Mail Pouch Barn  by Marcia Rubin

Mail Pouch Barn
Location: Ashtabula, Ohio (USA)

Americans flock to Disney World, vacation at the shores, and visit the nation’s landmarks, but few things inspire 500 mile drives with cameras in hand as do Mail Pouch Barns. One of the most highly sought after sights along a rural highway is the vision of their white letters resting upon a fading black background. No longer do the words promote a now tabooed habit; instead they represent a simpler time. Mail Pouch barns might be fading dinosaurs left along the roadsides, but once they were the kings of advertising.

In 1890 the Bloch Brothers, owners of Mail Pouch Tobacco, decided to take advertising to a new location, outdoors. The predecessors of billboards, barns alongside the roads seemed to be the obvious locations for advertising. Offering to the owners a free paint job, sometimes a small cash settlement, and a plethora of free samples, the Bloch Brothers began their advertising campaign.

Beginning with a six man crew, the company set out to paint advertisements but instead created what would be nostalgic gold. Repainting barns as the paint faded and often painting over previous advertisers, the slogan “Chew Mail Pouch Tobacco Treat Yourself to the Best” dominated barn sides until the 1960s when both the ban on tobacco advertisements and the 1965 Federal Highway Beautification Act squelched the painting. The outdoor advertising campaign officially ended 1969.
Source for information

Photo Stats as of 1/20/11
Views – 38
Fav – 2
Featured – 3
Featured in the following groups
1/11 Midwestern United States Photography
1/11 Country Bumpkin
1/11 Old Things


  • Shane Jones
    Shane Jonesover 4 years ago

    Awesome capture and find!! I love Barn Ads and this one is rare for me since there many if any in Florida. I wonder how old it is!!

  • Barn ads are totally cool… I agree!
    As far as the age… I think it should be a law that they all have the date it was built painted somewhere on the barn :) I mean… curious minds need to know these things! Right?? lol

    – Marcia Rubin

  • RickDavis
    RickDavisover 4 years ago

    I love this red barn with the tobacco sign on it and you have captured and presented it so beautifully,,,Rick

  • Thank you so much for the compliment Rick :-)

    – Marcia Rubin

  • pshootermike
    pshootermikeover 4 years ago

    great capture….well done

  • Thank you Mike :-)

    – Marcia Rubin

  • lorilee
    lorileeover 4 years ago

  • What an honor! Thank you so much for the feature :-)

    – Marcia Rubin

  • ctheworld
    ctheworldover 4 years ago

  • Thank you so much for the feature :-)

    – Marcia Rubin

  • jphall
    jphallover 4 years ago

    I love it, ive seen several of these in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Thanks for the history lesson on these! Outstanding work! Congrats on the feature!

  • I’ve seen them for years, and never knew the history of them. It was a lot of fun to research them :-) Glad you can appreciate it!

    – Marcia Rubin

  • Barbara  Brown
    Barbara Brownover 4 years ago


  • Thank you so much!

    – Marcia Rubin

  • Ray4cam
    Ray4camover 4 years ago

    Great picture. I love these Mail Pouch barns. I always look for them when I am in Ohio. They are getting more difficult to find! I have a few photographs of these barns but have yet to post them on Redbubble.

  • Whatcha’ waiting for Ray? Get em up! I’d love to see them! :-)

    – Marcia Rubin

  • Sandra Moore
    Sandra Mooreover 4 years ago

    lovely image, congrats on the feature!

  • Thanks so much Sandra :-)

    – Marcia Rubin

  • Chelei
    Cheleiover 4 years ago

    Love it! Congrats!

  • Why thank you! :-)

    – Marcia Rubin

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

10%off for joining

the Redbubble mailing list

Receive exclusive deals and awesome artist news and content right to your inbox. Free for your convenience.