November 3, 2016 – 82 degrees – Sitting outside – Tylers’ Pub.
I don’t have a problem visualizing what a space can look like if edited, even if the walls are painted in two conflicting colors and filled with over-scaled furniture. I’m lucky that way. If you are having trouble “seeing” the revitalization of Rocky Mount, I have an idea for you. Plan an outing ASAP to the American Tobacco Campus 318 Blackwell St (at W.Pettigrew St) Durham, NC. It is a must destination that will help you envision the backdrop for an exciting play that Capital Broadcasting has in production at Rocky Mount Mills in Rocky Mount, NC. where on stage, the sets are being designed and built, and there is a large casting call for principal actors, actresses, and walk-ons like myself that will be a part of the crowd scenes.
The buildings on the Tobacco Campus may look different than those at the Mills, but are equally beautiful. What I want you to add to your ‘seeing’ of Rocky Mount Mills are PEOPLE everywhere. They are walking into their offices, into restaurants, walking a dog on a leash, having a meeting around a table with their lap tops open. There is energy and laughter, yes, an annoying motorcycle reeving up in the parking garage, but even this is part of the movement of this unique setting and reclaimed usage of a historic area that is just plain fabulous fun.
You have to let yourself go when it comes to this “seeing” business. Put your hand on the gorgeous salmon colored brick at ATC, embrace the pine pillar at the Mill, wave at the train when it goes through downtown, forget plain old ice tea and go straight for sweet tea at the Smokehouse, look for ghost signs, celebrate a vision of success. It is the best fun!
In 2004, the previously abandoned American Tobacco Campus (ATC) reopened as a complex of offices, shops, and restaurants. Developed by Capitol Broadcasting and reopened as the American Tobacco Historic District, phase 1 consisted of the Fowler, Crowe, Strickland, Reed, and Washington Buildings, and included the construction of two new parking garages and a waterfall feature through the center of the campus.
Phase 2, consisting of the remaining buildings and expansion of the water feature at the north end of the site, was under construction as of late 2006. Many office spaces in the ATC are now used by Duke University. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000 as the American Tobacco Company Manufacturing Plant. The nearby Watts and Yuille Warehouses were listed in 1984 and the Smith Warehouse in 1985.
If you missed it, Click Here for Rocky Mount Mills Reunion post.