Virginia’s Department of Historic Resource has approved a historic marker for Pittsylvania County’s old tobacco barns. It’s one of nine historic markers approved by the department, according to a news release from the department.
Pittsylvania County’s marker, “Bright-Leaf Tobacco Barns,” will highlight the emergence of the buildings in Southside Virginia during the latter part of the 19th century, when growers began curing tobacco leaves using wood stoves.
Its proposed location is along U.S. 29 in Blairs, next to a restored bright-leaf tobacco barn.
Preservation Virginia is sponsoring the marker and leading efforts in Southside Virginia to repair tobacco barns and raise awareness of the region’s tobacco heritage.
Here is the full text of the historic marker, according to the news release:
“By the latter decades of the 19th century, bright-leaf tobacco harvested across Southside Virginia was typically cured in hand-hewn log barns outfitted with wood-burning stoves. Inside these barns, tobacco leaves were hung from sticks that rested on horizontal tier-poles. Flues (or ducts) distributed heat, which cured the leaves while protecting them from smoke. The leaves were then stored in pack barns, graded for quality, and sent to auction. Flue-cure tobacco barns were retrofitted with oil and gas burners after World War II and fell into disuse with the introduction of bulk-curing barns in the 1970s.”
The Virginia Highway marker program began in 1927 with the installation of the first historical markers along U.S. 1. It is considered the oldest such program in the nation. Of the more than 2,500 official state markers, most are maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation, except in localities outside VDOT’s authority.
More information about the program is available on the Department of Historic Resources website, www.dhr.virginia.gov .