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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The "Death In a Wrapper: Part III - Sealing The Coffin" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Driving around the city of Lancaster taking photos of the many tobacco warehouses that at one time were the lifeblood of the city.  That was until tobacco was proven to cause cancer and many began to listen.  Eventually the warehouses, where the brokers stored their tobacco purchases, began to fade away.  Yesterday I gave you the role that the Amish play in providing the raw product to the mixture and at times wonder how they can abide by their religion and still plant acre after acre of tobacco.  There are a few Amish groups which strictly forbid growing or using tobacco, but in Lancaster the Amish find a way around the Scripture that says "Do you not know that your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit?" as stated in I Corinthians 6:19-20.  Most Mennonite farmers in Lancaster refrain from growing tobacco, but the main reason for Amish growing tobacco is MONEY!  As for those Amish who do farm tobacco, when the crop is ready for sale many farmers sell their tobacco to a broker or will haul it, if possible, to an auction house to sell.  The price of tobacco in Lancaster County has grown due to the chewing tobacco companies starting to buy Lancaster County tobacco.  Much of Lancaster's tobacco is now going out of the country to Central America, Dominican Republic, Europe and China where it is made into cigars. The market for tobacco products has waned in the United States with foreign markets more profitable. For me, I love to see the green fields of Lancaster County, but still wish for the day when another crop will bring in an equal amount of cash to give the Amish a chance to stop growing all the tobacco that is killing so many people.  I have included a few photos of tobacco warehouses that at one time were part of the thriving business in Lancaster City.  A few still exist, but not to the level that they did at one time.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

This is the B.F. Good/P. Lorillard Tobacco Warehouse that was built in 1899 and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It is now an office building.
This was the warehouse of G. Falk & Brother.  It is now home to the Lancaster Arts Hotel.
This beautiful building was once the home of General Cigar & Tobacco.  Today it is the offices of Gilbert Architects.
This was the Hirsh & Bro. tobacco warehouse.  Today it is owned by the Fulton Opera House and is used to store their sets and costumes.
Luxury condominiums will fill this old tobacco warehouse which at one time was home to SR Moss.  It eventually was Lancaster Press for years before it was purchased to develop the new homes.  Behind it to the left in the photo is another tobacco warehouse that now holds Lancaster Brickyards, a sports bar and restaurant.  Other businesses also are lodged in that building. It was reported on another website in Lancaster that German Prisoner's of War were used as workers in these buildings to process the tobacco.  Reports of jobs and clothing they wore are all parts of these posts.  Interesting to hear these stories from the 1940s.
This was the H. Doer tobacco warehouse.  It is now filled with condos on the upper floors and Miese Candy Company on the ground floor.
The two above photos show Lancaster Leaf Tobacco Company, one of the few tobacco companies that still exist in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  It has two locations in Lancaster; one warehouse on Pitney Road and this huge complex on Liberty Street on the north side of the city.  Lancaster Leaf was founded in 1941 and has quietly grown into the largest cigar and chewing trading company in the world.  Virtually every U.S. cigar and chewing tobacco maker buys from Lancaster Leaf.  It sells tobacco that it buys from Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, South and Central America and domestic farms on the east coast of the U.S., including farms in Lancaster County.  Lancaster Leaf Tobacco Co. is known as the leader in the cigar tobacco industry.  The owner of the business, Harry Hitchcock, ran a division of the Winstead Co., a subsidiary of Universal Leaf Tobacco in 1927 when he purchased his first crop in Lancaster.  He later started Lancaster Leaf.  Today Lancaster Leaf is the world's largest trader in dark leaf tobacco.  

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