By Brianna Dunlap
Cigar tobacco runs in the blood of Connecticut River Valley farmers. Delve into the surprising history of the region’s most iconic crop, all the way back to early Native American uses and the boom of the Civil War. Though fashionable in the 1950s, the popularity of cigars declined a decade later, nearly destroying the region’s tobacco industry. A resurgence in the 1990s brought new life to the crop, and the reopening of Cuba in 2015 added a new chapter for cigar tobacco. Brianna Dunlap, director of the Connecticut Valley Tobacco Museum, provides a guide to important tobacco landmarks from East Haddam to Brattleboro, featuring stunning photography from Leonard Hellerman. It is the story of the people–the farmers and field hands–who made tobacco the soul of the valley.
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