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Preservation Virginia to Host Tobacco Barns Preservation Project Meeting

February 5, 2012

Preservation Virginia is pleased to announce the kick off meeting of the Pittsylvania County Tobaccos Barns Project. Sonja Ingram, Preservation Virginia’s Partners in the Field Representative stated, “Upon the Pittsylvania County Tobacco Barns listing on Preservation Virginia’s Most Endangered list, we received an influx of inquires regarding the importance of saving these now endangered structures and wanted to provide a proactive solution to address their preservation.”

The Tobacco Barns Preservation Project’s goals are to raise awareness on the importance of tobacco barns as they relate to the larger rural landscapes of Virginia; to educate the public and students on the importance of local agricultural heritage; and to create a model that can be used in other regions of the state to help protect Virginia’s rural, agricultural heritage resources.

A large part of the project will include a volunteer survey to assess the number, types and conditions of tobacco barns in the county for further research and protection programs.

The kick-off meeting, sponsored by Danville Historical Society and the Danville-Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce will be held on February 29th at 6 pm at the Olde Dominion Agricultural Complex at 19783 US Hwy 29 South, Chatham, VA.

In addition to introducing the program, the initial meeting will provide barn owners with information on adaptive reuse strategies and potential economic advantages of barn preservation through agritourism and heritage tourism.

Farmers, local government representatives, historic and social organizations and anyone interested in learning about protecting tobacco barns and other rural heritage resources are invited to attend. Volunteers will also be sought at the initial meeting to assist with the survey and documentation portion of the project.

The Threat

Dominating the Virginia economy after 1622, tobacco remained the staple of the Chesapeake colonies and its phenomenal rise is one of the most remarkable aspects of Virginia history.
The production of “bright-leaf” tobacco in Virginia’s Piedmont made many towns and counties, including Danville and Pittsylvania County, major suppliers of tobacco for Virginia and the nation.

For centuries, log built and wood-frame tobacco curing barns have graced the agricultural fields of Virginia. However, due to tobacco buy-out programs, a general decline in farming and advances in tobacco curing technologies that left older barns obsolete; historic tobacco barns— a lasting symbol of the rural heritage of the Commonwealth and the nation— are now being lost at an alarming rate.

About Preservation Virginia

Preservation Virginia, a private non-profit organization and statewide historic preservation leader founded in 1889, is dedicated to perpetuating and revitalizing Virginia's cultural, architectural and historic heritage thereby ensuring that historic places are integral parts of the lives of present and future generations. Preservation Virginia provides leadership, experience, influence, and services to the public and special audiences by saving, managing, and protecting historic places, and developing preservation policy, programs, and strategies with individuals, organizations, and local, state, and national partners. For more information, visit www.preservationvirginia.org, find us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter @preservationva.

Press Contact

Elizabeth Kostelny
Executive Director
Preservation Virginia
204 West Franklin Street
Richmond, Virginia 23220
ekostelny@preservationvirginia.org