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Tobacco Heritage Trail

In an effort to preserve the history of what was once the livelihood of many Kentuckians, four volunteers — Joy Bourne Morgan, Harold Malcomb, Frieda Smith, and Elizabeth Prewitt — came together to form the Tobacco Heritage Trail in 2009.

The trail consists of eight murals placed on barns alongside prominent roadways to depict the process of raising tobacco. To accompany the murals, the group worked tirelessly interviewing local farmers on each of the processes. The audio interviews can be found at

Sweet Owen Magazine continues its spotlight on the barn murals this quarter with “Bulking and Stripping.”

BULKING & STRIPPING Bulking and stripping tobacco is No. 5 in the tobacco production process. Farm families knew they were getting close to seeing their yearly payback when they started stripping tobacco. Tobacco was bulked (thrown down out of the barn and stacked in piles). It was then carried into the stripping room, placed on the table, and all the leaves were stripped from the stalk. Tobacco was commonly stripped in three grades determined by the quality of the leaves on the stalk. Leaves were tied into hands, placed on a tobacco stick, and pressed by a wall press. Bailing tobacco has replaced the wall press. Stripping typically began in October and lasted until all tobacco had been stripped. This mural is located at the junction of U.S. Highway 127 North and Eagle Hill Road.


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