Friday, October 30, 2020

My Tobacco Baskets Just Arrived!

So, I'm close to being done with my fireplace display, but still awaiting on a few arrivals.  Okay, so - they're a little bit more gray than brown, than I expected - and this isn't their final placement location - but they just arrived, so I was excited and wanted a preliminary picture :)

What are tobacco baskets, you may ask?

The distinctive baskets were first made in Kentucky - with North Carolina eventually taking over the tobacco-basket industry.

They are designed in a woven pattern such as to carry the large leaves, but still have spaces between the slats, for the leaves to aerate and "breathe." 

Their purpose was to display Kentucky burley tobacco at November auction for the buyers, at the old burley auction warehouses (i.e., Liggett and Myers, RJ Reynolds) which once upon a time, lined the streets of South Broadway, Manchester, Georgetown, and Old Frankfort Pike, here in Lexington.

The original ones were typically much larger - in fact, they were huge - and you'd be pretty hard pressed to find an authentic one now - and if you do, they're very pricey!

These bring back fond memories of the days my grandfather grew tobacco and took it to the auction warehouses downtown for auction at Thanksgiving :)

If you look closely at this old photo from Liggett and Myers, you can see the baskets at the bottom of the piles of burley tobacco, specifically for the purpose of displaying the leaves easier while still allowing them to breathe :)

In fact, I remember growing up in Cincinnati and visiting Lexington for Thanksgiving, there used to be an old billboard on New Circle Road near Old Frankfort Pike to greet us,  paid for by the Kentucky Burley Co-Op, stating, "Quiet please, tobacco asleep." 

That sign sat like a welcome mat to Lexington, letting us know that we have arrived in Lexington and were in now in tobacco country - but more importantly, we were 15 minutes from to my grandparents house for Thanksgiving  :)

Just a little reminder of family history and some of the more happy memories of my childhood, during the holidays :)

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