Walking Tour – Tobacco Heritage

Published by info@preservationdurham.org on

2nd Saturday of the month – April-November

Durham Farmers’ Market
10:00 am
90 minutes

The growth and development of Durham was shaped by the tobacco industry. Visit key tobacco-related sites while you hear stories from oral histories.


Shift change at the L&M tobacco factory, ca. 1930. (North Carolina Collection)

Preservation Durham’s enthusiastic and well-informed volunteer tour guides will lead you through the history of the tobacco industry as they tell many tales from Durham’s past, using oral histories and photographs to illustrate the history of tobacco and the people who supplied tobacco products known throughout the world. The tour includes descriptions of life in the factories and at home for the thousands of workers who made the Bull City one of the biggest industrial cities in the South as well as those who, like guitarist John Dee Holeman, trekked to Durham’s tobacco auctions to play the blues.

“The tour touches on life in the work force, market days in Durham’s auction warehouses, the development of the cigarette and how that brought Durham into the global arena, and transformation of Durham’s identity from a city of tobacco to a city of medicine.”
– Cynthia Satterfield, one of several researchers who prepared the program