If you’re from Georgia, you probably don’t associate these images with tobacco barns but these aren’t just any tobacco barns. They’re among the last remnants of a highly specialized segment of the tobacco industry. Shade tobacco.
Shade tobacco was grown for cigar wrappers in southwest Georgia, northwest Florida, and the Connecticut River Valley of Connecticut and Massachusetts. Wood-framed arbors and later, cheese cloth tents, filtered sun and kept insects away to achieve the higher grade of tobacco required for cigars.
Shade tobacco was grown in the United States from the 1840s until 1975. Most production in Grady County was finished by 1965, though, as Imperial Tobacco (previously American Sumatra) ceased operations.
Few shade tobacco barns survive in Georgia in any condition and well-preserved examples are rare. Thanks to Gaile Eubanks for help with the location.