My mom and dad recently returned home from their vacation to North Carolina. They drove down, therefore they made several stops in small farm towns, and they spent a majority of their time in Raleigh and Durham.
Regarding Durham in particular, my parents were astounded with the tobacco heritage that continues to exist there current day. Durham is home to Duke University and North Carolina Central University, and is further one of the vertices of the Research Triangle area.
My parents brought home many unique goodies for my sister and I, specifically tobacco-oriented merchandise. I expressed to my parents how rare it is to find any merchandise that supports the tobacco industry nowadays, and they informed me that they visited an agricultural museum in Durham that depicted the importance of tobacco in the area’s history. Durham quite literally exploded in terms of opportunity thanks to the existence of a thriving tobacco industry shortly after the Civil War. After veterans returned home to Durham following the war, they inquired after tobacco that they had sampled in North Carolina. Orders were placed to John Ruffin Green’s tobacco company, and shortly after W.T. Blackwell partnered with Green and renamed the company Bull Durham Tobacco Factory.
Around the same time of the development of Bull Durham Tobacco Factory, Washington Duke and his family created W. Duke & Sons Tobacco Company, allowing the city of Durham to positively flourish. Duke and his sons created the smoking and chewing tobacco business in the 1900s in the US, and the business of these two families remains a prominent component of Durham to this day. My mom and dad couldn’t believe the amount of tobacco heritage that continues to exist in Durham, and their experiences on their holiday prompted me to comprehend how there is a major absence of appreciation regarding the tobacco industry here in Ontario. Regions like Delhi and Tillsonburg were, at one time, entirely dependent on the tobacco industry, and it saddens me to comprehend that tobacco nowadays is seen as negative or malicious industry.
I realize that tobacco has earned a poor reputation in the last 20 years due to its affiliation with health consequences, however, the plant as an independent entity is to thank for the growth of many small towns and cities in Ontario.