Boston’s history with Cannabis goes all the way back to the 1600’s. Over the Past 400 years The city has gone through incredible changes but one thing that has remained is the irregular street patterns.

This popular meme features a map of Boston pitted against a map of New York.

Although the seemingly chaotic (un)grid can be attributed to many factors, one of them is certainly the placement of what are known as rope walks or cordage factories. From the mid 1600’s, rope walks were constantly being built all over Boston. They were usually large long corridors where men would manually assembly quality cordage from harvested hemp fibre, and apply hot tar as part of the rope’s production.

These factories were not typically OSHA compliant, to put it mildly, but they were prone to fires, with often disastrous results, sometimes leaving giant plots of unusable land left desolate for many decades.

The first official “New World” rope walk on record goes back to 1645, when an Englishman by the name of John Harrison was somehow convinced to bring over his giant bulky Rope Walk from Salisbury England.

This would have been no small task as he set up shop near what is now Boston’s South Station (by Congress and Atlantic Streets).From that point on Harrison was pretty much the rope king of Boston until his death, and his company lived on for some time afterward. Notably, It was involved in the production of the enormous rope designed for the anchor of Old Ironsides herself, the USS Constitution.

image from HEMPOLOGY.ORG

(above image) A “Bonner’s Map” marked up to show the locations of some early rope walks.

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