Tobacco Farm History Gets a Boost From the State

Pittsylvania Co, VA - Old tobacco barns in the Dan River region may be getting new life, thanks to the group Preservation Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources gave the organization a grant to survey tobacco barns in the Pittsylvania County.

Preservationists say the barns are not only monuments to Virginia's tobacco history, but are also part of what makes a beautiful landscape for the area.

They hope this project will raise awareness for the endangered landmarks in order to preserve them for years to come.

Wallace Compton, 84, knows a thing or two about tobacco.

"This barn has been here since the 1800's," Compton said.

He grew up playing in tobacco barns and went on to work in the tobacco industry.

"Tobacco made this county. If it weren't for tobacco, it wouldn't be anything, and I hate to see them fall down. If I've got one, I'm going to keep it," Compton said.

Preservation Virginia hopes preserving barns like the two that Compton owns will help educate people on the importance of these often forgotten landmarks.

Sonja Ingram has been behind the project from the beginning.

"You could go a couple counties away and you don't see the tobacco barns. So it's really important to keep those buildings as a reminder of our agricultural heritage," Ingram said.

She's surveyed barns in surrounding counties in southern Virginia, and now she hopes to educate the community on their importance.

"I do hope that people will see that there is value in these barns. Most of the people that we talk to already understand that," Ingram added.

One person she won't have to convince is Mr. Compton, who is proud to have a piece of that history.

"I aint going to sell this barn here to nobody as long as I'm living. When I'm dead and gone, I don't know what they're going to do with it, but I aint going to let nobody tear it down," Compton said.

If you're interested in learning more, there's a workshop Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Olde Agricultural Complex. The event is free and open to the public.

If you would like to support the preservation project, go to .