Durham is not a particularly old town, but it has a certain type of history built into its very physical structure, as well as underlying many of its institutions. That is the history of the tobacco industry. Whatever we may feel about tobacco today, there is no denying that it has made Durham what it is. And while the final chapter of tobacco's nearly 150-year reign in Durham will close this year when Liggett & Myers shuts its doors for the last time, tobacco's influence will be felt in Durham as long as the magnificent buildings that rose up to house the industry remain standing.
Many of these buildings have already been or are in the process of being converted to other uses. Imaginative developers, tax credits for historic preservation and the increased demand for interesting spaces within the city core have allowed Durham's industrial architecture to remain a vital part of city life. For its fourth annual tour, the Historic Preservation Society of Durham has arranged for several tobacco-related sites to be open for viewing. Among them are the American Tobacco Campus and parts of the newly renovated buildings comprising Blue Devil Ventures' West Village, in the Liggett & Myers compound.
Durham's Tobacco Heritage Tour will take place Sat., May 6, from 10-5. Advance tickets are available. Call 682-3036.