Help Us Spread The Word About Our Walking Tours!
We’re getting the word out about our walking tours to make sure locals and tourists alike know about these fabulous events!
If you’ve been on our tour, please take a moment to write a quick review on our new Trip Advisor page so more people learn about these programs!
This is a great way make sure everyone knows about our walking tours, one of the primary ways many learn about Preservation Durham and our work in the community… Not to mention all the great information our guides share about Durham’s tobacco heritage, civil rights legacy, and architecture & urban landscape!
Haven’t been on a walking tour yet? Check us out at the Farmer’s Market every
Issue Background and Overview
Liberty Warehouse is the last remaining tobacco auction warehouse in Durham. Built in 1940, the structure was packed every summer and fall with farmers coming to sell their freshly harvested tobacco. Auctions were held there until 1984. In 2006, the building was purchased by Greenfire Development, and in 2010, the company had it designated as a local landmark. In 2011, a portion of the roof collapsed. The businesses inside were flooded, and the building was condemned. In May 2013, Greenfire petitioned city council to remove the landmark designation. Preservation Durham initially opposed the de-landmarking, but when it became apparent that city council was going to vote to remove the listing, PD entered into a Memorandum of Understanding
Why It’s Important:
The Liberty Warehouse is the only surviving loose-leaf tobacco auction house in Durham. Constructed in two sections dating from 1938 and 1948, the massive, timber-framed structure features an expansive open-plan measuring 2.6 acres. It has a brick foundation with a low-pitched, front-gabled roof supported by large timber columns and has numerous skylights partially hidden by a stepped parapet. The auction warehouse filled an important niche in Durham’s tobacco culture; farmers would converge at the auction house, camping out there until their tobacco sold, and patronizing shops, banks, and cafes in the warehouse while they waited. Tobacco auctions ended in the 1980s and the building has been used for any number of purposes since then. Despite having undergone modifications
Over 500 people toured sites from Durham’s Tobacco Heritage during the fourth annual tour, held on Saturday, May 6, 2000. Use our virtual tour (or join us on a traditional walking tour) of Durham’s tobacco heritage! The 2000 Historic Tour included industrial spaces rather than the usual homes. Sites on the tour included the Brodie Duke Warehouse, now occupied by Measurement, Inc.; the Golden Belt Manufacturing Plant, now a business incubator; the Duke Memorial Methodist Church; Duke Homestead State Historic Site; and the American Tobacco Trail, a recreational trail along an old railroad right-of-way. Of particular interest to tour-goers was the American Tobacco Campus, soon to be redeveloped into downtown living, working, and recreational space by Capital Broadcasting.