Uncle Bob's Travels

Places I've hung out in, sometimes briefly.

Archive for the tag “Morristown TN”

Tobacco Warehouses

This card shows a tobacco auction sale at a warehouse in South Boston VA.  According to the note on the back, the auction started on September 23, 1946.  It’s a “Natural Finish” card made by Graycraft Card Co., Danville, Va.  Interesting, because Danville was one of the early tobacco markets in the southeast.

This is the only card I have that shows a tobacco auction in progress.

I got interested in the tobacco auctions, long gone since 2005 or so, after I chatted with the owner of a former warehouse.  Tobacco warehouses and auctions and allotments…these were just part of the landscape that I barely noticed growing up.  I tied some tobacco for drying once when I was a kid.  My hands and anything else that came in contact with the leaves got all tarry.  Hello, Lava soap!  Luckily, we didn’t grow tobacco and I managed to avoid that duty again.

Morristown, New Tazewell, Johnson City, Mountain City, Greeneville (among many others) were large markets.  Tobacco was a huge cash crop.  The tobacco would be harvested in July or August, then wrapped in bundles and hung on rods in barns to air dry (there were other ways to do this).

The auctions in this area ran from October to late January.  Professional graders and auctioneers would go from town to town to take care of it all.  Literally millions of pounds of tobacco would be bought by the big companies, re-dried and packed in hogsheads for shipping by rail or trucks.  If it had been a good year, the farmer took home enough money to do Christmas and get through to the next year.

Then it all went to hell.  The major companies decided to deal directly with the farmers on a contract basis, the campaign against tobacco use got serious, and the federal government politely stepped away from the whole thing.  Tobacco is still grown. We have good soil for Burley.

White Burley tobacco (for all intents and purposes, the “cigarette tobacco”) originated in Ohio (natural mutation) in the late 1800s. In 1884, the Duke family in North Carolina let loose a cascade of perfectly rolled machine-made cigarettes.  R. J. Reynolds introduced Camel cigarettes in 1913 and need for good “Virginia” burley (bright) to blend with Turkish tobacco increased, prompting farmers in this area to go for it.  And the tobacco companies spent fortunes in advertising their products.  Literally millions and millions of pounds of tobacco changed hands each of the years that smoking was rampant.

Mid-1930s to early 2000s.  Now the warehouses are either gone or used for storage and/or flea markets.

Marshall NC

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Looks Alpine, doesn’t it?  However, as the title of this post suggests, it’s in Marshall NC.  We often wonder about living in a house that close to an active rail line.  Besides the noise, those big trains cause a lot of ground vibration.  Maybe you get used to it.

The first 11 years of my life were spent in a home across from a switch yard on East Main Street in Morristown TN.    Visitors would ask, “How do you stand the noise?” and we’d say, “What noise?”

Tate Springs Inn, Kingswood School, Bean Station TN

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The top card is from the 1930s, C.T. American Art Colored (that’s just a phase Curt Teich Post Cards was going through in the 30s), published by Asheville Post Card Co., Asheville, N.C.
This is the bathhouse/swimming pool.  The big Tate Springs Hotel is behind the photographer.  Look closely, there are quite a few people enjoying a sunny day.  On the back (undated) is “Dear Mrs. Nance Please accept my thanks to you and the entire class for the beautiful flowers and the ice cream.  I hope to be with  you soon. Much Love, Louise”  Address is Mrs. A.M. Nance, Rutledge, Tenn.  The numbers are in a different hand (the pencil lead is chipped, too).  The one cent stamp places it in the right decade, too.

The bottom card, certainly just a decade younger, shows no people (they could have easily been airbrushed out), but all else seems to be the same.  It’s linen-finished, also published by Asheville Post Card Company and I thought it was also printed by Curt Teich, but the inventory number doesn’t fit.  This one also refers to Kingswood as being “near Morristown”, while the top one refers to “Tate Springs, Tenn.”

Morristown TN High School

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Morristown High School in 1950.  It’s now Morristown East.
Anyway, I was puzzled about this picture.  The inventory number, lower right on the front, dates this card to 1950; however, the primary source for information on this school (Wikipedia) gives a date 1955 for the addition of that 3rd floor.  Sounded kind of wrong to me, because the building looks to be fully developed as it. Then, I ran across this picture .  The school was built in 1923 and that black-and-white image is from the ’30s.  Maybe there was a 3rd story added somewhere, but I don’t think it was here.  Btw, Morristown High School is the oldest accredited high school in Tennessee.

The card was published by Blackburn News Agency in Kingsport, but it’s a Genuine Curteich-Chicago “C.T. Art-Colortone” post card (Reg. U.S. Pat. Off.).  It’s in fairly good shape, despite the staining on the back.

 

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