US: Historic Tobacco Barn Renovated In Southern Pines

Restoration work was recently completed at a historic barn that once housed the state¡¯s leafy lifeblood.

The barn was originally built to store laths of flue-cured tobacco in Carthage. Ted Lawrence, an area carpenter, reconstructed the building after it was moved 20 years ago to its current home near the Shaw House in Southern Pines.

His son Thad Lawrence is the co-founder of N.C. Cedar Co., a Sanford business hired earlier this year to replace the barn¡¯s rotted foundation with new hand-hewn logs. Work began in May and was completed last week.

The Moore County Historical Association hopes to eventually repurpose the building as a small museum dedicated to tobacco production in North Carolina. The project is being spearheaded by Johnny Burns, co-president of the association, and Jim Jones, the nonprofit¡¯s past president.

Jones said flue-cured tobacco barns like the one at Shaw House were once ubiquitous.

¡°They literally dotted the entire landscape,¡± he said. ¡°They were iconic. A North Carolina without tobacco barns would be like Holland without windmills.¡±

While the state remains the nation¡¯s largest producer of tobacco, the barns were made largely obsolete by modern advances in the tobacco curing process. It is not known when the Shaw House barn, which was found abandoned in the 1990s, was first built.

The barn is made from horizontally stacked logs of pinewood. According to Jones, the building¡¯s design is typical of the barns that permeated across rural North Carolina during the first half of the 20th century.

¡°The preservation of a flue-cured tobacco barn is huge,¡± Jones said. ¡°These barns were the backbone of an industry that built churches and hospitals and sent children to college.¡±  Enditem