Liggett and Myers Tobacco Company (Huntington, West Virginia)
West Virginia was the 12th largest tobacco growing state, with production peaking at 14 million pounds in the early 1900s. Prior to the establishment of a company in Huntington, the closest producer of tobacco was Kentucky. The Huntington Tobacco Warehouse Company leased warehouses to tobacco companies during the development of the tobacco industry in Huntington, WV. Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company was established in 1912, and prospered until 1920. Today, the warehouses are owned and maintained by Allied Realty Company. The warehouse that belonged to Liggett & Myers was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.
Backstory and Context
The Tri-State Area of what is now West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky was a major benefactor to the tobacco industry before the Civil War due to river access for transportation. Regulated and supervised tobacco warehouses were established in both Huntington and Parkersburg after the state legislature passed an act in 1875. Liggett and Myers was not the first warehouse in Huntington, but replaced production of the first attempted warehouse at 3rd Avenue and 7th Street that only lasted one year before it was abandoned. The Warehouse Land Company purchased land between 26th and 27th Streets and 1st Avenue under the American Tobacco Company and established auction warehouses in 1910. The warehouses were leased to the Huntington Tobacco Warehouse Company, who was the longest established tobacco market in the state of West Virginina.
Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company bought a section of property from the Warehouse Land Company in 1912, and created a cigarette factory. The building that is seen today was built in 1917, and an addition was installed in 1920 due to increases in demand. Liggett & Myers and other companies under the Huntington Tobacco Warehouse Company employed 100 Huntington residents in 1916, and started producing cigars along with cigarettes using White Burley tobacco. Sadly, Liggett & Myers closed in 1920 along with another company on the property, Hughes, Ellis and Boyd Company who had started production only a year before Liggett & Myers. Other companies on the property continued until the tobacco industry peaked in the mid-1920s, and eventually sold out to the Huntington Tobacco Warehouse Company which was owned by L. Jack Knight. Knight passed the company down to his son, who leased the company to Allied Realty Company in 1980. In 1990, Allied Realty Company became the owner of the property, and maintains and leases the historic warehouses that once were the home of the thriving tobacco industry in Huntington, WV.
“National Register of Historical Places Nomination Form.” Accessed November 20, 2016. http://www.wvculture.org/shpo/nr/pdf/cabell/98001073.pdf.