Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Durham's Best Kept Secret: The Historic American Tobacco District

Double-click any image to enlarge it.
Historic Tobacco District, American Tobacco Company site, downtown Durham, NC.

On Saturday night, I joined several friends from Durham as they entertained an out of town guest. There is nothing like having company from elsewhere to get us out to see our own communities firsthand. I was surprised to find the beauty of the "new" Historic American Tobacco Company District, a renovated complex of old tobacco warehouses that surround a watercourse and promenade. The complex progresses from a parking deck on Pettigrew Street down to the new Durham Bulls Ballpark. The design of the watercourse incorporates debris and recycled concrete from the old warehouses into waterfalls and a fast flowing stream. At one point, the old Lucky Strike water tower is surrounded by a moat of water, forming an island where concerts and private parties can be catered. It is truly a beautiful site that speaks of the future of Durham, a progressive city that wants us to envision the future we have to offer.

Along the watercourse, there are huge buildings that have been renovated for office space, restaurants and shops. When this space is occupied, there will no doubt be a huge draw of visitors to this new and exciting space in Durham. People can attend baseball games, dine, shop and work in the nearby offices all while being hypnotized by the beauty and sound of flowing water.

Durham has a new secret…

The beginning of the watercourse seen from below.

The watercourse through the Historic Tobacco District of downtown Durham, NC.

Another of the waterfalls in the Historic Tobacco District of downtown Durham, NC.

The Lucky Strike watertower now sits on an island. Underneath it, concerts and catered parties may be held.

The terminus of the watercourse at the Historic Tobacco District in Durham, NC.

The Lucky Strike smokestack, Historic Tobacco District, downtown, Durham, NC.



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