Monday, 5 June 2017

Norfolk County Tobacco Kilns

At the J.J. Ruggers meeting on Thursday and again at the hook-in at Martina's on Saturday, we were talking about a project involving hooking the tobacco kilns that are gradually disappearing from Norfolk County. More info will be sent out by the secretary when the nature of the project is finalized.

According to a recent article in the Simcoe Reformer the first tobacco kilns were built at a farm near Lynedoch in 1923 and at the peak there were about 10,000 of them in use in the tobacco growing counties of Southern Ontario. In more recent years the old wooden kilns (heated and ventilated, they were used to dry the hanging tobacco leaves) were replaced by metal ones. Farmers, thankfully, have moved away from growing tobacco and the old wooden kilns are sometimes knocked down but, more often, left to get overgrown and fall down

Burning Kiln Winery has a restored one as does the Delhi Tobacco and Heritage Museum.

So this blog post is not like my usual ones. I am posting the pictures of kilns that I took returning from Simcoe to Long Point on Saturday. If any of them appeal to J.J.'s, who wish to use them for the project, feel free to take the pictures off the blog for your own use.
I asked at a couple of farm houses if I could take pictures. They probably thought I was crazy.
One gentleman told me not to get too close to them as they were falling down and dangerous.
It looks as if tar paper comes in red and green as they are the most common colours of the ones I saw.
When I first came to this area about 30 years ago I remember the large windows being open to let the air circulate around the leaves
and there was a strange musty smell in the air.
I couldn't resist taking pictures of other farm relics.
A large German Shepherd dog kept trying to herd me while I walked around this grouping.

Metal roofs are also quite common.
Some are quite well preserved and others have peeling tar paper and rotting wood.
The undergrowth and vines speed up the deterioration.

I couldn't resist taking a picture of the barn. These are also being replaced by the metal and canvas versions.

Eventually you wont be able to see it for the greenery climbing up.
Construction was a wood frame covered by boards and tar paper nailed over it.
They are surprisingly resilient.

I almost missed this water tank, surrounded, as it was, by sumac.
Irrigation pipes in the foreground.

Some I could just capture from the side of the road rather than having to ask permission to walk around.
Some farmers have turned their backs on these buildings, letting them get overgrown, rot and fall down, others, like this one, keep the grass mowed and trimmed and they are part of the entry to the farm.

These had large No Trespassing signs, maybe there have been other crazy photographers around.
It was a very pleasant exercise, driving through the countryside looking at farms and spuing these old kilns. I recommend it as a lovely way to spend an afternoon. On other drives I have noticed the kilns converted into animal shelters and equipment sheds. I will try and get some shots of those too.

No comments:

Post a Comment