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Exploring Hemp History with the Hemp Road Trip Crew

Updated: Jan 17, 2019

On Tuesday, March 1, Kentucky Hempsters spent the day with the Hemp Road Trip Bus exploring Kentucky hemp history from Lexington to Louisville.

It started in the Northside Historic District of Lexington where Kentucky Hempsters showed off some of the beautiful homes built for the families that made fortune's off the early Kentucky hemp industry. This area also includes Gratz Park, which was once surrounded by hemp ropewalks and manufactories belonging to these early manufacturers, like Thomas January and Avery Winston.

(We all agreed that the detailing pictured above on one of the Scott homes looked like hemp leaves!)

Our next stop was Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate just a few miles away. We had just seen his office off Mill Street downtown, and now we were going to get a full tour of his family’s estate.

Henry Clay was extremely influential in the early growth of the hemp industry. From his innovations in farming practices, to his legislative efforts to protect the industry, he went above and beyond to look out for the best interests of Kentucky hemp and those involved in the cultivation and manufacturing of it, including himself.

Our favorite part of the tour is seeing the chapter titled "HEMP" in Farmer's School Book published in 1837 written by Henry Clay himself. In this, he goes into depth about how we plants and processes his material. How cool is that? Check out the photos below.

Eric Brooks, curator and site manager, does an amazing job at encapsulating Henry’s role as a leader, not only in the hemp industry, but also across the country. From well-known historical influencers like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, Clay was well-respected and highly regarded by all.

We won’t give much more away, because we want you to come hear his story for yourself! We’ll be hosting a Henry Clay’s Hemp Symposium on Sunday, June 5 from 1:00 pm – 7:00 pm to kick-off this year’s Hemp History Week (June 6-12) and commemorate the historical and active leaders in the industry! Mark your calendars, we’ll have more details coming soon!

Next, we headed through Lexington to Frankfort, but not without stopping at the Woodford County Hemp Historical Marker in Versailles! This is one of many hemp historical markers across the state. Have you come across any during your travels? Explore more here:

Our last stop turned out to be the Kentucky State Capitol! Unfortunately, inclement weather disrupted our schedule (as you can kind of tell in the photo below) so we were unable to make it to the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort or Farmington Historic Plantation in Louisville.

After the Capitol, we made the rest of our way back to Louisville and enjoyed a night with the crew, along with some local hempsters who happened to be in the area! It’s great to see our networking growing and expanding with such likeminded, passionate individuals.

Check out this video by Dea Million who is part of the road trip and documentary every step of the way! We love that she captured some of the highlights from our trip. Too much fun!

A big shoutout to the Hemp Road Trip for all your hard work the past couple months! We had a blast hearing your interests, inspirations and ambitions for the future. The journey has only just begun.

Thank you to the Henry Clay Memorial Foundation for welcoming us, and for partnering with us to celebrate Kentucky, Lexington, and Ashland’s hemp legacy! We look forward to an exciting here full of Kentucky hemp history and education!

Want a Kentucky Hemp History tour? We'll hook you up! Email us today!

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