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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

American Tobacco Campus After Tobacco Left Town

Downtown Durham, NC used to be the home to big tobacco but that is now an historical fact, not a part of the contemporary city. It's interesting to me how, as part of revitalizing downtown Durham over the past few decades, they have preserved many of the tobacco factories and warehouses but use them in new ways.
The American Tobacco Campus has become an entertainment area as well as a place for businesses, restaurants, and the home of the new Durham Bulls athletic center. The part that I'm featuring here has water features running throughout it. I used another shot of the old train which sits in the middle of part of the water feature (below) for another post but never got around to posting other shots.
I live in Raleigh but the company I work for is in Durham and their offices are located in the historical warehouse district. As a matter of fact, part of their offices are in a restored tobacco warehouse.
I usually work from my home office but I was in Durham today. However, ironically I don't have any shots of the part of my employer's office that was a tobacco warehouse. All of these shots were taken when Bill and I went to Duke Gardens on labor day, and after that visited the American Tobacco Campus. My employer's offices are on the other part of the district 5 or 6 blocks away and we didn't go there. The lighting wasn't great for many of the water shots, but this gives an idea of the area.It really is pretty staggering the sheer amount of water. I'm not doing it justice here but I've included some representative shots. I am no lover of tobacco having fought an addiction to cigarettes a long time before I stopped smoking in 2001. However, there is no denying that historically tobacco was an important part of North Carolina.
I like to see cities use historical buildings, even if they were something as mundane as tobacco warehouses, in creative ways.
I don't like to see cities all start to look alike. There are certainly parts of the area where I live that I've seen that happen. When regional areas start to lose their individual character they lose their charm for me.I have to admit that I never in a million years would have thought of preserving tobacco warehouses and factories as something desirable. However, once they started moving along with the reuse of this part of Durham's past, I thought it was pretty inspired what they did.

11 comments:

Dr.John said...

A great set of pictures to showcase a great idea. Old buildings should be used. When the old purpose is gone find a new purpose.

napaboaniya said...

*blush* If I haven't read about the water fixtures around it. I thought it was a flood..

Nice series of photographs showcasing the Campus :)

diXymiss said...

Great tour, Carver. What a creative metamorphosis of those historic buildings. The water features and old brick look amazing! Here in the NW, I've seen similar efforts to restore old mills into upscale shopping and office compleXes, as well as several old school buildings morphed into brew pubs!

the donG said...

extra nice place. who would not love to walk there all day?

jmb said...

Good photos as usual Carver and an interesting post. You are correct,it is a part of your region's history and worth preserving whatever we think of smoking now and we have to remember that people didn't know the consequences of tobacco smoking.

juliana said...

i think that's an interesting idea and a great way of preserving the character of the place.
love your photos :)

SabineM said...

wow GORGEOUS!

EastCoastLife said...

A campus on a Tobacco factory. It's an interesting read and I would have love to tour a tobacco factory and see how cigarettes are made.

marcia@joyismygoal said...

so nice --i felt very toured of motor city

Carver said...

Thanks so much to everyone for visiting.

AscenderRisesAbove said...

a wonderful building and architecture. sad about tobacco though; i quit smoking in 1980 and used to dream of cigarettes for years afterwards. lost a friend to lung cancer in about 1990 and that was very hard to help him and watch him die.