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Monday, December 3, 2012

Irony on Line One Sir!

So today I get a letter from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Credit Union, Reynolds Carolina Credit Union, Allegacy Federal Credit Union. It in terse prose stated: "...we have decided to close the Financial Center located at the Reynolds Building Reynolds American Building effective December 31. 2012 at noon." 

Really? From 1929 for over 50+ years this was the headquarters of R.J.R. Tobacco Company. A storied building: "The Reynolds Building is a 314ft (96m) skyscraper in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It was completed in 1929 and has 21 floors.[1] When completed as the headquarters of R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, it was the tallest building in the United States south of Baltimore, Maryland, and it won a national architecture award.[2] The building is well known for being the predecessor and prototype for the much larger Empire State Building that was built in 1931 in New York City.[3]

The Empire State Building Manager always sent a Birthday card to its little sister. 

The brass revolving door was always maintained and the elevator lobby was a monument to the Art Deco style. 

The marble is a nice touch! 

So after becoming downtown Winston-Salem, R.J.R. needed some more room. It started at Whitaker Park, built in 1977 in the outskirts of the City.

Public tours were given here and one of the things you had to be careful of then was if you worked there during those hours, your grooming and clothing were inspected (I know). 

Then the skyscraper downtown was not enough. The RJR World Headquarters was built across the street from Whitaker Park. 



This is where you got a photo taken for a passport to travel for training.

Ah, the 80's! 

So, after defining a City, the company is no longer what it was.  I assume some will comment about the lack of the really cool Buggy Whip factory that town had back in the day.  I get that. For a young boy smelling the tobacco that permeated the City, and to see this at its apogee and participated in it as a young man, I am saddened.

 It covered city blocks. I worked almost everywhere Downtown. I knew where to get the best Sugar cake, the best lunch. I walked these streets. No more.

Now what is left is in Tobaccoville, NC. 

I lament its passing.  I have not walked the streets in decades. I fear that what has happened would be too much to witness. 

I will also never forget the first question during the interview after taking the written test.  The written test had stuff like "design a 24 volt DC power supply with 120 VAC in with a .25 volt ripple. Show all work." 

The first verbal question was someone handing me a flashlight.  He said it did not work and for me to fix it.  I turned it on and it worked.  If you took it apart without verifying the complaint you failed that question.  


  1. LOL, if it had been me, the damn batteries would have been dead... And yes, sad piece of history...

  2. In my ignorant youth (I'm no longer young) I tossed a perfectly good Kel-Lite with leaked batteries in it. If only I'd known the parts were replaceable!?
    Nice photo - tempus fugit, my freind.


  3. Lol. Now you just need a white pair of shades.

  4. Art Deco is one of my favorite periods of architectural design. Real style.

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