Open: Fourth House is part of the Old Salem Historic Village. Even though the interior is not open for viewing, visitors enjoy viewing the exterior which is one of the rare original half-timbered buildings in this country.
Completed in 1768, the Fourth House, as the name implies, was the fourth building constructed in the Moravian village in Salem, North Carolina. It has the distinction of being the oldest, original structure still standing in Old Salem restoration area.
Purchased in 1936 by the Forsyth Committee of The NSCDA in North Carolina, through the generosity of several members, it was then partially restored and stabilized. In 1963, more funds were raised by Committee members and Old Salem agreed to complete the restoration. Old Salem, Inc., currently leases the property from the Forsyth Committee to a "worthy" tenant for a nominal fee and is responsible for the property's management and upkeep.
The half-timbered construction typical of the early Moravian dwellings was, according to Records from the Moravian Archives, preferred to log construction as it resulted in a more stable structure. In this process, the timbers were measured and each joint was put into place, a wooden peg was hammered in at a right angle, locking the parts together." The voids between the timbers were nogged with soft brick and red clay mortar, the result of which can be clearly seen in the accompanying photograph. The steep pitch of the tile roof, ending with a slight "kick" at the eaves, the stone foundation, and lack of ornamentation reflects a central European tradition which the early Moravian settlers would have brought with them from their first settlement in Herrnhut in Eastern Germany, near the Czechoslovakian province of Moravia where they originated.
The Fourth House is one of the few remaining half-timbered houses in this country.