Tobacco ignited growth of Durham, Winston

“Much of the limited urban growth in post-Civil War North Carolina owed to the  increased manufacturing of tobacco, the South’s oldest staple crop. “In the late 19th century the state’s dominance of the expanding tobacco industry resulted from several factors — declining cotton prices that induced farmers in the Piedmont to plant more tobacco, technological developments that initiated the mass production of cigarettes, improved railroads that connected North Carolina with national and international markets, and the bold entrepreneurship of men like James B. Duke and R. J. Reynolds, who formed vast monopolies and drove less ruthless competitors from the field. The success  of Duke and Reynolds brought Durham and Winston, the communities in which they located their enterprises, to the forefront of the state’s emerging urban network.”

— From “Tobacco Towns: Urban Growth and Economic Development in Eastern North Carolina” by Roger Biles in the North Carolina Historical Review (April 2007)

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