What little remains of the historic tobacco industry in central Taiwan 台灣 is disappearing fast. Tobacco cultivation was big business for much of the 20th century but went into sharp decline in the 1980s and essentially ended with globalization and Taiwan’s accession to the WTO. Robust preservation efforts in south and east Taiwan ensure something of this industry will remain for future generations but the situation in the former tobacco cultivation areas of Taichung 台中, Changhua 彰化, and Yúnlín 雲林 is far more ambiguous, and documentation of what cultural assets remain is sparse or nonexistent. For this reason I’ve made an effort to record tobacco barns anytime I encounter them in my travels—as I did while driving through Jiǔqiōng Village 九芎村 on the south side of Linnei in Yúnlín 雲林 earlier this summer.
I was not surprised to find this tobacco barn while gallivanting around Linnei, formerly one of the main tobacco cultivation areas in Yúnlín 雲林, though it is located in a village on the opposite side of the township from active conservation efforts. I’ve found no mention of it online which isn’t unusual—tobacco barns were once a dime a dozen in this part of the country and few were explicitly named. Even so, there is some utility in sharing small finds like this one.