Monday, September 10, 2012

Mail Pouch Tobacco: Treat Yourself To The Best

Today on a Facebook Group someone mentioned the old Burma-Shave signs and the Mail Pouch Tobacco Barns. I vaguely remember the Burma Shave ones but I've been photographing Mail Pouch Tobacco barns for years. On a recent trip to Pennsylvania  I spotted two I had never seen before. One was outside of Olean, New York and is in pretty bad shape. 

The other is on Route 6 near Coudersport and has been well taken care of.
I remember that there were three of them in the St. Marys area when I was a kid. One was on the highway leading to Pennfield. I used a picture of it in my cookbook, Fry Bacon. Add Onions:
The other two were off of Boot Jack Hill between Kersey and Ridgway:

Mail Pouch Tobacco barns were first painted in 1890 as an advertisement for - what else? - Mail Pouch Tobacco. Farmers were paid a dollar a year for the advertising space plus they got their barn re-painted every 2-3 years for free. In 1965 when the Highway Beautification Act was enacted to control the clutter of advertising along the country's interstates, Mail Pouch barns were exempted because they were considered historic landmarks.

I still get excited when I spot one and have to stop to photograph it -- I just can't help myself. Most of them are long gone and of those that remain a few are well-maintained but most are falling apart:
One year I made a quilt for my Dad for Christmas. My sister Anne took it home after Dad died and she still has it. I've been thinking I'd like to make another one one of these days.
The one below is also in the cookbook and I don't remember where I took it:
They're little bits of history with a charm that never fails to make me smile.

Thanks for reading and Treat Yourself to the Best.

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