From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Two Old Tobacco Barns

Old barns can be hazardous.



Tobacco barn, Christian County, KY

This time of the year, many of the old barns along the rural roads of western Kentucky are put to use. They are tobacco barns, constructed with "tiers" (horizontal braces) that support the tobacco-laden sticks.

I shuddered when I saw the barn above loaded with tobacco to its very top. The old barn isn't in very good shape. Its board siding is springing loose and curling up and it's got some kind of problem with its roof (left side.) I hope they checked to see if the timbers of the barn were still solid before they started filling the barn.

I know a fellow who was on the top tier of a barn, laying out the sticks of tobacco as they were handed up to him. The tier broke and he fell to the barn floor, breaking his leg terribly. He is a big guy and he probably shouldn't have been up there, but it does illustrate how dangerous an old barn can be.

Tobacco barn, Christian County, KY

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2 comments:

ptg said...

Considering our government's schizophrenic relationship with the red indian medicine, tobacco, do the farmers have any incentive to invest in infrastructure ?

Genevieve said...

You have a point there, PT. Tobacco growing has undergone a lot of business-related changes during the 16 years we've lived here. I don't understand much about it, but a "Tobacco Buyout" is underway, and it is supposed to end the government price supports and quotas for the crop. I think there are quite a few old barns that are available for rent because of farmers who have just stopped growing tobacco. Once in a while, a new tobacco barn goes up, but it's uncommon. Or at least, that's how I see it, as an interested observer.

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