About Carolina Packhouse

Home  /  About Carolina Packhouse

Robert and Richard Stearns with large American tobacco stick flagCarolina Packhouse began when brothers Robert and Richard Stearns saw a wooden flag and wondered if they could make one from tobacco sticks stored in their grandparents’ packhouse. Robert made a painted American tobacco stick flag and loved it. Friends expressed interested in getting flags for themselves, and Robert and Richard decided to make them to sell.

The rest, as they say, is history.

In this case, that’s a literal statement. Tobacco sticks are a vanishing piece of North Carolina history. Even as recently as a few decades ago, farmers would make or acquire sticks to hang tobacco leaves for drying. The sticks were roughly 1″ square and a bit over 4 feet long. Tobacco leaves were tied to the sticks in bunches, and the loaded sticks were hung in the tobacco barn rafters until the leaves had dried.

Between the fewer numbers of tobacco farmers and changes in the drying process, tobacco sticks are no longer used and are vanishing. Some farmers have no further use for or attachment to the sticks and burn them. Some store them in barns or outside, not knowing what else to do with them.

The Stearns brothers preserve a piece of history in each piece they craft. Their attention to detail and commitment to quality ensures that your tobacco stick decor is as beautiful in appearance as it is rich in history.

For more comprehensive information about tobacco farming, visit LearnNC, or watch The Back-breaking Leaf, a 30-minute documentary about tobacco farming.

stained NC tobacco stick flag