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Historic Haunts in the Carolinas

Old Cigar Warehouse

Greenville, South Carolina

Like many historic buildings, The Old Cigar Warehouse in downtown Greenville, South Carolina, had many lives before its current incarnation. The industrial brick building was constructed in 1882. In the 1910s, it was used as a warehouse to store cigars and cotton. In the ’20s, it was a grocery distribution center. Shortly after that, it was a dance studio and a practice hall for a gospel choir. And then?

“We don’t really know what happened to it for a couple decades,” said Tammy Johnson, CEO and self-professed “chief gin slinger” of High Spirits Hospitality, which owns the venue.

After a stint as a rock climbing gym in the 1990s, High Spirits took over the building and renovated it in 2013, reopening it as a 7,700-square-foot event venue that now does over 200 events a year. One “really cool experience” was hosting a CNN Town Hall with Anderson Cooper, she said.

The 2,400-square-foot Main Hall is a wide-open space with brick walls, arched windows, concrete floors, exposed rafters and a 35-foot-high, wood-clad ceiling. The Cellar offers another 2,700 square feet that can seat 250 guests for meals.

The warehouse can do indoor events for up to 500 people but can accommodate up to 1,200 guests using its outdoor spaces. The 1,700-square-foot deck works well for cocktail hours, and the grass lawn can be used for events or parking.

The warehouse is in downtown Greenville’s historic West End district. It’s right across the street from the 5,700-seat Fluor Field baseball stadium and within walking distance of several downtown hotels. The venue is also only three blocks from one of Greenville’s most iconic attractions: the curved and cantilevered Liberty Bridge that lightly straddles Falls Park on the Reedy River, a multitiered waterfall that winds through and spills over giant red boulders.

Historic Brookstown Inn

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

The massive brick buildings of the Brookstown Mill have been many things since being constructed as the Salem Manufacturing cotton mill in 1837. The building went from cotton mill to flour mill, was used by a tobacco company, became warehouse space and now houses the Historic Brookstown Inn.

In the 1970s, the building was facing demolition, but community members rallied to save it and spearheaded a rehabilitation project. The Historic Brookstown Inn opened its doors in 1984 with 41 rooms in the original Salem Manufacturing mill building.

In 1991, the owners remodeled a second cotton mill next door: the Arista Cotton Mill that was built in 1880. The adaptive reuse of the two cotton mills, built nearly 50 years apart, brought the inn’s total number of guest rooms to 70. The project also brought the two buildings together, connecting them via brick-paved courtyards where industrial-chic touches abound.

No two of the inn’s rooms are alike. Each emphasizes the buildings’ character with exposed brick walls, original wood beams, soaring ceilings and giant windows. Thirty of the rooms are multilevel. In the lobby, guests walk across refinished historic pine floors.

The hotel’s 2,500-square-foot grand ballroom can seat 150 for banquets or be split into three smaller spaces. The courtyards — the Upper Courtyard is 2,600 square feet and the Lower Courtyard is 875 square feet — are frequently used for receptions and other social events.