Staff Person: Dale Sauter
Today’s staff pick consists of two views of The Imperial Tobacco Processing Plant in Greenville, North Carolina, from the Greenville Area Preservation Association (GAPA) Records, #605. These two images originated from the North Carolina State Archives. Many of the materials in the GAPA records (including the featured images) were used for the creation of the 1988 publication, The Architectural Heritage of Greenville, North Carolina, edited by Michael Cotter.
The Imperial Tobacco Company was originally founded in the United Kingdom in 1901. At one time, Imperial Tobacco Company also had branches in the North Carolina towns of Durham, Oxford, Greenville and Wilson. Located in “Tobacco Town” off Dickinson Avenue, the Greenville plant, consisting of a three-story structure, was once the largest buyer of tobacco on the Greenville market for the export trade, according to research by local historian Roger Kammerer. Most of the structure was built in the early 1900s. The company left Greenville in 1978, leaving behind the building covering two city blocks. There were plans of restoring the structure, but sadly, on April 17, 2008, the plant was gutted by fire. Following an investigation, the cause was ruled as arson. The structure was then slated for demolition.
For more information on the Greenville Area Preservation Association Records or any other collections we hold, please contact us for further details.