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The new town was called "the county town" or Salem until 1851 when it was named Winston for a local hero of the Revolutionary War, Joseph Winston.

In the 1880s, the US Post Office began referring to the two towns as Winston-Salem.

By the 1880s, there were almost 40 tobacco factories in the town of Winston.

Hanes and Reynolds would compete fiercely for the next 25 years, each absorbing a number of the smaller manufacturers, until Hanes sold out to Reynolds in 1900 to begin a second career in textiles.

Another nickname, "the Dash," comes from the (-) in the city's name, although technichally it is a hyphen, not a dash; this is used by the local minor league baseball team, the Winston-Salem Dash. The city of Winston-Salem is a product of the merging of the two neighboring towns of Winston and Salem in 1913.

In 2012, the city was listed among the 10 best places to retire in the U. The origin of the town of Salem dates to January 1753, when Bishop August Gottlieb Spangenberg, on behalf of the Moravian Church, selected a settlement site in the three forks of Muddy Creek.