meant the real estate taxes from these homes would be added to the city's financial coffers. He was a very astute businessman, with conservative leanings.  He made sure the budget was balanced, and that extra spending by the City only happened when times were good. These annexations will be discussed again later in this document when the widow of Richard J. Reynolds (Katharine Smith Reynolds) is discussed.  Mr. Hanes married Emmie Dewry in 1911, and they had one son (James G. Hanes, Jr.).  Regrettably, Emmie died in 1916.   James married Molly Ruffin in 1924, and regrettably she died in 1957.  Also that year, the James G. Hanes Memorial Fund was created.

    James G. Hanes, Sr.

    James Gordon Hanes, Sr.

    James’ son James Gordon Hanes, Jr, (”Gordon”) married Helen Greever Copenhaver on August 30, 1941. Instead of going by Helen Greever Copenhaver Hanes, she made things simple, and told folks to call her Copey.”  As husband and wife, Gordon and Copey threw their support behind schools and colleges, churches, galleries, museums, libraries, and individuals who needed help.  The James G. Hanes Memorial Fund is overseen by Gordon and Copey’s children.

    James Gordon Hanes, Jr.

    James Gordon Hanes, Jr.

    The 32-acre estate of James G. Hanes, Sr. is the home of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Arts (SECCA).

    Southeastern Center for Contemporary Arts

    Southeastern Center for Contemporary Arts

    P.H. Hanes created a plant to manufacture a new type of knitwear: men’s heavyweight, two-piece underwear.   Mr. Hanes continued to be in charge of his P.H. Hanes Knitting Company until his death in 1925 at the age of 79. The two firms continued to operate autonomously under the brothers’ descendants until 1962, when the two Hanes companies consolidated, back under the family name once again. 

    The John Wesley and Anna Hodgin Hanes Foundation was established in 1947 by their children.   Initially, the Foundation's mission was to improve the lives of the citizens of Forsyth County, North Carolina.  In 1958 with a subsequent gift by Robert M. Hanes (their son), its scope was broadened to include all of North Carolina, while continuing to have a distinct focus for Forsyth County citizens.  

    Robert M. Hanes

    Robert M. Hanes

    Another example of a child from a family with a history with one company going to work for and lead another company:  Robert M. Hanes was born to John and Anna Hanes.  After World War I, he started working for Wachovia.  He became its President in 1931.  He built a statewide powerhouse by buying up small banks to build Wachovia Bank and Trust into the first statewide banking network.  “He retired in 1956.  "He was the guiding and leading mind and spirit that gave cohesion to the efforts of all of us involved in the (formation of the Research) Triangle” noted NC Governor Luther M. Hodges in 1960, when he broke ground for the Robert M. Hanes Memorial Building in the Park.  He, besides sitting on the boards of many firms, served as a member of both houses of the NC General Assembly.

    Frank Borden Hanes was one of the sons of Robert Hanes.  He has supported many charitable causes and non-profit organizations via his lead charitable remainder trust.

     Frank Borden Hanes

    Frank Borden Hanes

    Lets return to RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company:

    Due to considerable expansion in the late 1890s, R.j. Reynolds was in need of large amounts of capital. Remember, for instance, in 1900 his R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. bought the P.H. Hanes Tobacco Co. from the Hanes brothers. Reluctantlyhe turned to his rival James Buchanan ("Buck") Duke (from Durham) for financial help.

     James Buchanan ("Buck") Duke

    James Buchanan ("Buck") Duke

    In 1898, Duke's American Tobacco Company established a subsidiary, Continental Tobacco Company, in an effort to monopolize the nation's chewing tobacco business. In April 1899, Mr. Reynolds sold two-thirds of his stock in RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. to Continental, but retained his position as president of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.  The RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company was one of fifteen in Winston.  Mr. Reynolds set his company apart from the others by including early use of saccharin to flavor the chew, and he used flu-cured tobacco instead of the standard burley.

    In late 1907, RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. introduced Prince Albert smoking tobacco, a unique mixture of burley and flue-cured tobacco. Prince Albert achieved instant success with the slogan "it can't bite your tongue."  Do you remember Richard S. Reynolds, RJ’s nephew?  He devised a moisture-preserving tobacco tin:  the Prince Albert tobacco tins.

    Prince Albert tobacco tin

    Prince Albert tobacco tin

    The tobacco trust, like most trusts during the first decade of the 20th century, proved to be unpopular. In 1911, a U.S. Circuit Court ordered the dissolution of the American Tobacco Company. American was forced to divest itself of all Reynolds stock. Mr. R.J. Reynolds and members of his family re-acquired some of the company's stock in 1912, when he re-acquired control of the company.

    Soon after achieving independence from the trust in 1912, Mr. Reynolds instituted a plan to get the company's stock into the hands of friendly investors. A company bylaw encouraged Reynolds' employees to buy company stock, and the board of directors approved the lending of surplus funds and profits to employees for the purchase of "A," or voting, stock. By 1924 the majority of the company's voting stock was in the hands of people who worked for the company. Soon all tobacco businesses began to emulate the Reynolds stock purchase plan.

    As early as 1912, R.J. Reynolds considered the production of cigarettes because of the great success that the Prince Albert brand had experienced. By July 1913, Reynolds had manufactured the company's first cigarette. He decided to produce three different cigarette brands simultaneously to see which one had the greatest public demand. He personally selected the blends--Turkish tobacco, burley, flue-cured--and the name of the brand that proved most popular: Camel (which became the first nationally popular cigarette in the United States).  The introduction of new tobacco blends and pioneering advertising propelled both Prince Albert smoking tobacco and Camel cigarettes to become first place in their fields in the tobacco product industry.

    The 20-cigarette pack (which is still the industry standard) was introduced by Reynolds Tobacco Co. in 1913, and in 1915 the company introduced the one-piece, 10-pack carton. In 1913, Reynolds Tobacco became the first company to package its cigarettes with a moisture-proof, sealed cellophane outerwrap to preserve freshness. The Camel brand became an instant success because of its blend, pricing, and advertising. Camels sold for ten cents a pack.  Reynolds spent more than $2 million in 1915 in an aggressive national advertising campaign. In 1919 the famous slogan "I'd walk a mile for a Camel" appeared. Reynolds also instituted the idea of selling cigarettes by the carton. Profits soared from $2.75 million in 1912 to nearly $24 million in 1924, largely because of the phenomenal sale of Camel cigarettes.

    Camel cigarette package

    Camel cigarette package

    Let’s look at another example of how members of a family that was associated with one company went on to run another company. One of the first employees hired at Wachovia Bank and Trust Company was James Alexander Gray, who became one of the first Vice Presidents of the bank

    James Alexander Gray

    James Alexander Gray

    James had 2 sons...James A. Jr. and Bowman Gray.  Bowman (the older of the 2 sons) left school in 1892 to become a clerk at Wachovia.  In 1895, he left Wachovia and began working at R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. as a salesman in Georgia.

    Bowman GrayBowman Gray

    His sales success propelled him into management after two years.  Bowman married Nathalie Lyons.  In 1924, he was promoted to President of the company, and in 1932 he became the Chairman of the Board of Directors. Between 1927 and 1932, he and his wife Nathalie oversaw the construction of Graylyn, their 60-room estate in the countryside surrounding Winston.

    Gryalyn

    Graylyn

    An aside:  he also donated the land on which Centenary United Methodist Church now sits, and was a very big supporter of that church. Three years after Graylyn's completion, in 1935, Gray died of a heart attack while vacationing with his family aboard a ship off the coast of Norway. He was buried at sea.  After Mr. Gray’s death, Mrs. Gray lived in the house until 1937, and each son lived on the estate for the first years of each of their marriages. In 1938, Mrs. Gray married Benjamin Bernard, and they lived in the guest cottage in the Graylyn estate, now called Bernard Cottage, until her death in 1961. In 1946, Mrs. Gray and her sons gave the estate to the Wake Forest School of Medicine. It was first used as a psychiatric hospital from 1947 until 1959 (and thus made possible the beginning of the psychiatry department at Bowman Gray School of Medicine), and then it was used for academic programs. In 1972, Gordon Gray (Bowman’s son) bought Graylyn back from the medical school, and on the same day donated it to Wake Forest  University.

    Gordon GrayGordon Gray

    On June 22, 1980, a fire ignited on the third floor of the Manor House during a performance on the lawn by the Winston-Salem Symphony.  An audience of 7,000 watched as the top floors of the unoccupied house burned.  On the following day, the president of Wake Forest University announced that the home would be restored to its original 1932 condition and be used as an educational conference center. It has been used by the university as a conference center ever since.

    James A Gray, Jr. (Bowman's brother and the other son of James Alexander Gray) started work at Wachovia National Bank in 1908.  

    James A. Gray, Jr.

    James A. Gray, Jr.

    One afternoon he was outside the original Wachovia Bank building (on the corner of 3rd and Main Street), cleaning the Wachovia sign. Mr. R.J. Reynolds was walking by, stopped, and said “I want you to come work for me.  Any executive who will take the time to clean the company sign has a lot of pride in what he is doing….and that is the type of person I want working for me.”  James started working for Reynolds Tobacco in 1920, and became the President in 1934.  His brother Bowman Gray had become President in 1924.  The year after becoming President, in 1935, James’ brother Bowman died unexpectedly while on a cruise in the North Sea. The loss was devastating.  Following Bowman Gray’s death, the entire Gray family worked tirelessly to bring a first class four-year medical school to Winston-Salem. The Bowman Gray School of Medicine opened in the fall of 1941.  It was created by bringing the medical school of Wake Forest College (which was located in Wake Forest, NC) to Winston-Salem, where it became a four-year School of Medicine in association with the North Carolina Baptist Hospital.   In 1947, he created the “James A. Gray Endowment” at the Winston-Salem Foundation, with a gift of $1.7 million.  He created this because of his belief that educating NC’s young people, both intellectually and morally, is the greatest hope for a strong future.  This endowment supports 11 educational institutions in NC.

    Now, to back up a minute.  Remember that Mr. R.J. Reynolds and his youngest brother William Neal and book-keeper Henry Roan started R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company? William Neal Reynolds followed his older brother R.J. as the President of Reynolds Tobacco Co. (when R.J. died).

    William Neal Reynolds

    William Neal Reynolds

    He married Kate B. Bitting. William Neal was a great sportsman.  He and Kate later built and lived at Tanglewood, where he raised and bred race horses.  William Neil Reynolds (referred to by his employees as "Mr. Will") was active in the creation of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.  It was established in 1936 as a memorial to the youngest son of R.J. Reynolds (Z. Smith Reynolds, who died of a gun-shot wound at the age of 21). 

    Smith Reynolds married Anne Ludlow Cannon soon after he turned eighteen at her father's insistence. She was the daughter of Joseph Franklin Cannon of the Cannon Mills fortune. They had a daughter known as Anne Cannon II. They were divorced in Reno, Nevada. 

    Z. Smith Reynolds

    Smith Reynold

    Z. Smith Reynolds married the Jewish Broadway theatre actress and torch singer Libby Holman (who was said to have had a scandalous tarnished reputation) in the parlor of a Justice of the Peace in Reno, just days after his divorce from Anne was final.

    Smith wanted Libby to abandon her acting career. She consented by taking a one-year leave of absence. During this time, however, his conservative family was unable to bear Libby and her group of theater friends, who at her invitation often visited Reynolda, the family estate.  Accusations and arguments among them were common. On July 6, 1932, during a 21st birthday party Smith gave at Reynolda for his friend and flying buddy Charles Gideon Hill, Jr. (who was also Smith's first wife Anne Cannon Reynolds's first cousin). Libby revealed to Smith she was pregnant. A tense argument ensued. Moments later, a shot was heard, and friends soon discovered Z. Smith Reynolds bleeding and unconscious due to a pistol shot to the head. Libby and Albert Bailey "Ab" Walker, a friend of Reynolds (and a supposed lover of Libby), were indicted for murder. The Reynolds family contacted the local authorities and had the charges dropped for fear of scandal. Though Reynolds' death was ruled a suicide by the authorities, it is still a scandalous affair. Libby's child, Christopher Smith "Topper" Reynolds, was born premature, but led a healthy life.

    Four years later in 1936, the brother and two sisters of Z. Smith Reynolds provided that their inheritance from his estate would go to the establishment of a trust for "charitable works in the State of North Carolina." One of the initial trustees of the Foundation was William Neal Reynolds, who at his death in 1951 created a trust that now provides a portion of the Foundation's annual income.  He later erected and equipped a hospital in Winston-Salem for African Americans, and named it the Kate Bitting Memorial Hospital in honor of his deceased wife.  The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust was also created at her death.  The Trust is made up of two divisions, which today are known as: (a) The Health Care Division (which receives three-fourths of the funds distributed), responds to health and wellness needs and invests in solutions that improve the quality of health for financially needy residents of North Carolina. (b) The Poor and Needy Division (which receives one-fourth of the funds distributed), responds to basic life needs and invests in solutions that improve the quality of life for financially needy residents of Forsyth County. 

    His Tanglewood estate was left as "a public park, playground, and amusement center for the white race," but in time the City of Winston-Salem acquired it and opened it to the general public.

    entrance to Tanglewood

    entrance to Tanglewood

    The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation received the remainder of his estate to benefit various charitable causes in the state.  Part of that estate was a house he had built (and lived in) where the downtown Public Library now stands. That land was donated for the Library. However, interestingly, if the Library moves, the land (and thus the building) goes back to the Z Smith Reynolds Foundation. Duke University was an early beneficiary of his philanthropy, but he afterwards turned his attention to North Carolina State College (as shown by the creation of the William Neal Reynolds Coliseum), and still later to Wake Forest College (via the creation of the Reynolds Gymnasium).

    Reynolds Tobacco Company prospered under R.J. Reynolds's paternalistic leadership….and continued to do so for decades after his death.  When he realized that his youngest brother was the only family member that was interested in working for Reynolds Tobacco Company, he selected the Gray brothers to follow his brother in management. William Neal Reynolds assumed the presidency after his brother's death, and remained in that position until 1924 when he was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors, with Bowman Gray, Sr., appointed President.  This insured the perpetuation of R.J. Reynolds's management philosophy and provided a continuity of leadership from people inside the company.

    Let’s look at another one of the influential folks at Reynolds Tobacco Company:  Mr. R.E. Lassiter. No one knows anything about his history, but Mr. Lassiter became the treasurer for RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co., and had a background of, and great interest in, the arts.  He brought architect Charles Barton Keen to Winston to build his house (at the corner of Fifth Street and Broad Street).  Mr. Keen later drew up the plans for the Reynolda House and RJ Reynolds High School and Richard J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium.

    Let’s take a couple of minutes to look at R.J. Reynolds’ family life……

    RJ Reynolds married Katharine Smith from Mt. Airy.  Their picture is below...

    R.J. and Katharine Smith Reynolds

    In Katharine, his first cousin once removed, he found an astute partner and a loving wife and mother. Though thirty years his junior, she was a capable business woman with a vision for her home and the betterment of her community. Katharine was the oldest of six children of a prosperous local businessman, Zachary T. Smith and his wife, Mary Susan Jackson. Katharine was well educated and first attended the State Normal and Industrial College, now known as the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. After a typhoid epidemic broke out 1899, she transferred to Sullins College in Bristol, Virginia, where she graduated in 1902. She went to work for RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. as a secretary, and became the private secretary of Mr. RJ Reynolds. They married in 1905. At the time of their marriageshe was 25 years old. Following a four-month honeymoon trip across Europe, they settled into a Queen Anne-style house located on West Fifth Street in Winston, only a mile west of the tobacco factories. Below is a picture of their home...

    Reynolds' house

    The couple had a genuinely affectionate and close relationship, and R.J. respected Katharine’s judgment and sought her advice on both business and private matters. As the wife of the wealthiest man living in the state, Katharine took on many social and civic responsibilities. In addition, between 1906 and 1911 she gave birth to four children: Dick, Mary, Nancy, and Smith.  Below is a picture of them with their children.

    Reynolds family

    Katharine proved equal to her husband in drive and initiative, playing the dominant role in the creation of a self-sufficient country estate. Though her husband’s fortune financed the purchases, her name alone stands on the deeds. Altogether she acquired twenty-five tracts of land totaling 1,067 acres.

    Katharine Smith Reynolds

    Katharine Smith Reynolds

    It was Katharine who conceived the idea of and built Reynolda.

     Reynolda Houss

    Reynolda House

    While unusual in its feminine ownership as well as its scope, Reynolda was not unique, but part of a nationwide trend called the American Country House movement. Many of Katharine's ideas were influenced by, and contributed to, this phenomenon, which embraced large houses in park-like settings, with extensive recreational facilities.

    Katharine used architect Charles Barton Keen to design the house she and Richard would live in (which is now called the Reynolda House Gardens and Arts Museum).  Whereas the trend up till then (in designing larger homes) was to make them taller, Mr. Keen designed Reynolda House horizontally (and thus it “spreads out” as opposed to goes up).  Mr. Keen also designed about 30 houses in Winston-Salem, and also was the architect for R.J. Reynolds High School and Richard J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium.  There were a lot of porches in the Reynolda House….as “open air spaces” was the only thing known at the time that was a good way of not being afflicted by tuberculosis (which was affecting a lot of Americans at that time).

    Well before the Reynolds family moved to Reynolda, in December of 1917, the village became a thriving community of farm supervisors and workers and their families.  Below is an early picture of the Reynolda Estate.

    Reynolda Estate

    Katharine hired experts in areas such as agriculture, dairying, and horticulture, all of whom contributed to the maintenance, appearance, and well-being of the estate. Most residents found nearly everything they needed at Reynolda—abundant food, schools, places of worship, a post office, and recreational facilities.

    The only black employees living in Reynolda Village were domestic workers with lead roles in the house: the major domo John Carter and his wife Marjorie, and the chauffeur Cleveland Williams. Other African American employees who did not live in town lived on Five Row, a cluster of clapboard houses on the other side of Reynolda Road. The Five Row community had its own school and church.

    At Reynolda, Katharine Reynolds established a model farm where local farmers could learn the benefits of soil analysis, crop rotation, and other progressive agricultural methods not widely known in the region. She grew a wide range of vegetables and fruits, encouraging her neighbors to do the same, as health and nutrition were very important to her. Methods proved so successful, much of the excess produce went to market or was sent to local lunch rooms, hotels, and cafes.

    In addition to produce, Katharine introduced two herds of Jersey cattle, one for milk and the other for show. At the beginning of the 20th century, tuberculosis was the leading cause of death in the United States and was spread through milk from infected cows. The Reynolda dairy, one of the most modern in the country, was established in response to a statewide call for greater production of clean milk. In addition, Tamworth hogs, Shropshire sheep, and poultry provided the Reynolds family with a varied supply of meat, while the Jerseys and Percheron horses were bred to improve the stock in the region.

    Extensive outdoor recreational facilities were another feature of turn-of-the-century country estates. Reynolda supported a full range of sporting facilities, including stables, an outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, and a golf course. Canoeing and fishing in Lake Katharine were especially popular with village residents.

    As a woman of privilege and wealth, Katharine sought social progress and progressive reform, as evidenced in her push for reforms in the tobacco factory. This progressive thinking was due in part to her being educated at the State Normal and Industrial School in Greensboro (which is now known as UNC Greensboro), which was the most progressive college for women in North Carolina at that time. The reforms she wanted included amenities such as hot lunches and water fountains for a nursery for working women. In addition, she was an active member of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), which provided educational and recreational opportunities for young working women, and she served as President of the local Winston-Salem chapter in 1917. During World War I, through the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company, she made monetary contributions to the Red Cross to aid in shelter, food, and supplies overseas. She formed a local chapter with several other prominent women.  Outside of her extensive organizational donations, she donated to many religious causes, helping build churches and supporting missionary activities and programs.

    In memory of her first husband, she donated funds for the land for RJ Reynolds High School, and on that same land:  she built and donated to the City what is now known as the Richard J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium . A lavish music festival was held on May 8-11 for the dedication of the  Auditorium, just weeks before Katharine would pass away. A souvenir program for the events says: "In 1919, the City of Winston-Salem, in the course of its extended school building program, planned a model high school, and wished to honor the memory of Richard J. Reynolds, by naming it 'The Richard J. Reynolds High School.' It seemed to his wife, now Mrs. J. Edward Johnston, that a memorial of this kind was very fitting, since Mr. Reynolds was so interested in the development of this city. Mrs. Johnston had wanted to erect some really worthwhile memorial personally, and when notified of the action of the city authorities, it seemed that this endeavor, which would be so closely identified with the life of the people, young and old, presented the opportunity for which she was looking. She therefore notified the city that she would be glad to give a suitable site upon which to erect the high school, the selection to be left to the City, and to present as a personal memorial, a beautiful auditorium in connection with the high school building."

    The creation of RJ Reynolds High School and Richard J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium is explained in much more detail later on in the documentary.

    Mr. Reynolds used his wealth to the benefit of the community.  He started a savings and loan that serviced his employees, helped bring the first YMCA to the region, helped establish Slater Industrial Academy (which later became Winston-Salem State University), and was the first Southern man to establish a hospital for blacks (Slater Hospital). 

    The Reynolds family moved into the Reynolda House in December 1917. R.J. was already seriously ill with pancreatic cancer, and the first public event that took place at Reynolda after they moved was his funeral on July 29, 1918. As a widow with four children still under the age of twelve, Katharine sought company among the teachers she had hired for her newly founded Reynolda School. Common interest in education drew Katharine to the Reynolda School’s principal, J. Edward Johnston, who became her second husband in 1921. While continuing to support her flourishing model farm, dairy, and schools, Katharine and Edward added a new dimension to the activities on the estate. For a brief period it became a setting for pageants, musical recitals, and large social gatherings. As polo became popular, crowds gathered at the new Reynolda polo field to watch Winston-Salem Polo Club matches.

    Katharine wanted to be a good wife for Edward, and part of her fulfilling this mission was to a bear a child for them. She was warned not to become pregnant, as she suffered from conjunctive heart failure. However, she did become pregnant.  She and her new husband, along with her children Mary, Nancy, and Smith, moved into a New York apartment to have easier access to doctors for the pregnancy. On the night of May 1, 1922, a baby girl, Lola Katharine Johnston, was born to the couple. Sadly, Lola passed away a day later at 11 o'clock in the morning.

    Despite the danger of suffering from conjunctive heart failure, she became pregnant again in late 1923. The Johnstons again moved to New York for better medical access. On May 21, 1924, she gave birth to a son:  J. Edward Johnston Jr. However, due to complications of an embolism caused by this childbirth, Katharine would pass away days later at the age of 44 on May 23, 1924. Not long thereafter, Edward and the baby moved to Baltimore, and for the next ten years the Reynolda estate was held in trust until all the heirs came of age.

    After her death, Mr. Johnston created a memorial for his late wife—originally located behind one of Katharine's local creations: the Reynolda Presbyterian Church—called the Katharine Johnston Memorial Circle.  Johnston intended for Katharine, and himself eventually, to be interred at the site.  However, Katharine's son Dick insisted her grave remain at Salem Cemetery, where she was buried beside her first husband.  The principle piece of the memorial, an obelisk made of Mt. Airy granite, presently resides behind the Judy Voss Jones Center on the campus of R.J. Reynolds High School.  Below is a picture of that obelisk...

     obelisk...

    Mary Reynolds (the Reynolds’ oldest daughter) married Charles Babcock.  He was a successful investment banker, and formed a successful brokerage business in New York City.

    Charles and Mary Reynolds Babcock

    Charles and Mary Reynolds Babcock

    After the death of Mary’s mother (Katharine, in 1924), they eventually came to Winston-Salem and bought the Reynolda estate in 1935, and used it as their vacation house.  In 1938, Mary Reynolds Babcock founded Old Town Club in Winston-Salem, and built both the golf course and the clubhouse on the land that she owned adjacent to Reynolda. Her father, R.J. Reynolds, was fond of golf and actually built a 9-hole course in the front lawn. In 1944, Mrs. Babcock, gave Summit School (which at that time was located on Summit Street) a 4.5-acre plot of land from her Reynolda estate on which to build a new campus.  

    In 1948 they moved to Reynolda permanently….and remodeled it to fit their family's lifestyle. Charles became the treasurer for the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.  They soon realized that they could not financially keep up the 1,067 acre Reynolda estate.  Charles made the decision that for Winston-Salem to grow and prosper, it needed to have a large middle class of citizenry (which was almost completely missing at that time).  He decided that the best way to do this would be to create or bring a college into town that would educate folks (both male and female)…and thus enable them to take advantage of their education, and to prosper.  In 1946, the trustees of Wake Forest College and the Baptist State Convention of N.C. accepted a proposal by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to relocate Wake Forest College to Winston-Salem, where the medical school had moved five years earlier. The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation proposed that up to $350,000 a year of the income from the Foundation be given in perpetuity to Wake Forest College (which was located in Wake Forest, NC….east of Raleigh), provided that the entire College was relocated in Winston-Salem, and with the stipulation that other friends of the College would provide a campus site and buildings. In 1946 the Board of Trustees, the Baptist State Convention (which had originally founded Wake Forest), and the Baptist constituency of the State accepted this proposal. Charles Babcock and his wife Mary Reynolds Babcock contributed 350 acres from the Reynolda estate as the campus site. In October of 1951, President Harry Truman came to the future campus site for the official ground-breaking ceremony.  Between 1952 and 1956, the first 14 buildings were erected, in Georgian style architecture, on the new Winston-Salem campus. In 1956 the College moved all operations, leaving the 122-year-old campus in the town of Wake Forest to the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

      Wake Forest

    Wake Forest

    The Babcocks lived at Reynolda for 15 years.  It was opened to the public as an institution dedicated to the arts and education in 1965, and as an art museum in 1967….when Nick Bragg was hired as its Executive Director.  He held that position for 29 years, and during that time created a $27 million endowment for it.

    Mrs. Babcok's will called for the creation of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation – who’s mission plan today is “helping to move people and places out of poverty in southeastern America.”

    And now  to briefly discuss two of RJ Reynolds’ other children….. 

    Almost a century after her father founded R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Nancy Reynolds (who, because of marriages, was Nancy Reynolds Bagley Verney), his youngest daughter and last surviving childdecided to give back to the region where her father grew up.  In 1969, she deeded to Virginia Tech 710 acres of Rock Spring Plantation. In 1980 she deeded them another 7 acres where the family home and continuing education center stand.

    Nancy Reynolds Bagley Verney

    Nancy Reynolds Bagley Verney

    Concerning R.J. Reynolds, Jr. (who went by the name of Dick):  he did not want to be a part of the family business. He donated the family's house on West 5th Street for the County Library, as well as 185 acres to the City for a public park and gold course.  He ran unopposed in 1940 for Mayor of Winston-Salem, and annexed neighborhoods where wealthy families (including his own) had built outside the city limits, mainly to avoid the higher taxes. He clashed with aldermen who insisted there were no slums in the city.  He documented the crowded shanty towns where far too many people existed on meager resources in unsanitary living conditions.  With that information, he petitioned the federal government for housing assistance. Do you remember President Roosevelt’s fire-side chats?  Back then, the President had to pay for those time slots on the radio.  Only large political organizations could donate such a large amount of funds...since private individuals were outlawed from giving such large donations.  Dick Reynolds made loans to various state’s Democratic Parties for this expense.  President Roosevelt then named him to be the Treasurer of the National Democratic Party…and in that role, he went back to these various state organizations to get his loaned money back.  And at age 36, he joined the US Navy (during World War II) and was commissioned as a lieutenant commander on the USS Makin Island in the Seventh Fleet in the Pacific Theater.

    RJ ("Dick") Reynolds, Jr.

    RJ ("Dick") Reynolds, Jr.

    Now we conclude this historical document with the story of the simultaneous creation of RJ Reynolds High School, RJ Reynolds Memorial Auditorium, and Hanes Park...which took place in 1919. 

    Because we today (in the first month of 2022) are still experiencing a worldwide pandemic due to the coronavirus, it has to be remembered that the first pandemic to "hit" the United States started in 1918 (and it was referred to as the Spanish Flu).  The earliest cases were detected among military personnel serving at Camp Funston in Ft. Riley, Kansas.  The movement of troops probably helped spread the virus throughout the U.S. and Europe during the late spring.  This first wave was comparatively mild and had begun to die down in some areas. However, a second, more lethal wave began about August or September in 1918. During this wave:  pneumonia often developed quickly, with patients usually dying just two days after experiencing the first symptoms of the flu. As social distancing measures were enforced, the second wave began to die down toward the end of November. Once those measures were relaxed, however, a third wave began in the winter and early spring of 1919. Though not as deadly as the second wave, the third wave still claimed a large number of lives.  By summer of 1919, the virus had run its course.  In the United States, about 28% of the population of 105 million people became infected, and 500,000 to 850,000 died...meaning 0.48 to 0.81 of one percent of the population (which then totaled 106,500,000) died. Native American tribes were particularly hard hit.

    As stated earlier, Katharine Reynolds created a school on the Reynolda estate. The pupils included her own children, their friends, white and black children from Reynolda village, and the rural children from the neighborhood. She hired Charles Barton Keen to design and build the school building. Via an arrangement she had made with the Superintendent of the Forsyth County School System in the spring of 1918, this school was considered a part of the Forsyth County School System. The School System paid her an allowance for each student. (It must be noted that the school never broke even financially). She searched for a professional educator to be hired as the school principal, and found J. Edward Johnston (pictured below), who was considered very handsome.

    J. Edward Johnston

    J. Edward Johnston

    She quickly was smitten with Mr. Johnston, and they got married in 1921.  The Reynolda School opened in October of 1918, with three grades and three teachers. Within days, however, the city was stricken with the Spanish Flu epidemic. The disease hit close to home for Katharine.  When Katharine's daughter Nancy became ill, she sent for Jessie Hill, her husband's nurse while he was being treated for his failing health in Philadelphia. Miss Hill arrived by train, but fell fatally ill almost immediately, a victim of the flu. Katharine had to quarantine her entire househood, as well as Jessie's family, in hopes that no one else would suffer from the disease.  The school closed 3 days after it opened because of the spread of the flu in Forsyth County.

    In 1919, the City of Winston-Salem was looking to build a new high school.  The existing schools were wooden, and were not large enough to adequately handle all of the students.  The City wanted to construct more modern and fire-proof school buildings.  As stated earlier, the towns of Winston and Salem had merged in 1913, and the population in this municipality had essentially doubled since 1910…which meant that the number of children attending schools had also incredibly increased.  Also that year, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company had introduced Camel cigarettes.  In addition to that, the various Hanes companies (P.H. Hanes Knitting, Hanes Dye and Finishing, and Hanes Hosiery), as well as Indera Mills and Chatham Mills, were all doing very well (and all of these were labor intensive firms).  Folks were moving from all over to Winston-Salem for the jobs offered at these (and other) local businesses.  Below is a picture of Winston High School (which was located on Cherry Street).

    Winston High School

    In 1910, the town of Winston, NC was very fortunate to have Mr. R.H. Latham become the Superintendent of city schools (a position that he held for twenty-five years).  Among other things while in office, he instituted school libraries, added an eleventh grade, and improved the curriculum. 

     RH Latham

    R.H. Latham

    Being the Superintendent, he oversaw the search for property for new schools. The first proposed site considered for a new high school in 1919 was a parcel of land owned by Mr. P.H. Hanes (who happened to be one of those initially elected as a school commissioner).  This tract of land was on the western side of town, essentially adjacent to the West Highlands residential subdivision (which was also owned by Mr. Hanes).  Even though Mrs. Katharine Smith Reynolds (the widow of Richard J. Reynolds) had made a pledge to the Mayor of $50,000 to go towards the purchase of land for a new high school, a price could not be agreed upon. Thus, the search continued for another site. 

    P.H. Hanes

    Pleasant Henderson (PH) Hanes

     Katharine Smith Reynolds

    Katharine Smith Reynolds

    There was a parcel of land (held in Mr. Reynolds’ estate) between 3rd Street and 5th Street…just east of the City Hospital, that Mrs. Reynolds believed would make a very good site for this school.  On June 6th, she made another offer to Mayor R.W. Gorrell.  The front-page headlines of the Winston-Salem Journal the following day is shown below:

     headlines in local newspaper

    In this offer...which can be seen by clicking here ( * ), she stated this parcel could be purchased at a very reasonable price, that her offer of giving $50,000 towards the purchase of this land still stood, and if this parcel was selected:  she would also “erect a beautiful auditorium with a seating capacity of several thousand to form a central building of the group as a personal memorial” (to her deceased husband).  

    Also in June, Mr. P.H. Hanes made an offer to the City of 47 acres of land (from his West End Dairy cow pasture) for a public park.  The original plans for this contained allocation of space for a vocational high school and a gymnasium…as well as recreational facilities.  This would also have also served the purpose of being an enticement for folks to purchase lots in his West Highlands residential subdivision...which was located next to this.  (To read more about this subdivision, click here ( * ) to view an article written by Margaret Supplee Smith {“Historic Buena Vista”} in the April, 2017 edition of the Buena Vista Life Magazine).

     West End Dairy

    P.H. Hanes West End Dairy - established in 1906


    On July 3rd, Mrs. Reynolds made yet another offer to Mayor Gorrell…which can be seen by clicking here ( * ):  that she would purchase 25 acres located on a knoll (referred to as Silver Hill) directly above the proposed Hanes Park.  Her offer to spend $50,000 towards the purchase of that land still stood, and her offer to build an auditorium seating several thousand folks also still stood, as long as the high school buildings (which included her offer to build an auditorium) were built on that site, and were named for her deceased husband.

    Also on July 3rd, Mr. P.H. Hanes made another offer to the city…which can be seen by clicking here ( * ).  It stated he would donate a 47-acre tract (that used to be part of his West End Dairy) to be used forever as only a park and place where school buildings could be built. This park would have to be named the “P.H. Hanes Park,” would have to be developed per plans submitted by Mr. Louis J. Miller, would have to be kept up by the City, and could only be used as a public park with school buildings (and thus no roads nor rail lines nor homes nor businesses could ever be built in it).

    Below are the front-page headlines of the July 4, 1919 Winston-Salem Journal:

     headlines of local newspaper

    In the afternoon of July 3rd, a very important meeting was staged by Superintendent Latham.  As stated in the above mentioned July 4, 1919 edition of the Winston-Salem Journal:

    “Mr. Latham stated that a conference was held yesterday afternoon (July 3rd) when Mr. George W. Orr, representing Mrs. Reynolds, and Mr. P.H. Hanes each read the proposal of the other to be made to the city.  They looked over the proposals and found them satisfactory in all things concerned.  The offer of Mr. Hanes is for a park and playground, and it was agreed between the parties concerned that the high school plant may be located on the Reynolds’ property.  Mr. Hanes included in his offer permission to use his site for school purposes in case the city wished to do so.  Mr. Latham brought out very clearly that the letters do not unfold two separate propositions as one may be lead to believe, but that both are offers to the city and that an agreement has been reached between Mr. Hanes and Mrs. Reynolds on that point.  Schools do not necessarily have to be erected on both sites, all of that having been cleared up in the conference held yesterday afternoon (July 3rd).  ‘I want to say that the fine spirit of co-operation of all has been a wonderful revelation to me,’ said Mr. Latham.  ‘It is an index to the spirit that has built this city and made Winston-Salem what it is and is going to make Winston-Salem one of the greatest cities in the South.'"

    Then later that evening (on July 3, 1919), at an 8:00 PM called meeting of the Winston-Salem Board of Aldermen, the proposals of Mr. Hanes and Mrs. Reynolds were made public.  Also made public was a proposal made by James Gordon Hanes, Sr., who was a son of John Wesley Hanes (who was the deceased brother of P.H. Hanes).  His proposal stated that a small part of the plot of land contemplated to be P.H. Hanes Park was actually owned by the estate of his deceased father: John Wesley Hanes.  James Gordon Hanes agreed to donate this to the City if (and only if) the City accepted the offer of Mr. P.H. Hanes.

    The Board of Aldermen then voted unanimously to accept all of these offers (with each Alderman showing their approval by standing).  To read the minutes of that Board of Aldermen meeting, click here ( * ).  FYI:  the total cost of the Auditorium donated by Mrs. Reynolds ended up being $394,000, with an additional $100,000 (for interior decoration and equipment) coming from the estate of her husband (R.J. Reynolds).  Also, the value of the land donated by the Hanes brothers was estimated to be $250,000.  When combined, these two gifts (from Mrs. Reynolds and the Hanes brothers) were the 3rd largest gift from private individuals to a public school system in the history of our nation!  Mrs. Reynolds deeded the land to the city for $1.00 in 1919.

    On August 14, 1919 the preliminary plans for the development of what would become known as Hanes Park were shown on the font-page of the Winston-Salem Journal (pictured below). 

     proposed layout of Hanes Park

    The park was designed by Mr. Louis L. Miller (who had previously developed the site plan for the Reynolds family “Reynolda Estate” and landscaping for the Methodist Childrens Home…and had worked with Mr. Hanes in laying out the West Highlands residential subdivision).  Mr. Miller stated this park would be “the finest public park south of Washington.”  This park would be accessible by all types of existing modern transportation at that time (i.e., railroad, streetcars and automobiles).  The street next to the park would be the widest public paved road in the state at that time (so that folks could park to watch high school athletic events).  Among other things, the park would have a football field, a baseball field, tennis courts and a race track.  And to show how much global warming has taken place since then:  the plans called for a 6-acre lake (to be fed by three existing streams) that could be used for boating, swimming, and ice skating.

    As stated in Heather Fearnbach's book "Winston-Salem Architectural Heritage":  Although the city did not develop the entire site via (Mr.) Miller's plan, the recreational facility, named Hanes Park by the Board of aldermen, was in use by 1920."

    Later in 1919, the City overwhelmingly passed a bond referendum for $800,000 (half of which went to construct R.J. Reynolds High School). The original plans called for two school buildings…one on either side of the Auditorium. The Household Arts and Industrial Arts Building would be built at the completion of the construction of the Auditorium and the first school building (referred to as the Academic Art Building).

     proposed RJ Reynolds High School layout

    Above is an October 12, 1919 Winston-Salem Journal front-page picture of the original plans for Richard J. Reynolds High School and Richard J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium.  The caption under the picture reads:  "This is the first picture of Winston-Salem's splendid new high school plant which will be located in West End, the cut having been taken from a photo made from a water color drawing of the buildings by the architect. The central building of the group is the Memorial Auditorium which will be erected by Mrs. R.J. Reynolds as a personal memorial to the late Mr. R.J.  Reynolds.  The building is 80 feet wide and about 150 feet long.  It will seat 2,000 on the main floor and 1,000 in the galleries.  On one side of the building is the Household Arts and Industrial Arts building.  On the other side is the Academic Building.  Each of these buildings has a frontage of 300 feet and extends back 160 feet.  The buildings are of Georgian or Colonial style of architecture, and are connected with the Memorial Auditorium by porticos supported by Colonial columns similar to the style followed out at the University of Virginia.  The buildings are fire-proof, built of reinforced concrete.  The plans are by Mr. Charles Keeton, architect, of Philadelphia.  Photo by Matthews, Winston-Salem, N.C.”

    A little bit of history about N.C. in 1919.  That year there were only about 100,000 automobiles registered in the entire state. For reference, today there are about 8 million cars, pickups and SUV's registered in North Carolina. People had been traveling by train for decades. During the 1920’s, Southern Railway operated one hundred daily trains throughout the state. More than fifteen hundred towns and cities in the state had railway stations!  Also during that decade, railroads developed new programs for vacation travelers (that are now referred to as "vacation packages"). Comfortable Pullman cars for spending the night in sleeping cars and eating quality food in dining cars made long-distance travel via railroads a pleasure. Florida was a popular destination.  Below is a picture of a Pullman parlor car.

    Pullman railway car

    People riding on Pullman cars were treated like royalty.  To view an article that was posted on October 20, 1923 (which was a little more than 4 years after the July 3, 1919 Board of Aldermen meeting in which the alderman accepted Mrs. Reynold's offer to purchase the land for the high school and to build the auditorium), that tells about a football game that afternoon between RJR and Charlotte High School...which had the Charlotte team and hundreds of its supporters arriving in Winston-Salem via a train:  click here ( * ).

    Mrs. Reynolds was a very forward-thinking individual. First:  it must be remembered how small geographically Winston-Salem was in 1919.  The location of the high school and auditorium was at the very western boundary of the city.  Earlier in this document it was mentioned that Mr. P.H. Hanes wanted "his" park to be an enticement for folks to buy some of the lots in his fairly vast West Highlands area. To see a map of what all West Highlands and Buena Vista includes, click here ( * ). To see a map of what all Waughtown includes, click here ( * ).  These areas had a lot of homes owned by wealthy citizens.  However, in 1919:  they were all outside the City limits.  They were (as earlier mentioned) annexed while James Gordon Hanes, Sr. was Mayor (and the years he was Mayor were 1921 - 1925).  Thus, when conceived and planned, Reynolds High did not serve students living in Buena Vista and the West Highlands area and in the Waughtown area...because they were not within the city limits (and thus the Winston-Salem School System would not have served them).

    Concerning the auditorium:  Katharine knew a lot of wealthy people were taking the train from up north to enjoy a vacation in Florida. She envisioned folks living in the New York area taking the train to Winston-Salem.  While here, she dreamed they would have a good meal at a fine restaurant( which would have to be built), book a room in a good hotel (which would have to be built), and then enjoy a great performance at Richard J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium.  Then, the next day, they would get back on the train and continue their trip to Florida. Obviously, these folks would hopefully do the same thing when going back home.

    Thus, one of the main reasons for her building an auditorium was that it would become what we would today call an economic engine for this area.  It would not only provide entertainment for the local citizens...it would also provide a LOT of jobs for them in what we call today the entertainment business (such as working in fine restaurants, or in fine hotels, and also in the construction trades...since these restaurants and hotels would have to be built).

    Did you ever wonder why the steps (on the other side of road that circles the auditorium) were put in that location, and why they lead down the hill?  There is a simple explanation.  It was assumed by Mrs. Reynolds that most folks would arrive at the auditorium via electric railway streetcars (which ran on what are now the abandoned railroad tracks next to Northwest Boulevard).  The patrons coming to the auditorium would merely walk up the hill to the steps, and then enter the auditorium. FYI:  some residential development surrounded the factories in Winston-Salem, but the majority of dwellings were west of downtown. Winston became the second city in the state with electric railway  streetcars in 1890, which encouraged more suburban development.

    One of the regrettable things about Katharine unexpectedly dying was that a walkway that would have undoubtedly featured a lot of fantastic landscaping was never built between the railroad tracks and the auditorium.  If you look at how amazing Reynolda Gardens is, you can only imagine the landscaping plans she had for this walkway (that obviously never got built).

    Did you ever wonder why the school building does not face Hawthorne Road?  The building was placed so that its back was to the auditorium and its side to Hawthorne Road…because a new street had been proposed to cut through between Hawthorne Road to Northwest Boulevard…approximately where today the tunnel goes under Northwest Boulevard from the gymnasiums to the school building. Thus, the school building would have faced that proposed street.

    The significance of that:  the school building would thus have been essentially right at the curb of that proposed street.  That shows that no one was expected to be driving a car to the school!  (Obviously, that proposed street was never built). Later on in this article, it will be detailed how students did arrive at school (and how folks did arrive at the auditorium).

    For reference, below is a picture of Main Street in downtown Winston-Salem taken sometime in the 1920's...which is obviously years after Katharine bought the land for the high school and auditorium.  What is important about this picture is not what is shown, but what is not shown:  any automobiles!

    Main Street in the 1920's

    In 1919, when Katharine Reynolds agreed to build the auditorium and purchase the 25 acres it and the high school now sit on, the modes of transportation for the average working folks going somewhere more than 1/4 mile away from town were to walk, ride a horse or mule, or travel in a horse-driven or mule-driven wagon or buggy/carriage.

    Another bit of context of the world in which Mrs. Reynolds lived:  electric power, at the start of the twentieth century, was a novelty and a luxury in North Carolina. 

    Yet R.J. Reynolds High and the Richard J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium did have electrical power and electric lights....and the two buildings had lights in all the rooms (even in the restrooms), and the auditorium had spot lights shining towards the stage.  These two buildings (and especially the auditorium) were truly almost magical places (because for the average man:  how did this new thing called a light bulb even work?)  And unlike candles (that could be seen getting smaller as they continued to burn):  these new light bulbs did not diminish in brightness...and amazingly seemingly NEVER stop producing light.

    Arc lamps ran off a generator, a device consisting of a rotor inside a magnetic field. Arc lights arrived in Winston (which later became Winston-Salem) in 1887.  In 1905, James B. Duke, Walker Gill Wylie, and William States Lee organized the Southern Power Company (which later became Duke Power Company), building a string of textile mills and hydroelectric plants along the Catawba River. As the North Carolina textile industry expanded, many mill owners, before signing on with the power company, bargained for electricity for their employees' homes. Lee went on to design and build 32 hydroelectric stations and 7 steam-electric stations, and he also became a pioneer in wire-transmission systems.

    To give a specific example (and when looking back at this from today's perspective: a startling example) of how scarce electricity was in North Carolina in 1919:  "Moody's Analysis of Investments" (published in 1920) states that the Catawba Power Company (which was controlled by Southern Power Company) proposed building a "water power [plant] on the Catawba River near Rock Hill, SC, delivering almost 850 hp [horse power] to Southern Power Co."  

    Obviously, "Moody's Analysis of Investments" was printed the year AFTER Mrs. Reynolds agreed to build what is now known as the Richard J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium!! 

    Winston-Salem's former Mayor Mr. Wayne Corpening (who served from 1977 - 1989) told his son Harry (who wrote this article) that he hated that "new fangled thing" called an electric light bulb, when electricity was first hooked up to the home he grew up in (which was located in what is now Mills River, NC, but what was called Horse Shoe, NC back in the early 1900's).  And for reference:  Wayne Corpening was born in 1914.  Why did he hate it?  It showed all of the dirt and dust that had accumulated in ALL the corners of each room (that before the light bulb, could hardly be seen)!  Because he was the youngest of 9 children: he was given the daily job of having to sweep clean all of the rooms that had these new fangled light bulbs!

    Also, the amenities at the auditorium were very much "ahead of its time."  There were water fountains in the lobby where water continually flowed.  These have been shut off...since moisture quickly ruins plaster...which was (and is) very prevalent in the lobby.  Probably more than half the houses in the greater Winston-Salem area at that time did not even have indoor plumbing!  Also, the restrooms (obviously with working toilets and sinks) were (when it opened) MUCH larger than they are now.  These restrooms were so large that couches were there for folks to actually sit and rest on. 

    There were two rooms in the lobby where folks could "check" their winter coats. And back then, because medical science knew no better and Camel cigarettes were being mass produced uptown at the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company:  pretty much everyone smoked....everywhere.

    The regrettable part of Katharine Reynolds' dreams and visions:  she died unexpectedly before endowing the school and auditorium with the funds needed to make sure all of her dreams came to reality.

    Bottom-line:  not only did the majority of houses in the greater Winston-Salem area in July of 1919 (when Mrs. Reynolds agreed to build the Auditorium and buy the land it and the high school sit on) not have indoor plumbing:  they did not yet have electrical power!!

    RJ Reynolds High School and the Richard J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium I feel confident were considered (back when they opened, by a lot of the working-class people living in Forsyth County) the same as Disney World is today:  they were a "wonder world."

    The bottom-line to Katharine Reynolds' dreams and visions for Reynolds High School and Richard J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium: they were two different sets of visions. The City's wanting to build a new high school, and her wanting to "permanently" honor her deceased husband, gave her the idea of tying these two things together.  However, they were two separate entities that just happened to sit adjacent to each other:  one being a public high school, and the other being a public theater. The high school had one set of dreams (and they essentially were that this high school would be one of the VERY BEST public high schools in the nation)!  

    Concerning the Auditorium, her vision was that it would hopefully be an economic engine for this area, thus providing lots of jobs for the citizens living in the greater Winston-Salem area...since fine restaurants and hotels would need to be built, and then staffed. And needless to say:  it would be great entertainment to the community.

    The only similarities in the two buildings were:

    * they were named for the same individual

    * they were geographically adjacent to each other. 

    She also had visions of the high school being the cultural center of the School System, since she planned to have the largest art gallery in the State at the school. And I feel sure she assumed the school would have some of the very best teachers found anywhere.  The planned art gallery and cultural center visions died when she did...since she did not endow the necessary funds for these ideas to take place.

    The school had one of the first air conditioning systems of its type in the state. Large blocks of ice were kept in the basements of the school building and the auditorium.  Huge fans blew air across these ice blocks and into vents which opened in most of the rooms of the school and auditorium.  (This was called "pyramid cooling"). Where the patrons sit in the lower level of the auditorium, you can still see the small metal "grates" in the floor (which is where this cold air would have come up).  

    Below are two pictures found in Heather Fearnbach's book "Winston-Salem's Architectural Heritage."  They were taken around 1925.

     Reynolds High School

    Richard J. Reynolds High School

     Reynolds Auditorium

    Richard J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium

    To quote directly from the book “Richard J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium:  Vision and Triumph” by Ellen Kutcher: “To locate the new high school away from center city on the large open tract Mrs. Reynolds had acquired from W.L. Ferrell, C.M. Thomas and the Standard Improvement Company followed (then) current ideas of building public schools along the lines of college campuses.  One newspaper, in fact, actually referred to the new high school as a college for children of Winston-Salem – appropriate, perhaps, because only 5 percent of local students went on to institutions of higher education in 1919.”

    At the beginning of 1923, Winston-Salem had two high schools:  Winston High School on Cherry Street (for what were considered “white” students) and East Winston High School (for what were considered “colored” students). Below are the front-page headlines of the January 10, 1923 Winston-Salem Journal:

     front page of Winston-Salem Journal

     

    On January 9th, 1923, fire destroyed Winston High School. As noted in the box titled “High School Will Open Monday in New Building: “The Winston-Salem High School will be opened again next Monday morning, January 15, in the new High School building now nearing completion.  The second floor of the new building will be ready and twenty rooms will be available for pupils.  This announcement is made on authority of representatives of the school board, of the board of aldermen, the superintendent of the city public schools and the officials of the DuPont Construction Co., which is building the new High School plant.  Board walks will be laid at once so that the children may reach the new school building without wading through mud.  The Elks offered their home and several churches, among them the First Presbyterian, for which authorities expressed deep appreciation last night.” 

    For several weeks after Winston High burned, students attended some classes in St. Paul's Church and some classes at the new school. Throughout the spring of 1923, while students attended classes, construction continued.  Transportation for students going to school included walking, bicycling, and riding electric railway streetcars. Students walked from as far away as Salem and Southside.  Ardmore was considered close to the school. Enough students rode bikes to school to necessitate large bicycle racks with locks.  Before and after school, special electric railway streetcars brought students from town without them having to transfer.  Below is a picture of one:

    electric railway streetcar

    A published report in 1914 stated that there were 45 such electric streetcars operating in Winston-Salem on 7.5 miles of track inside the city limits, and 5 miles of tracks outside the city limits. This report states that these electric streetcars served 2,953,805 passengers for the year ending on June 30, 1914 (and for reference: Winston-Salem only had 48,400 citizens in 1920).  If only residents of Winston-Salem rode them, then on average each citizen rode one of these streetcars 60 times in a year.  For several years more streetcars and tracks were annually put into operation.

    In the first years of full-time instruction at Reynolds High, school was never closed for snow.  Everyone left home early to walk in order to get to school on time.

    The high school building, when completed, was designed to accommodate 1,200 students in 60 rooms for classes and administration. Students began a full-time schedule in February, when the cafeteria was completed.  The Buena Vista bus line revised its schedule so that it could transport children who lived downtown to and from the new school...for a fare of five cents.  

    The senior students who went to this school and graduated in 1923 were said to have graduated from Richard J. Reynolds High School...a fact that is verified by viewing the first page of the 1923 yearbook....which can be seen by clicking here ( * ).   As mentioned earlier, it was planned to be not only a high school, but also a cultural center for the Winston-Salem School System.  It was going to contain the largest art gallery in North Carolina. As also mentioned earlier, there was supposed to be a twin building to the existing school building, which was supposed to be located on the other side of the auditorium.  That building was supposed to house a center for vocational training for the School System.  

    The first day of school for the 1923-1924 school-year was Tuesday, September 18, 1923.  (This was verified by an ad titled "School Days" on page seven of Section B in the September 2, 1923 Sunday edition of the Winston-Salem Journal....which can be seen by clicking here ( * ).  Reynolds High School had a football team that first year.  Regrettably that season was cut short because a member of the RJR team (Leo Caldwell) died during a game with Charlotte (which was played at Hanes Park).  To read an article about that game (which gives details and insight concerning how folks traveled in 1923), click here ( * ). To see a picture of Leo, and read a dedication to him from the November 1923 Black and Gold: click here ( * ).

    In 1924, the American Legion of Winston-Salem presented Reynolds High with two flagpoles, that still stand today.

    The school newspaper, "Pine Whispers," was begun in 1925.  During its early years, Reynolds had its own print shop. At one time this print shop printed all of the educational materials for the School System. This print shop (in the school's early years) also printed the school's annual yearbook and the school newspaper.  It gained the reputation of being one of the best print shops in the state.

    For several years, in the late 1920's and early 1930's, double school sessions were held (because of the large number of students).  Each group of students came for half a day.  When it first opened, Reynolds included the eighth through the eleventh grade. When the State added a twelfth year requirement, the eighth grade was shifted to Wiley Elementary School. At a much later time, the eighth grade was again shifted back to Reynolds. They occupied the third floor and continued under an elementary school program, while the ninth through twelfth grade students used the first and second floors.

    During these times, the world was male dominated. The work-for-pay options for female students were essentially only teaching-related, nursing, or being secretaries. Female students were not allowed to wear pants to school until 1971! Each student selected a four-year course in Latin, foreign language, science, or in commercial subjects. The students then took a specialty course each of the four years along with their required course. Homerooms were organized according to the courses taken by the students.

    For years public opinion frowned on the school's sponsoring dances. Therefore, the Junior-Senior was not a prom. The juniors would entertain the seniors in the auditorium with dramatic performances. Later, after the performance, the seniors were taken to the highly decorated gym for the Grand March of the school celebrities...followed by a reception.

    Below is a picture of a bronze plaque in the front "lobby" of the school (on the first floor).

     plaque in lobby on 1st floor

    In May of 1924, an $800,000 bond referendum was overwhelmingly passed, to pay for the construction of four new schools, as well as a gymnasium for Reynolds High School on the Hanes Park property.
    Reynolds Gymnasium and Reynolds Auditorium

    Once the gymnasium construction was completed, the physical plant of R.J. Reynolds High School was the third largest public high school campus in the nation!  The Richard J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium was dedicated in May of 1924 (in a 4-day celebration, between May 8 – May 11).  A copy of the program given to attendees can be seen by clicking here ( * ).

    Reynolds Gymnasium

    The Richard J. Reynolds High School Gymnasium in 1927

     Picture from Heather Fearnbach's Book "Winston-Salem's Architectural Heritage" 

    Katharine never saw the completed Auditorium.  It would not be unrealistic to think that Katharine, since she was 44, may have had the inner thought (like millions of folks do in the 40's) that she was essentially invincible.  After all, she was probably  the wealthiest woman in North Carolina, she had access to the finest doctors money could buy, and she knew that women were successfully giving birth to babies every minute of every day. Regrettably because of that, she did not think there was a need to (at that time) endow the school and the auditorium with the funds needed to ensure her dreams and vision for them came to reality.

    Katharine’s dreams for future usage of the Auditorium were:

    1. To showcase accomplishments of public school students
    2. For civic or memorial occasions
    3. For religious programs
    4. For musical and cultural programs featuring renowned artists.

    This public auditorium/theater was intended to have a sweeping cultural impact on the region by hosting national figures from the performing arts.

    RJ Reynolds High School and Reynolds Memorial Auditorium

    RJ Reynolds High School and Reynolds Memorial Auditorium

    and the surrounding neighborhood in the 1940's

    Picture from Heather Fearnbach's book "Winston-Salem's Architectural Heritage"

    A little bit about Winston-Salem at that time:  because the towns of Winston and Salem had merged as one city in 1913, and because the various Hanes companies and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and Indera Mills and Chatham Mills were all doing well (all being in labor intensive industries), the population of the city more than doubled between 1910 and 1920, and Winston-Salem was (via the census in 1920) the state’s largest and most prosperous city.  There was a big demand for new school buildings throughout the city for students of all ages. To meet that city-wide need, and to keep a control on the debt load of the taxpayers, the second (Household Arts and Industrial Arts) building at R.J. Reynolds High School was never constructed. 

    Another reason for second building not being built was the growing popularity of the automobile.  In 1919, when Mrs. Reynolds agreed to purchase the land the high school and auditorium sit on: there were only 109,000 automobiles in North Carolina. It was assumed that the vast majority of the students and Auditorium patrons would arrive by either walking, or riding a bicycle, or by electric railway streetcars bus. The second high school building was intended to be built where the two student parking lots are now located.  Had it been built:  there would be NO parking places available for students' cars.

    Hanes Park in 1935

    Above is an April 4, 1935 picture of Hanes Park after the gymnasium had been built.

    It shows N.C. Emergency Relief Administration workers.

    The pictures above and below are found in Heather Fearnbach's book "Winston-Salem's Architectural Heritage":  "Between 1933 and 1935 the Civil Works and Emergency Administrations contributed just under $39,000 to fund improvements [to Hanes Park] including the curved stone wall with built-in benches that frames the main entrance on West End Boulevard, as well as stone steps and foot-bridges throughout the park.  Works Progress Administration employees continued landscaping initiatives in the late 1930's.  The city has since added athletic fields and courts, lighting, parking, seating, bridges, and a playground."

    Wiley Middle School A 1925 picture of Wiley Middle School 

    Two schools have been built on Hanes Park property.  In 1925, what was known at the time as Wiley Elementary School was built.  And then in 1959, Brunson Elementary School was built (and during its construction, this was referred to as the Hanes Park School).

    To read a June 16, 2021 article in the local newspaper about "positive" changes that have been made at Hanes Park that will affect future RJR students and athletic teams: click here ( * )

    To end this historical document, let's return to RJ Reynolds High School...and compare the students that attended school when it first opened to the students that attend now.  Back when it opened, and up through the early 1950's: it was a high school that only had white students...of which many came from wealthy families.  

    In 1956, RJ Reynolds High School was still an all white school. One student, Kathryn Dalton, was a senior, and had never been to school with a non-white student. It was two years after the Supreme Court rejected the Jim Crow mantra of “separate but equal,” yet schools in North Carolina had not begun the process of desegregation.

    Kathryn Dalton

    When asked whether she thought that it was strange that her school was all white, Snavely said, “I didn’t, because that’s the way all the schools were. None of the schools were [integrated]. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to; it’s just that wasn’t the way it was.”   

    It did not stay that way for long. Just one year later, in 1957, select students across the state were chosen to be the first students to integrate high schools in North Carolina. Gwendolyn Bailey became the first African American student to ever attend Reynolds High School.


    Gwendolyn Bailey

    Bailey was the first African American student to attend Reynolds High School.

    Other African American students in Greensboro and Charlotte had already begun classes and had received lots of hate. Reynolds Principal Claude Joyner was determined to prevent such things from happening at Reynolds.

    The morning of Bailey’s first day things did not go as planned. Someone had painted racial slurs on the driveway by the auditorium and the assistant principal, John Tandy, could be seen running around campus trying to get it cleaned up.

    words written oon pavement on road leading to RJR

    Racial slurs were not Joyner’s only problem, since crowds had gathered across the street on Hawthorne Road...hoping to catch a glimpse of Bailey. Fortunately, according to an article published in the Winston-Salem Journal in 1959, this had been planned for. Bailey was dropped off by her father on Northwest Boulevard, and walked to school via the tunnel. Compared to the students in Greensboro and Charlotte, Bailey had a relatively calm day.

    According to an article published in Winston-Salem Journal about Bailey’s graduation, she often said: “if only there had been another one" (i.e., another African American). Bailey attended Reynolds for 21 months, and she was the only African American student there, and spent much of her time feeling lonely. She had to miss her senior picnic because the location did not allow African American patrons. She was, however, able to attend the most important aspect of her senior year, her graduation. In 1959, Gwendolyn Bailey became the first African American student to graduate from Reynolds.

    For the most part, schools stayed segregated because it was not required for students to attend certain schools and most chose to stay at their home school.

    In 1966, Reynolds was still a predominately white school and across town, Atkins High School was a predominately black school. The two schools competed in separate athletic divisions because the North Carolina High School Athletic Association did not allow predominantly black schools to be members. That all changed in 1967 when the NCHSAA joined with the North Carolina High School Athletic Conference, the organization for primarily black schools. Two years later, Reynolds lost to Atkins in the semifinals of the state basketball championship.

    Something that I witnessed first-hand during the spring semester of my senior year (in 1968): my homeroom period was spent in a science lab.  There was a ledge around the classroom, with microscopes on it and stools under it (for the students to sit on).  One day when I arrived for homeroom, there were no microscopes in the room.  When I asked why, I was told they were sent to Atkins (because it was being accredited that week).  I was told they would shortly be returned....which they were.

    Ever since it had opened, the Buena Vista section of town was within RJR’s residential boundary.  Going into the early 1960’s, Reynolds High School had a fairly large residential zone (especially when looking at its western boundary).  Many families at that time had several generations of teenage children that had attended RJR.  However, by the mid-1960’s there were not a lot of empty lots in Buena Vista…so families wanting to build their own homes looked west in Forsyth County for lots to build on.  The residential western boundary for RJR was prertty much permanently established when West Forsyth High School opened in 1964 and Mt. Tabor High School opened in 1966.  (And to show the continuing “western migration” of families in Forsyth County:  Reagan High School in Pfafftown opened in 2005). 

    Another thing that changed some of the demographics of who attended Reynolds was the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 (which among other things prohibited discrimination in public places and provided for the integration of public schools).  Starting with the 1964-65 school-year, many families with wealth elected to start sending their teenage children to private schools.  To further make that point:  Forsyth Country Day School opened for the 1970-1971 school year.

    Thus, even though in the late 1960’s and 1970's Reynolds High School was being called “Society Hill” by the supporters of the other Forsyth County high schools (because the residents living in Buena Vista often had a higher net worth than those folks living in other parts of the County), the number of families that were legacy supporters of RJR was being reduced each successive year (since more and more people were building and buying homes and lots that were outside of Reynolds’ western residential boundary).

    Another event that changed the makeup of the RJR student-body occurred in 2007, when Reynolds became an arts magnet high school.  Because the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System allows students living in one high school's residential boundary to enter into a lottery to try to transfer to another high school:  a lot of students have entered the lottery to try to attend Reynolds (and each year there has been a fairly long waiting list for students trying to get to RJR).

    Today, per the official "RJ Reynolds High School Profile" that is posted as a separate webpage on the RJ Reynolds High School website (...and the following is quoted directly from the pdf document found on that webpage):  "Reynolds serves a diverse population of close to 1,750 students from throughout the entire city and county. The students from our residential zone make up 67% of our student body. The remaining 33% attend through a magnet application and lottery process that typically generates a waiting list of more than 115 students.

    Representing more than 24 countries, our student body is comprised of 39% White, 34% Black, 16% Hispanic, 6% Multi-Racial and 5% Asian students. Additionally, approximately 50% of our students qualify for the free and reduced (price) lunch program. In the graduating class of 2020, 78% of our students went on to further their education after high school."

    Click here ( * ) to return to the Alumni homepage.