F RO M TOBACCO TO W N TO INNOVAT IO N HUB Durham’s history surrounds you: It’s in red-brick warehouses and rustic tobacco factories, now repurposed to house cutting-edge tech companies, restaurants, and boutiques. This old tobacco town’s past merges seamlessly with its forward looking future. The American Tobacco Company was founded in Durham in 1890, and soon became the largest tobacco company in the world during the early 1900s. Billowing smoke once rolled out of its factory smokestacks and the smell of tobacco emanated through Downtown Durham.
DURHAM’S ETHOS OF ADAPTIVE REUSE EXTENDS ACROSS THE CITY
Today, the historic American Tobacco Campus is a live-work-play destination, with a grassy lawn and man-made river. In the spring and summer, people gather around the water tower for outdoor concerts and festivals. During the holidays, the campus glitters with lights and decorations.
Explore the Brightleaf Square and Warehouse Districts along Main Street — where tobacco warehouses once filled the streets, now discover shops, restaurants, and apartments. See The Chesterfield, a towering historic building built in 1948 as a cigarette manufacturing plant, and recently vacant for more than 15 years. This newly transformed space features more than 280,000 square feet of life sciences and technology office space with a lightfilled center atrium. In the downtown Innovation District, researchers from Duke University and life science companies collaborate in renovated warehouses. The buildings that tell the story of Durham’s past now represent its future, providing space for growth, creativity, and community. As you explore Downtown Durham, look out for the red-brick warehouses, which are as much a part of the city’s identity today as they were 100 years ago.
SEE MORE ONLINE! Explore Durham’s past by visiting durh.am/durham-history.