Tobacco barn deemed a landmark
Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 8:00 pm
MURRAY, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Heritage Council has recognized a tobacco barn in western Kentucky as a landmark in the area.
Built in the 1880s, the log frame barn was part of the Arnett Farm in southwest Calloway County. A descendent of the family, Sam Arnett, told the Murray Leger & Times (http://bit.ly/woPsoq) that he sought historic recognition for the barn as a way to signify the cultural importance of tobacco in the region.
Arnett worked in tobacco fields while growing up in the 1980s and 90s alongside families who have been in the industry for hundreds of years, he said.
“In the summertime, we would work in tobacco and bale hay, and in the wintertime, we would take tobacco down, strip it and box it and send it off,” Arnett said. “That really got us through high school, and I bought my first car with money I earned from tobacco.”
Although tobacco barns are plentiful in the area, few have been the subject of artwork. J. C. Goodman, one of Arnett’s cousins, used the Old Arnett Tobacco Barn in one of his paintings. The original work has been shown at local businesses, but prints and postcards of it have been sold around Kentucky and the nation.
Steve Goodman, the artist’s son, said the original painting is hanging in his house. He also has memories of helping his family hang dark-fired tobacco in the barn to cure.
“When you’re raised up around here, and have been around tobacco, you’ll smell the tobacco smoke in the fall and know that winter is at hand,” said Goodman.
Arnett says he’d like to raise enough money to place a marker next to the barn and hopes to work with the current owner to restore the structure.
“The Arnett barn is just a barn … but it does signify other tobacco growers and what they’ve contributed to the culture of tobacco growing and the culture of western Kentucky,” Arnett said.
Information from: Murray Ledger & Times, http://www.murrayledger.com
Published in The Messenger 4.24.12