NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL RESOURCES
OFFICE OF ARCHIVES AND HISTORY

STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE
4617 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-4617
919/807-6586

Where the Barns Are

Distribution of Tobacco Barns Across North Carolina

Regional differences in the forms and construction details of tobacco barns appear across the state, depending on the type of tobacco, when its cultivation was introduced to an area, and local building traditions. Barns for air-cured burley take many forms. Flue-cure barns fall within a narrower range of forms because of the need for careful control of temperatures inside during the cure. Many farmers erected their own barns, usually with the help of neighbors, and others hired specialty builders to construct their barns. Both methods gave rise to an individual character in the form and details of barns from region to region and among communities within regions.

The state's oldest flue-cure barns are found in the Old Bright Belt and the northern Middle Belt along the Virginia border. The compact barns are most often built of hewn logs.

Flue-cure barns in the New Bright Belt, where tobacco was introduced on a major scale in the late 1800s, are most often of frame construction, and frequently taller than their Old Belt counterparts.

Some barns in the Border Belt were enveloped by distinctive "floating" sheds supported by a system of low-angle brackets that eliminated the need for posts and allowed easier movement of workers and equipment around the barn.

Barns for air-cured burley tobacco in the mountain region take a variety of forms, and burley is sometimes cured in multi-purpose barns.

Return to Celebrate Tobacco Barns Home Page


N.C. State Historic Preservation Office Home Page
Office of Archives and History Home Page