On Tuesday night at the Durham County Library, I attended a documentary presentation and discussion
about the history of Liberty Warehouse.
The panel included Walker Stone, the original owner of Liberty, documentarian Carol Thomson
and Liberty Arts metalsmith Andrew Preiss
It was a fascinating talk about what Durham was like when tobacco ran the town. Tobacco farmers would come in and try to sell their crop at the highest price to the cigarette companies, such as Liggett and Myers. Liberty also housed First Union Bank, so the farmers could cash their checks and then head to the downtown shopping district to spend their money.
Walker sold Liberty Warehouse to Greenfire in 2005 because upkeep on the 2 1/2-acre roof was too much. Apparently Greenfire thought so as well, because in May 2011, part of the roof collapsed during a hard rain, and was never repaired. After nearly three years of neglect, Greenfire sold Liberty Warehouse to Roger Perry of East West Partners in Chapel Hill. He is tearing down the warehouse to build an apartment complex, a move that is quite controversial.
This morning, Gary Kueber of Open Durham told me that the walls of Liberty Warehouse would begin to fall today. (The site has some great photos
They did, although some signage along Rigsbee Avenue is being saved. Demolition of the Foster Street side could begin in late August.