Brightleaf Square is a unique walkable shopping district located at 905 West Main Street in downtown Durham. Its tenants include service providers, gift shops, home goods stores and even a music store, but the core of what makes it special is its symbolism and history.
The two parallel buildings that enclose the brick courtyard were originally constructed in the early 1900s as part of the American Tobacco Company. They were used as warehouses for storing, fermenting and aging tobacco that would be turned into Durham’s signature cigarettes. In 1911, the buildings were sold to Liggett & Myers, who continued to use them for tobacco curing and storage until the 1970s.
Today, visitors can enjoy the brick walkways and charming buildings that, both inside an out, have been preserved in their industrial-era beauty. The most recent renovation in 2004 ensured that the original, locally-sourced bricks and pine wood remained visible inside and out, symbolic of its past use. The central courtyard now regularly hosts concerts and events. With its array of retailers and restaurants and a prime downtown Durham location, Brightleaf Square evokes both nostalgia and modernity.