Monday, May 9, 2011

Barn Charm #5


While not your typical barn, tobacco kilns dotted the landscape of Southwestern Ontario for many years. These kilns, resting on the northern fringe of tobacco country in Ontario, were once a plentiful icon of a highly profitable and prolific crop. They were used to dry and cure the tobacco leaves. Both my dad and my aunt worked in tobacco in their teens for summer employment. The pay was good, especially if you stayed on the first few weeks after Labour Day, but it was during a time before harvesting became more automated and from their stories, it was back breaking work, and the insides of the kilns, especially up in the rafters, was stifling hot.


Those kilns still remaining now sit empty in various states of decay. These kilns are in fairly decent repair compared to many I saw over the weekend and they reside near the road, in the front yard of a rather large, modern house. Hats off to the owners who maintain these tobacco flagships that in turn block most of their view out their front door. 


I find them rather charming and am surprised no one has thought to re-purpose them for different use. I can envision them as summer guest homes, sort of like a cottage bunkie, or a bread and breakfast set up, or perhaps a craft barn. No matter, each time I see them they remind me an era long gone and am always happier for the chance meeting for they are more plentiful in the area surrounding my childhood hometown; I've yet to find one near the old farmhouse.


I'm linking to Barm Charm Monday.


~Be well friends~

20 comments:

Jenni said...

Those tobacco buildings are lovely. It would be good to see them bought back to life and used. No doubt an expensive undertaking!
Jenni

Buttons said...

Andrea beautiful shots. I have never really seen these tobacco houses before. Nice. B

Osage Bluff Quilter said...

Amazing! I knew knew tobacco was grown that far north. I thought it was a warm climate crop. But then what do I know?

texwisgirl said...

interesting buildings, for sure. if they were blocking my view, though, i'd not be so happy with them being there. :)

Nancy said...

Interesting post! Love seeing what's around the farms in different region of the US.

Love your textures. Well applied!

Deb said...

I love these. Some of my cousins used to go to Ontario to pick tobacco and I had forgotten that. Thanks for the memory!

Lesley said...

I imagine these kilns would have a lingering odour, would they not?

Mari said...

These are such neat buildings! I really like your idea of re-purposing them.

Allison at Novice Life said...

Beautiful! I'd love to go through one of these!

Rose said...

Nice post...we grew tobacco when I grew up, but all we did was hang it in the barn and let it cure. I would give anything to have pictures of back then...and wish you had pictures from your area of the process used there.

Elaine said...

Very interesting, and your texture works perfect with your subject.

EG Wow said...

So interesting about the tobacco barns! Next time in southwestern Ontario I will have to pay more attention. I'm so glad you opened my eyes!

Jan n Jer said...

Very interesting history of these places. Great shots and I love the textures.

from my front porch... said...

Gosh, Andrea~just gorgeous pics!

One of our old barns is a tobacco barn-no kiln though! The people who built our home in 1900 were tobacco farmers. A very back-breaking, but lucrative farm crop at the time. Oh, how I wish I could find old pics of the farm in 1900!
xo, misha

Tricia said...

Definitely a 'hats off' to the owner for keeping them in such great condition... they're gorgeous! =) The texture you added fits perfectly, too! Great find!

We ran across an old Spring house on a country drive this past weekend... my aunts said they used to build over a spring to keep their food cold before refrigerators... I was shocked to see that it was built on a stone foundation when the barns around here aren't...

Thank you so much for joining!!! =)

Evelyn S. said...

Great history! And that green is wonderful!

jo©o said...

Sad to think of their original purpose though. I can't set aside the implications and the ruined lives because of that crop.

Judy said...

These are in excellent shape. The tobacco barns in our area are pretty much going away. No one grows tobacco anymore here so the barns are not taken care of.

Genie said...

I have seen many different kilns, but never a tobacco kiln. I have learned something new tonight. They are so interesting...wish I could wander all around them and see them up close. Beautiful shots. Love the contrast between the green and the white.

Carole said...

Interesting. And not something I knew about. Great shots.