The Tobacco Warehouse


Postmarked in 1914, this vintage postcard offers an early view of the
Huntington Tobacco Warehouse.


HUNTINGTON -- Burley tobacco long was a leading cash crop in West Virginia. In the early 1900s,
 West Virginia growers produced as much as 14 million pounds a year and brought their
 harvested tobacco to Huntington to be auctioned off to the tobacco companies.

The first tobacco warehouse in Huntington was a brick building at 3rd Avenue and 7th Street.
Due to low sales, it was open only one year. In 1910, local sellers bought a former stove
 factory on 26th Street between 1st and 2nd avenues and opened the Huntington Tobacco
Warehouse Co. The site was chosen for its access to the Ohio River
 and the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway.

In 1917, Liggett & Myers built a four-story red brick building on 27th Street, just east of the
tobacco warehouse, and opened a cigarette factory. The former factory
 was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.

In 1925, Jack L. Knight purchased the tobacco warehouse. In 1980, his son, Jack Knight Jr.,
leased the warehouse to Allied Realty Co,, which later purchased it and renamed it the
Pride In Tobacco Market. Operating each year from Thanksgiving to mid-January,
 the Huntington market was a bustling place with growers in long lines of loaded
 pickup trucks waiting their turn to sell, as buyers, auctioneers, warehousemen
and others crowded the market's two sales floors.

But West Virginia tobacco production was devastated by the elimination of the auction
market system which came with the end of the federal allotment program. The
tobacco companies switched to direct contracts with large U.S. and
overseas tobacco producers. This meant there was no longer a
demand for West Virginia production, which was mostly
 limited to small producers. This dramatic switch forced
the Huntington market to close after the 1997 season.

Today, REO Logistics (a successor company to Allied Realty)
operates a modern warehouse complex in the former
 tobacco market and L&M cigarette factory.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on June 12, 2017


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