The Havana Shade Tobacco Museum, housed in the National Historic Landmark Planters Exchange building, is a small museum dedicated to preserving the history and significance of shade tobacco in the local community.
Shade tobacco is a broadleaf type of tobacco grown under shade to make it lighter, thinner, and more flexible. After it has been cultivated, it’s then utilized as a wrapper for premium cigars. In the small community of Havana, Florida, once known as the shade tobacco capital of the world, the industry was built largely by slave laborers. Although for 65 years, nearly everyone in the town and surrounding area worked in the thriving tobacco industry.
Tobacco growth and exports really exploded in the region with the introduction of the railroad into the small town of Havana in 1902. This region of Florida, along with a few others in Connecticut and southern Georgia, were once responsible for close to 95 percent of the nation’s shade tobacco production.
During the height of tobacco production, more than 6,000 acres in this 40-mile-wide region contained tobacco crops.
Know Before You Go
Open Saturdays 10:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sundays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., or by appointment by calling (850)-270-7315 to schedule a docent-led tour.