For many, many years Virginia and tobacco were synonymous. The bright leaf variety was commonly known as “Virginia Tobacco” and was considered a type superior enough to be bragged about on packaging. In the late 19th century it built and molded many Southern U.S. cities. Now this once wildly profitable crop’s cultivation has dwindled since it often kills those who use it.
Danville, VA was a beneficiary of tobacco and became a center for processing and storage. Between that and textile manufacturing the city enjoyed a nice industrial base which allowed for businesses to flourish. In the “Tobacco District” commercial structures were built through the early 20th century. These were severe but handsome warehouses, offices, and processing facilities mostly made out of formidable looking red brick.
As the 20th century came to an end the two major industries mentioned folded up leaving Danville a much poorer place. Still, the structures were left behind as a testament to the good old days. Looking at them now a few have been converted to housing or are still in commercial use but the bulk of them are empty. The fact that they mostly all still stand is a wonder and a thrill if you get a chance to wander there.
I wandered there and took a few pictures.