Mail Pouch Barn

For more than a century, one advertising campaign used an unusual medium to feature the same message: “Chew Mail Pouch Tobacco: Treat Yourself to the Best.” The ad and accompanying slogan – painted on barn sides first regionally, then across the country – was the marketing campaign of the Bloch Brothers Tobacco Company of Wheeling, West Virginia.

As there were no standard billboards, companies used the sides of barns and buildings to spread the word to the public. The ads for Mail Pouch Tobacco began appearing on barns in 1892, hitting a peak in the 1960s with approximately 20,000 barns in 22 states. Traditional colors for the Mail Pouch Barns consist of yellow and white lettering with backgrounds of red, black, brown, gray or brick. The barn was trimmed in blue where the initials of the painter and date were marked as well.

In Greene County, at least 30 Mail Pouch Barns once stood along the major thoroughfares of Routes 21, 19, 18 and 88. Over time with weather and natural decay, only seven remain on private property.

Photo by Mitch Kendra

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