Lynchburg is steeped in tobacco history. John Lynch, the founder of the Hill City, built his first tobacco warehouse here in 1785. Within a year after the Civil War, Lynchburg had become the largest loose-leaf tobacco market in the world. The dominant crop raised and sold in Central Virginia was dark-fired tobacco, exposed to smoke from open fires and brought to market in late fall. Warehouses in downtown Lynchburg would fill with buyers and growers and bundles and bundles of tobacco, though the Lynchburg warehouses eventually shut down as smoking fell out of favor and demand for tobacco dropped. The last area survivor, New Farmer’s Warehouse on U.S. 460 east of town, closed in 1996.
From the archives: When tobacco was king