By the early 20's, the RJ Reynolds tobacco company was the largest tobacco company in United States and its only brand of cigarette, Camel, was the number one brand. This prosperity and the need for office space prompted the company to begin planning the Reynolds Building, which would become the first skyscraper built south of Baltimore.

The building was designed by Shreve & Lamb, a New York architecture firm that would go on to design the Empire State Building. The design won the National Association of Architects' "Building of the Year" award in 1929 and helped to cinch the Empire State Building commission for Shreve & Lamb. The two buildings are similar in design, if not in height.

Construction began in March of 1928, and was completed by April of the following year. The building opened officially on April 27th, 1929 and has just celebrated it's 75th anniversary. Total cost of construction was $2.7 million.

Like the Empire State Building, the top of the Reynolds Building is lighted, and as such stands out in the Winston-Salem skyline. Since 9/11, the lights have been changed to a red, white and blue configuration.

The building has been occupied by RJ Reynolds since opening and today houses the company's brand marketing, executive offices, benefits, legal and human resources operations.

The Stats

  • Height: 380 feet from street level to flagpole top
  • Stories: 22
  • Sq. Feet: 313,995

Sources:
Winston-Salem Journal
RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co.

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