Belt Line Station is housed in the former freight depot at Golden Belt Manufacturing Company, and is now Durham’s only outdoor locally-designated landmark. With almost 125 years worth of history, our outdoor event space balances its rustic, historical appeal with modern features and design elements, creating an unforgettable venue for a wide range of events.
Belt Line Station in the Golden Belt Complex
building on nearly 125 years of history
In 1890, construction of the Lynchburg and Durham railroad was completed, connecting the two cities with 115 miles of rail line. Once it opened, the railroad saw so much passenger and freight traffic that the entire project was free from debt in less than three months. At the time, Durham was considered to be the most important tobacco city in the world. In 1896, the Norfolk & Western Railroad Company purchased the tracks and the line came to be known as the Norfolk & Western Belt Line Railroad.
In 1901, the Golden Belt Manufacturing Company was opened, and its facility included a freight depot in Durham on the N&W Belt Line Railroad. The freight depot served as a loading dock for Bull Durham and Duke’s Mixture tobacco packaging products, bags designed to hold flour, cornmeal, salt, and other consumables including hosiery. Demand for textiles boomed through the World Wars, but eventually, in the mid 1950’s, textile operations ceased at Golden Belt and the focus turned entirely to cigarette packaging products, which lasted all the way into the 1990s.
In the mid-1990s, changes in the tobacco industry and an anti-trust judgement forced the facility to be closed and put on the market. In 1996, the buildings and freight depot was donated to the Durham Housing Authority after the previous owner failed to secure a buyer. In 2002, the North portion of the Golden Belt facility, including Building 1 and the former power plant, was sold to a private buyer. This enabled owners Dodd and Michelle Aldred to create Belt Line Station on Building 1’s former rail platform. We are proud to carry on the long history of the Golden Belt complex with special, memorable outdoor weddings and events.
For More Information About the History of the Golden Belt Manufacturing Complex