Tobacco barns

The book, “Tobacco Barns, Preserving History in the Old Belt,” contains mostly photographs and illustrates the project that has repaired more than 60 historic tobacco barns in Pittsylvania and Halifax counties in Virginia and Caswell County, North Carolina.

A new book about a five-year project to restore old tobacco barns in the Dan River Region is now available for local history buffs.

Preservation Virginia and JTI Leaf Services announced the release of the book last week.

The book, “Tobacco Barns, Preserving History in the Old Belt,” contains mostly photographs and illustrates the project that has repaired more than 60 historic tobacco barns in Pittsylvania and Halifax counties in Virginia and Caswell County, North Carolina.

“It also has brief information about the tobacco barns program in general, the three counties the barns are in and brief history on each of the barns and the repairs,” said Sonja Ingram, preservation field services manager for Preservation Virginia.

The book is a way to package all the project’s barns so readers can see what they look like and view maps of where they are located, Ingram said.

Ingram started the tobacco barns project in 2014. JTI Leaf Services has provided grant money each year for the repairs and helped with the funding of the book.

The book was written by Ingram and edited by Preservation Virginia CEO Elizabeth Kostelny and Director of Preservation Initiatives and Engagement Justin Sarafin. Kostelny and Sarafin wrote parts of the book as well, Ingram said.

“The tobacco barns project overall has really broken new ground in raising awareness of this type of building,” Kostelny said Thursday. “The book is intended to capture some of those stories about the people, about the land and about the building.”

Langhorne Jones Jr., board member of the Pittsylvania Historical Society, said the published work is “one of the better coffee-table books depicting history, the preservation of which is necessary.”

“We’re somewhat in an area renown for barns,” Jones said. “We might as well hang on to them.”

Kostelny said she hopes the book will be a way for people to discover local history, hit the road in the Dan River Region and explore that history.

Published by Donning Company Publishers in Brookfield, Missouri, the book is $60 and can be bought from Preservation Virginia by contacting Ingram at (434) 770-1209 or singram@preservationvirginia.org. It also is available from the Pittsylvania Historical Society at (434) 251-0009, the Halifax County Historical Society at (434) 579-0083 or the Caswell County Historical Association.

Proceeds from sales will go toward Preservation Virginia and the historical societies.

Jones said the book also will be available at the Pittsylvania County History Research Center and Library in Chatham.

“The book depicts the barns that have been restored very, very well,” he said. “It’s well done and I encourage everyone to buy one. If they hurry up, they can do it for Christmas.”

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John Crane reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact him at jcrane@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7987.

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