Preservation Virginia has created the Tobacco Barn Protection Project to focus on tobacco barns— a quickly disappearing historic resource— and to raise awareness on the importance of tobacco farming and agricultural heritage in Virginia.
Tobacco barns are some of the last remaining tangible resources that reflect their importance to the region’s agricultural and tobacco farming heritage. Because of the abandonment and decay of many of these resources; Preservation Virginia is creating a multi-faceted project that will educate local students, document tobacco barns, and promote public awareness and preservation of these significant, unique, and too often disappearing heritage resources.
In 2009, the tobacco barns of Pittsylvania County were listed on Preservation Virginia’s Most Endangered Sites List. The interest that was received from the nomination was substantial and widespread and lead to a full tobacco barns project in the region which expectantly will help create and expand rural and agricultural heritage initiatives across the Commonwealth.
This project will be centered in the Dan River Region of Virginia. Halifax, Pittsylvania, and Caswell County, North Carolina were the heart of the “Bright Belt” where bright leaf tobacco was successfully established and grown. Danville became the largest market for bright leaf tobacco in the nation. As a consequence, the region has a rich tobacco heritage and retains a large number of tobacco barns that have never been fully researched.
The objective of the Tobacco Barns Project is to raise awareness on rural heritage in Virginia —in all its forms and physical expressions—so that it can be protected, studied and celebrated. Rural, agricultural heritage is a part of Virginia’s history that has often been overlooked. Tobacco is the agricultural product that has played the largest role in defining Virginia’s economy, culture and landscape.