HERITAGE HEMP TRAIL

Discover the hemplands! Hemp roots run deep in Kentucky soil, yet this history has long been lost. The Heritage Hemp Trail uncovers these roots, and uses them to sow seeds for the future. Learn how hemp paved the way for our state’s early economy, and who made it happen! Visit hemp crops growing at Ashland and Farmington, eat lunch on the river at the site of an old hemp mill, and snap selfies at all the historic hemp markers! Scroll down to begin your exploration!

>>> CLICK ON A LOCATION BELOW TO LEARN MORE <<<

© 2017 BY KENTUCKY HEMPSTERS FOR THE KENTUCKY HEMP HERITAGE ALLIANCE, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Print maps on hemp paper are available at participating locations (see bluegrass colored locations/numbers.)

 

FIRST CROP (HISTORIC MARKER #1279)

330 W. Main Street

Danville, KY 40422 

The first hemp crop in Kentucky was grown on Clark’s Run Creek near Danville in 1775. Boyle County later became one of the top ten hemp producing counties in the state. Today, this marker stands in front of the Boyle County Courthouse.

 

JESSAMINE COUNTY HEMP (HISTORIC MARKER #1315)

170 N. Main Street

Nicholasville, KY 40356 

This historic marker describes Jessamine County as one of the chief hemp producers in the state, and is located in the front of the Jessamine County Courthouse. In 1840, the county ranked third in product value and number of cordage factories.

 

WOODFORD COUNTY HEMP (HISTORIC MARKER #1167)

US 60/Paynes Mill Road

Versailles, KY 40383

You'll find this historic marker located at the junction of Paynes Mill Road on US 60 in Versailles. Woodford County was a leading hemp producer, and in 1941, a hemp breaking plant was built here under a 2,000 acre contract for the war effort.

 

HOPEMONT, THE HUNT-MORGAN HOUSE

201 N. Mill Street

Lexington, KY 40507

John Wesley Hunt is known as the first millionaire in Kentucky. He played a key role in the development of Lexington as a commercial city, and making the town a center of hemp production as a merchant and manufacturer. He is credited with pioneering the manufacture of cotton bagging made of hemp fiber. In 1814, he had acquired a significant fortune and this home built he called "Hopemont."

The Kentucky Hemp Heritage Alliance (KHHA) has partnered with the Blue Grass Trust For Historic Preservation in establishing a permanent Kentucky Hemp Museum at Hopemont, the Hunt-Morgan House. Stop by to view the exhibit!

 

GRATZ PARK

Across from Hopemont, the Hunt-Morgan House

Lexington, KY 40507

Gratz Park is located in the heart of historic downtown Lexington, and was once surrounded by hemp factories and the homes of industry pioneers, from John Wesley Hunt to Peter and Thomas January. In fact, the park is named after Benjamin Gratz, who was a hemp manufacturer. His home, Mt. Hope, still stands across from the park on the corner of Mill and New Streest. See the "Historic Downtown Lexington/Gratz Park Walking Tour" to learn more about the rich hemp history rooted in Gratz Park and the surrounding downtown area.

* Click here to download a PDF version of the "Heritage Hemp Trail Gratz Park/Historic Downtown Walking Tour." Note that the houses listed on the tour are private residents, with a few exceptions. Please be considerate when viewing these locations, and do not attempt to enter any homes or bother the homeowners. Thank you!

 

Ashland was once a 600 acre farm, and the home of Kentucky’s beloved son, Henry Clay. Clay grew hundreds

of acres of hemp at Ashland, having it manufactured into rope and cotton bagging. Clay also used his legislative 

influence to advance and protect the hemp industry in Congress. The crop even played a large role in his political platform called the American System. This coined him the occasional nickname, “Prince of Hemp.”

ASHLAND, THE HENRY CLAY ESTATE

120 Sycamore Road

Lexington, KY 40502

Stop by the hemp plot (pictured above) to the left of the lawn (behind the mansion). This year's

crop is facilitated by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment,

United Hemp Industries, and Schiavi Seeds, LLC.

 

CLARK COUNTY HEMP (HISTORICAL MARKER #1319)

6169 Lexington Road

Winchester, KY 40391

The Clark County Hemp Marker is located in front of Stuff Recycling off Lexington Road in Winchester. Clark County was another leader in Bluegrass hemp production during the 19th century. In 1942, one of 42 cordage plants built for World War II was installed at Winchester. 

 

SCOTT COUNTY HEMP (HISTORICAL MARKER #1166)

800 Cincinnati Road

Georgetown, KY 40324

According to this historical marker, Rev. Elijah Craig established one of the earliest hemp ropewalks in Georgetown in 1789. He also installed a fulling mill in 1793. Both produced cordage and rigging for ships. This marker stands near the Cardome Center in Georgetown. 

 

LEESTOWN (HISTORICAL MARKER #103)

113 Great Buffalo Trace

Frankfort, KY 40601

Leestown was once a well-known shipping port for tobacco, hemp, corn, and whiskey. In the early 19th century, a hemp factory was established here and remained for many years. This marker is located in from of the entrance of Buffalo Trace Distillery off Wilkinson Blvd.

 

JIM'S SEAFOOD/FRANKLIN COUNTY HEMP

(HISTORICAL MARKER #1164)

950 Wilkinson Blvd.

Frankfort, KY 40601

In 1878, the Kentucky River Mills Company built the state's first large-scale hemp processing and spinning mill for manufacturing hempen rope at this location. The Franklin County Hemp historical marker describes the former mill, and is located is located in front of Jim's Seafood Restaurant, which currently stands on the former foundation of the original factory. You can still see some of the remains near the river. 

 

HEMPRIDGE ROAD (FORMER HISTORICAL MARKER #1320)

Junction US 60/KY 714

Waddy, KY 40067

Unfortunately, there is no road sign or historical marker that remains at Hempridge Road, one of the most active hemp producing areas in Shelby County during the 19th century. The road was supposedly named after a huge stalk of hemp grown there, which was turned into a cane and presented to Henry Clay who suggested the place "ought to be called Hempridge."

 

FARMINGTON HISTORIC PLANTATION

(HISTORICAL MARKER #174)

3033 Bardstown Road

Louisville, KY 40205

Farmington was once a 550-acre hemp plantation, owned and operated by John and Lucy Speed. A ropewalk and waving house once stood on the property, where the hemp was processed for sale. The plantation was worked by slaves who lived at Farmington, and maintained the farm and house. The historic home was built in 1816, and still stands today. 

Stop by the Farmington hemp plot (pictured above). This year's crop is facilitated by United Hemp Industries and Schiavi Seeds LLC, and is located near tool shed with other agricultural crops.

The Heritage Hemp Trail is brought to you by the members and supporters of the Kentucky Hemp Heritage Alliance,

 which is dedicated to preserving and promoting the history of hemp in Kentucky. Members and affiliates include:

If you are interested in supporting or becoming involved with the Kentucky Hemp Heritage Alliance and the Heritage Hemp Trail, please contact us.

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Kentucky Hempsters 

P.O. Box 1296 

Lexington, Kentucky

© 2014 - 2017 Kentucky Hempsters LLC

KENTUCKY HEMPSTERS

P.O. Box 1296 

Lexington, Kentucky

©2014- 2019 Kentucky Hempsters LLC. All Rights Reserved.