Cover image for Tinged with gold : hop culture in the United States
Tinged with gold : hop culture in the United States
Tomlan, Michael A., author.
Personal Author:
Paperback edition.
Publication Information:
Athens : The University of Georgia Press, 2013.
Physical Description:
xiv, 273 pages : illustrations, maps ; 26 cm
General Note:
Originally published: 1992.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SB317.H64 T65 2013 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Today hop growing remains a viable commercial enterprise only in parts of the far western United States--notably in Washington. But, as James Fenimore Cooper remembered, the mid-nineteenth century in Cooperstown, New York, was a time when "the 'hop was king,' and the whole countryside was one great hop yard, and beautiful".

In Tinged with Gold , Michael A. TomIan explores all aspects of hop culture in the United States and provides a background for understanding the buildings devoted to drying, baling, and storing hops. The work considers the history of these structures as it illustrates their development over almost two centuries, the result of agrarian commercialism and nearly continuous technological improvement. In examining the context in which the buildings were constructed, Tomlan considers the growth, cultivation, and harvesting of the plant; the economic, social, and recreational activities of the people involved in hop culture; and the record of mechanical inventions and technical developments that shaped hop kilns, hop houses, and hop driers and coolers in the various areas where the crop flourished. The work challenges assumptions about the noncommercial nature of American agriculture in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and raises important questions about the "folk" tradition of hop houses, arguing that the designs of these buildings were rational responses to commercial imperatives rather than the continuance of arcane English or European customs.

Tinged with Gold brings hop culture to life as it explores the history of this neglected aspect of rural agriculture. Because the work demonstrates that the significance of a relatively obscure building type can be fully appreciated if placed in its historical context, it provides a model for studying other rural structures. Drawing upon an impressive array of primary and secondary sources, this work is a definitive history of hop culture in the United States.

Author Notes

MICHAEL A. TOMLAN is a professor and the director of the Historic Preservation Planning graduate program at Cornell University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Hops may be a minor crop used to make beer, but as Tomlan demonstrates, they can provide a major window into the history of American farming. The English brought hops culture to New England in 1628. It moved west to New York in the 1830s, then leaped to Oregon, California, and Washington in the late 19th century as Yankees migrated in search of ideal soils. Hops were a speciality commercial crop that attracted farmers interested in applying the most modern methods. Tomlan thorougly examines basic techniques, like using poles to support the bushes. He is primarily interested in the architecture of hop kilns, houses, driers, and coolers used to process the crops. He demonstrates that tehnological innovation rather than traditional Old World models formed the architecture. The human element is well handled, with considerable attention to finances and entrepreneurs. His coverage of harvest laborers a multiethnic group of casual laborers employed for only three weeks is especially thorough. Tomlan's wonderfully illustrated, well-researched monograph provides a comprehensive overview of three centuries of agricultural change. Graduate; faculty; professional. R. Jensen; University of Illinois at Chicago