Havana History & Heritage Society to present ‘Barns of Gadsden County’

The Havana History & Heritage Society will present “Barns of Gadsden County” on Saturday, September 16, 2023 at its Shade Tobacco Museum in Havana.

The presentation will start at 10:30 AM with a slide show featuring photos by retired photographer George Kemp and retired Gadsden County Agriculture Extension Agent Bobby Durden. Kemp and Durden traveled about Gadsden County in late 2022 and early 2023 to locate and photograph 50 barns in the county. They will talk about each barn shown in the slide show. Some of the barn owners are expected to join in the conversation.

 Durden, who worked in, and grew, tobacco in his earlier years, says there were probably about 2,000 barns in Gadsden County during the peak tobacco-growing years, and about 6,000 acres of shade tobacco growing at that time.  

 Luke Blackburn and Sam Vickers, two of the better known barn-builders during the tobacco era, built many barns in east Gadsden County. According to Durden, a barn could be built in about 10 days. Leroy Durden, Bobby Durden’s uncle, grew tobacco between Havana and Concord for many years and was one of the last five tobacco farmers in the area.

HHHS is also working to produce a barn wall calendar to be available for sale at the September 16 event. The calendar would make a great gift for almost anyone, especially with Christmas only a few months away.

The Shade Tobacco Museum is located in the Planters Exchange Complex, 204 NW 2nd St., Havana.

Nick Bert – Gadsden County News Service


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