The Buzz About American Tobacco’s Newest Addition

The Buzz About American Tobacco’s Newest Addition

Love Burt’s Bees products? Interested in Burt’s story? Just a general lover of bees? Come tour Burt’s cabin at American Tobacco Campus.

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Burt Shavitz’s cabin, originally located in Maine, was transported in late 2016 to Durham’s American Tobacco Campus.
The view of the Lucky Strike Tower from Burt’s cabin.

Walking through American Tobacco Campus (ATC) to a Bullsgame, DPAC show or to grab a seat on the green for the Back Porch Music On The Lawn series, you might have noticed an additional structure on the campus. Planted in front of the Burt’s Bees headquarters is a cabin, and not just any cabin. Burt Shavitz’s 300-square-foot cabin, relocated from upstate Maine.

After Burt’s death in July 2015, the structure – which used to sit on a secluded 37 acres in the woods of Maine – was transported about 1,000 miles to Durham in October 2016. There, the renovated turkey coop’s bones were strengthened and, to meet building codes, a bathroom was added (Burt used an outhouse). Many of Burt’s belongings made the trip, too, including his golden retriever’s leash, the old wood stove he used to heat the house and various collected items, including a “HONEYBZ” license plate. The transportation and preservation of the cabin is an extension of efforts made to honor the brand’s “original beekeeper,” says Patrice Sherman, global public relations manager for Burt’s Bees. Other memorials include the observation beehive near the doors of the Burt’s Bees headquarters and a mural by Matthew Willey painted along the sides of their offices. The cabin serves as a reminder to employees and passersby of who Burt was, and his mantra to live simply, engaged with nature.

The interior of Burt’s 300-square-foot cabin, which originally was a turkey coop.

Visitors can explore the outside of the building (check out the observation viewfinder that gives you a “Burt’s eye view” of his 37 acres), and the interior of the small home will be open for a special round of tours Thursday, June 22 and Friday, June 23. In celebration of Pollinator Week, 5- to 10-minute tours led by Burt’s Bees’ employees – many of whom knew Burt personally – will rotate from 10am to 6pm, offering insight about Burt’s background and the history of the structure. Get there early; we hear there’s a treat in store for the first 400 visitors.

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Laura Zolman Kirk
Associate Editor Laura Zolman Kirk is a Kentuckian turned North Carolinian who can't get enough of this buzzing community.