Thursday, January 15, 2009

Selma's Cigar History

One of Selma's oldest industries, cigar manufacturing, closed recently, but a new display at the Old Depot Museum recalls its significance in the life of our town.

Cigar making was introduced to Selma in 1941 by local businessman Art Lewis. The factory was located in the historic old cotton mill off Cahaba Road where a whole neighborhood had built up around it. By the mid-1950s, Bayuk Cigar Company of Philadelphia purchased the plant, and in 1982, it was sold to Hav-A-Tampa of Tampa, Fla. Most recently, it was known as Phillies Cigar Co., and in 1995, production was about 500 million cigars with an annual payroll of $4.5 million. That year, more than 300 people worked three shifts that operated six days a week.

Several instruments used in cigar manufacturing, such as blunt dies, as well as wrappers, boxes and much more, are on exhibit.


Kathleen said...

This was so sad.Just praying for other places in our community and our nation that are closing.

Kathleen said...

...just adding praying for people that are employed at these places

Halcyon said...

Interesting. I would have never thought of Selma as being a center for cigar production. But I guess there were plenty of tobacco plantations back in the days so it makes sense.

Thanks for the history lesson - very enlightening!

Jubilo said...

No Battle of Selma Reenactment, now no cigars! 2009 is quite the year eh ?
David Corbett , frozen Yankee

Rambling Round said...

Hi Halcyon. I believe the tobacco for cigar manufacturing was shipped to Selma by rail.

Jubilo, Selma will miss your fine 1860's music. Stay warm up north!