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Historic Trail and Hemp History Week event series highlight Kentucky Hemp Heritage

Updated: Jan 16, 2019

Hemp History Week takes place June of each year, commemorating hemp and its role as an agricultural crop both historically and present day. This year, we celebrated by launching the Heritage Hemp Trail during a special events series "Discover The Hemplands."

The Heritage Hemp Trail is a collaborative initiative of the Kentucky Hemp Heritage Alliance, which is made up of several historical entities across the state. The trail features locations in Central Kentucky with significant ties to the antebellum hemp industry, and encourages visitors with special offers and incentives from the participating sites.

Discover The Hemplands took place at three participating locations on the Heritage Hemp Trail, and gave visitors a chance to tour properties that once belonged to pioneers of the antebellum hemp industry. Guests also received a trail map on hemp paper, with hemp samples and educational information. Here are some highlights from the week!


Hunt-Morgan House

The series kicked off on Monday, June 5th at the Hunt-Morgan House in Lexington. The historic home was built in the early 1800s for John Wesley Hunt who is said to be the first millionaire in Kentucky, and west of the Allegheny mountains. He also pioneered the manufacture of cotton bagging made of hemp fiber, and made a fortune as a commission merchant shipping hemp fiber and hempen goods. Today, the home is preserved by the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation. We look forward to partnering with the BGT to establish a permanent hemp museum and display at the Hunt-Morgan House! Click here to learn more about John Wesley Hunt and the Hunt-Morgan House.


Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate

On Wednesday, guests had the opportunity to stop by Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate (also in Lexington) to see the sprouting hemp plants, and learn about the role Henry Clay had in advancing the hemp industry through his political influence and agricultural roots. Ashland was once 500+ acre farm where Clay grew thousands of pounds of hemp and had it manufactured in to cotton bagging and rope. At one point, Clay wrote to colleague "I'm going to rig the Navy with cordage made of American hemp - Kentucky hemp - Ashland hemp." The hemp crop will grow throughout the summer season, and remain on display after harvest! Click here to learn more about Henry Clay and hemp.


Farmington Historic Plantation

Discover The Hemplands concluded Friday, June 9th at Farmington Historic Plantation in Louisville. This property was once a 600-acre hemp plantation owned by the Speed Family. Today, the crop has returned to Farmington as part of the Kentucky Hemp Pilot Program. While this year's plot had not yet been planted, guests viewed volunteer plants that had sprouted from last season. The mansion on the property also features a hemp room in the basement with information about the hemp culture at Farmington, with a historic hemp brake and other agricultural tools that might have been used for farming the crop. Click here to learn more about Farmington's hemp history.


We look forward to the possibility of making Discover The Hemplands a reoccurring event series! Thank you to all of our partners for collaborating with us on this initiative, and thank you to everyone who joined us at one, two, or all three of the events.

We'd also like to thank trail supporters! The Heritage Hemp Trail is supported by local Kentucky Proud Hemp Companies, including Laura's Hemp Chocolates, Victory Hemp Foods and Kentucky Hemp Works. See information below. Heritage Hemp Co. products will also support the trail, and will be offered at participating locations. For more information about the Heritage Hemp Trail, visit

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