Like much of early American, the Durham area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes and eventually settled by Europeans and turned into a farming community. The town began to grow when a railroad was installed, but didn't enjoy any significant influence until the Civil War. Some of the last and most decisive battles were fought both west and east of the city in Greensboro and Raleigh, respectively, making the railroad depot in Durham a strategic location.
Following the war, tobacco production began to flourish, and future giants in the industry were making their first millions in Durham. Well into the 1980, cigarette and tobacco companies dominated the local landscape and economy. As smoking slowly started going out of fashion, the town was abandoned and left a shell of its former glory. However, bold revitalization plans have created an impressive rebirth based largely on technology, health care and entrepreneurship.
History buffs can visit the Duke Homestead
Museum in Durham to learn about the processes of tobacco farming, manufacturing and advertising in the early days. If art is your interest, visit the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke university to view their collection of over 13,000 works of art.