Durham, North Carolina is the seat of Durham County and the home of Duke University. Established in 1853 as a railroad depot for the North Carolina Railroad, the city was named for Bartlett S. Durham, who donated his land when the landowners in nearby Prattsburg refused. The town's rapid growth following the Civil War was due primarily to the thriving tobacco industry, built around the area's mild-flavored brightleaf tobacco. It was an endowment from James B. Duke, head of the American Tobacco Company, that established Duke University as a renowned institution of higher learning.
With the decline in the tobacco industry, Durham now focuses its attention on medicine and research. Durham County is the location of Research Triangle Park, a research center that includes the Environmental Protection Agency, IBM Corporation, and the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences. With its more than 300 medical and health-related companies, including Duke University Medical Center and the Durham Regional Hospital, Durham has earned the title "City of Medicine."
Durham consistently ranks near the top in national livability studies, and is proud of its progressive cultural community. The American Dance Festival and the Bull Durham Blues Festival are just two of the annual events that celebrate Durham's vibrant art and culture.