Windsor Historical Society Sponsors In-Depth Look At The Luddy Taylor Connecticut Valley Tobacco Museum Collections

 

Join Luddy Taylor Connecticut Valley Tobacco Museum Curator Marian Nielson on Saturday, June 25 from 10 a.m. to noon for an in-depth exploration of tobacco, our areaís major agricultural export.    The combination of soils, climate and agricultural innovation has made the Windsor area renowned for tobacco from colonial times.   Throughout the twentieth century, the Connecticut Valley has been noted for its shade grown tobacco.  Travelers notice distinctive acres of tobacco fields covered with billowing gauze netting, and our regionís tobacco-curing sheds with their hinged sides that are opened to let air circulate and dry hanging tobacco leaves in early fall. 

 

While the growing of tobacco in the Connecticut River valley had roots in the colonial era, it wasnít until 1900 that the first shade tents of cloth were put up on River Street in the Poquonock section of Windsor.  Their purpose was simple:  cutting sunlight and raising humidity to mimic ideal tobacco growing conditions in the tropical islands Cuba and Sumatra.  Soon, shade grown leaf from the Connecticut Valley provided the finest cigar wrappers in the world, providing the area with millions of dollars in income and a ready source of employment.  Tobacco drew young people from geographically distant states like Florida and Pennsylvania, and migrant workers from Jamaica and Puerto Rico.

 

The Luddy Taylor  Connecticut Valley Tobacco Museum is named for John E. Luddy who made his fortune selling cheese-cloth shade cloth which had to be replaced each year (acrylic materials are used today.)  Gordon Taylor ran the Agricultural Experiment station in town and in his retirement helped to prepare the displays at the museum which opened to the public in 1992.    Workshop participants will see scrapbooks detailing all aspects of the tobacco industry dating from 1941 though the 1960ís, one-of-a kind images of tobacco growing and tobacco workers drawn from a collections of glass plate negatives by a local photographer, equipment used in tobacco processing such as  bed steamers, Bemis planters, smoothers, and large scale stitching machines, and a large collection of cigar boxes.  At the end of the workshop, participants will have a deeper understanding of the industry that made our area famous.

 

The program is located at the Luddy Taylor Connecticut Valley Tobacco Museum at Northwest Park on 135 Land Road.  The cost for the program is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and students, and $2 for Windsor Historical Society members. Pre-registration required by June 24th; this is a limited enrollment program.   Call Windsor Historical Society at 688-3813 to register and obtain directions.   

 

 

96 Palisado Avenue        Windsor, Connecticut 06095

Phone: (860- 688-3813)         Fax:  (860) 687-1633        E-mail: info@windsorhistoricalsociety.org    

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