Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Western Ukraine Tobacco Factory

Thanks to Edmonton branch of Alberta Genealogical Society for the following post on their facebook page. The pictures don't transfer well so if interested do a Google search for 'Edmonton branch Alberta Genealogical Society". This caught my interest as it's the same area my husbands family were from.

Stories from Western Ukraine - Historical Zablotow Tobacco-Fermentation Factory.
Recently I became aware of a special tobacoo-fermentation plant located in the Town of Zablotow, Sniatyn District, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast/Province in Western Ukraine. My relative Jadwiga lives in the town and she provided me with some of the information included.
The plant opened in Austro-Hungary in 1872. For a long time it was famous for its products. In addition to utilizing local raw materials, the company imported tobacco from Latin America, Cuba, Puerto Rica and Brazil.

It was located on 12 acres of fenced property and still has a guard on duty today. Entering the gate, you see tropical gardens & old buildings, not standard factory buildings. Amongst the trees, the creeping ivies are growing well & beautiful Austrian rooms exist. There is a dining room, boiler room, administrative building, a Club with an Orchestra House for visitors, where people could stay. Also included were many garages, mechanical & carpentry workshops, fermentation rooms; the foundation of the plant. The thickness of the walls is about 80 c.m. The cobbled streets of overgrown grass paths have sewage hatches and grating with the Polish markings "Stanislow" and name of the tile maker. Stanislow is the previous oblast/province name for Ivano-Frankivsk. In the center, a monument of Emperor Franz Josef of Austria stood. We have stepped back in time about 100 years. Remnants of the glorious Carpathian tobacco industry. These are the oldest buildings in Zablotow.

At one time a cigar shop operated out of a small building within the complex. Cigars were manually rolled but under Soviet rule production stopped. Instead the plant moved into processing tobacco from Ukraine and produced cigarettes.
The tobacco processing procedure was very long & slow. Originally, the yellow leaves from the bottom withered and gradually the full stems were dried. The drying took about a month and a half. The natural fermentation took place for almost a year in special premises. The chemical reaction reduced the moisture & temperature and less tar & nicotine resulted. There were 5 stages and this is somewhat similar to the principles used in the aging of wines and it had a honey aroma & flavor.

Early on Zablotow and 4 other tobacco plants were operating. There had been 3 in the Ternopil Region and one in Crimea. Today in Ukraine only one tobacco-fermentation plant is in operation at Borschiu (Ternopil Region).
The complex is waiting for a new owner and is a great example of the industrial architecture of the 19th century.

My second cousin's Mother Karoline worked in the factory for many years. However, when it came time for her to retire, the administration building had burnt down previously and there were no papers to prove she had worked there, so no pension was provided to her by the company after World War II.

'Map & sign outside the Front Gate'
'The Guard House.'
'Administrative Building'
'All the entrances are closed and the basement is flooded.'


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