Lynchburg is steeped in tobacco history. John Lynch, the founder of the Hill City, built his first tobacco warehouse here in 1785. Within a year after the Civil War, Lynchburg had become the largest loose-leaf tobacco market in the world. The dominant crop raised and sold in Central Virginia was dark-fired tobacco, exposed to smoke from open fires and brought to market in late fall. Warehouses in downtown Lynchburg would fill with buyers and growers and bundles and bundles of tobacco, though the Lynchburg warehouses eventually shut down as smoking fell out of favor and demand for tobacco dropped. The last area survivor, New Farmer’s Warehouse on U.S. 460 east of town, closed in 1996.
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All we know about this photo is that it was taken on Aug. 14, 1959.
1897 Lynchburg tobacco auction
This photograph of workers at a Lynchburg tobacco auction was taken in 1897.
1967-12-04 2 tobacco.jpg
Dec. 4, 1967. Dennis, left, and Ronnie, young sons of Mr. and Mrs. H.B. Jones of Spout Spring, display bundles of dark-fired tobacco brought to New Farmers Warehouse, on U.S. 460 east of Lynchburg.
Dec. 6, 1966. Tobacco Market Opens. Buyers gathered Monday at Booker's Independent and New Farmers warehouses as the 1966-67 dark-fired tobacco market opened here, Farmville and Blackstone.
Dec. 18, 1970. A.C. Reynolds, tobacco redrying superintendent, examines leaves that have just come from a half-hour of conditioning in the almost half-block-long tunnel at the rear.
1970-12-18 Tobacco - Dried, Moistened and Squeezed
Dec. 18, 1970. Dried, Moistened and Squeezed. Three of the almost 50 workmen at the Helme Products plant are shown placing a lid on a hogshead of tobacco before it was moved to the aging area.
November 1959. Young Grower. Barry Wuergler, 5-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. William S. Wuergler of Moneta, proudly displays some of the dark-fired tobacco he helped bring into Lynchburg today for the opening of the 1959 - 60 dark-fired marketing season.
Nov. 30, 1974 - Eleven-year-old David Keesee, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jessee Keesee of Evington, helps his grandfather, L.T. Langford of Forest, unload a truckful of dark-fired tobacco today at the New Farmers Warehouse on U.S. 460 east of Lynchburg.
Nov. 28, 1975. New Farmers Warehouse off of U.S. 460 opened today to receive dark-fired tobacco in preparation for the beginning of sales Tuesday. Aerial photo, taken from a Falwell Aviation plane, shows the long line of tobacco trucks awaiting their turn to unload.
July 23, 1976. Irrigating dry tobacco. Recent hot, dry weather forced tobacco and cattle farmer Ray Bennett of Renan to start irrigating his tobacco crop. However, the area received rain late Thursday. Bennett holds leaf that already has been cured and is ready for market. Cool, dry weather in June slowed growth of some tobacco plants and caused them to mature before reaching full growth.
1976-08-04 Auctioneer's chant rings out in Brookneal's Gold Leaf Warehouse
Aug. 4, 1976. Auctioneer's Chant. Auctioneer's chant rings out in Brookneal's Gold Leaf Warehouse as tobacco sales begin in town's four warehouses Tuesday. Brookneal is the state's third largest flue-cured tobacco market. Despite drought that lowered both quantity and quality of leaf on opening day, most farmers seemed pleased with prices.
1977-11-04 C.P. Knight
Nov. 4, 1977 - C.P. Knight, a Coffee Road tobacco farmer, sits a spell, resting weary bones from the chore of stoking the smoke fires used to fire-cure fall tobacco. The smoke prevents mildew from forming on the profitable leaves in a process dating back to colonial America. Knight's four-footed country companion, Rock, throws a doleful look at the photographer intruding on their patient, two-week vigil.
Sep. 28, 1978 - Terrell Woodford practices 'Timeless Ritual', which refers to the generations-old process of curing dark-fired tobacco, or smoke tobacco as it was sometimes called.
Nov. 28, 1979. Bill Creasy of Bedford County unloads tobacco at the start of the dark-fired leaf sale.
Aug. 16, 1979. Workers take a break under a Central Virginia shade tree and rest on a buggy of tobacco they have just pulled.
1980-12-02 Tobacco Market
Dec. 2, 1980. Carter Layne of Gretna relaxes amid stacks of tobacco at the New Farmer's Warehouse today.
Aug. 6, 1981. Lucas Nazarid ties up purchased bags of tobacco and prepares them for delivery at the Goldleaf Warehouse in Brookneal.
Aug. 6, 1981. McKinley Davis of Gladys rolls wrapped tobacco to be stockpiled for a buyer at Brookneal's Goldleaf Warehouse.
1982-07-20 Tobacco picking
July 20, 1982. Walter Bass drives a tractor through a tobacco field near Gladys in Campbell County Monday. Workers were spraying plants to remove unwanted growth.
Aug. 22, 1983. These youngsters - Kristie Kirby, 7, Allen Kirby, 9, and Danny Cassidy, 9 - were waiting for their parents at the Gold Leaf Tobacco Warehouse in Brookneal.
1983-08-16 tobacco auctioneer
Aug. 16, 1983. Sonny Monroe at an auction in Brookneal.
1983-08-16 Paul Michaels of Gladys watches his tobacco sell
Aug. 16, 1983. Paul Michaels of Gladys watches his tobacco sell for $194 a pile. Last year it sold for $146.
1983-08-16 tobacco pay
Aug. 16, 1983. Mark Guthrie of Sugar Hill does paperwork at the Planters warehouse in Brookneal before the sale.
1983-08-16 Melvin Love tobacco.jpg
Aug. 16, 1983. Auctioneer Melvin Love.
1983-08-26 Rachel Elder tobacco
August 26, 1983. Rachel Elder does some of the paperwork in the office of Gold Leaf warehouse in Brookneal.
Aug. 16, 1983. John Elam, Roy Pollard, Harry Lee Hamlet, and Fred Elam had no tobacco to sell, but showed up just to watch the auction at the Gold Leaf Tobacco Warehouse in Brookneal.
081683 g tobacco.jpg
Roy Francis of Nathalie waits for the sale of his tobacco in Brookneal.
Aug. 16, 1983. A farmer displays a leaf of tobacco during the auction sale in Brookneal.
Avery Boyd watches the activity at Planters Tobacco Warehouse in Brookneal. He was waiting for his family's crop to be sold.
1984-08-20 b tobacco
Aug. 20, 1984. P.M. Fariss, of Long Island, sold a half ton of leaf at the Gold Leaf Warehouse in Brookneal.
1984-08-20 tobacco sale
Aug. 20, 1984. Light streams into the Gold Leaf Warehouse in Brookneal at the start of the tobacco auction season.
Warehouse worker Claude Robertson peeks out of the loading dock as he prepares to load tobacco onto trucks.
Nov. 28, 1984. Stacks of tobacco dollies awaited dark-fired tobacco leaf at New Farmer's Warehouse.
Aug. 8, 1988. As concern about the tobacco industry grows, T.J. Davis simply tends his crop. Farmers in Central Virginia have to be worried more about weather for their crops.
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