At The Cotton Room, we are proud to know the history from which this beautiful space was built and honored to be a part of Durhams revitalization. Because of that, we’d like to share a little bit of history about our building and our city.
The Golden Belt Manufacturing Co. was originally built in 1887 as part of the Bull Durham Tobacco Co. Golden Belt was a new an innovative production company that created the cloth pouches that Bull Durham Tobacco was sold in. Up until that point, the cutting and sewing was all done by hand by independent contractors of Bull Durham Tobacco.
Towards the end of the 19th century, Bull Durham Tobacco changed hands quite a few times, finally settling in ownership by American Tobacco Company. In 1901, The Golden Belt Manufacturing Company had a new factory built half being a cotton mill, and half being where the pouches were made. Since part of the process still involved the tie string being sewn on by hand, 50 houses were also built along side the factory to house the families that worked there.
The factory then grew and changed with the company over the years; Buildings and warehouses were frequently added to keep up with the space needed for production with WWI bringing and all time high in the Textile Industry.
Although the booming textile industry didn’t last too long after the war, The Gold Belt was able to adapt and change to keep with times. From a cotton mill, to adding paper and cardboard manufacturing, to plastics manufacturing to eventually printing the cigarette labels for Bull Durham.
Again, Golden Belt Manufacturing Company changed hands a number of times throughout the years with 1996 being the year it was finally donated to the Durham Housing Authority when the Brown and Williamson Tobacco company failed to find a buyer.
It wasn’t until 2004 when the building was put up for sale again, by the city of Durham, only this time there were buyers ready to revitalize the factory.
Major renovations began in 2007, and business owners Dodd and Michelle Aldred created a beautiful space within the old Golden Belt Manufacturing Factory. Although a lot of work was needed, Dodd and Michelle were honored to be back in their home town and running a business that they love.
For more information on the revitalization of Durham and the full history of the Golden Belt Manufacturing co., Please visit: Endangered Durham