HEMPRIDGE ROAD/SHELBY COUNTY HEMP (MISSING KENTUCKY HISTORICAL MARKER #1320
Intersection of US 60 and KY 714, Waddy, KY 40076
This was the former site of Kentucky Historical Highway Marker #1320 titled "Shelby County Hemp" which recognized the rich hemp history rooted in Shelby County. The marker text read: “One of chief producing counties. Crop income reached a yearly high of $150,000 in 1860. Nine hundred tons of hemp were consumed to produce 2,000 bales of twine and 5,000 coils of rope this same year. One of the ten Bluegrass counties which accounted for more than 90 percent of the yield of the whole country in the late 1800s.” Unfortunately, the marker has been missing for quite some time.
While the marker touched briefly on the history of hemp in Shelby County, it did not mention the significance of the road and area itself. KY 714 runs about five miles linking US 64 to KY 53 (Mt Eden Road). According to a Courier Journal article published in 1950, an editor found a copy of The Shelby News from July 8, 1909 stating that Hempridge received its name after a huge stalk of hemp that was grown there, one of the biggest ever seen in Kentucky. It also claimed that the stalk was made into a cane and presented to Henry Clay by Will Waddy, and that Mr. Clay remarked that the place ought to be called "Hempridge." The article also states he put the cane on display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington.
Click here to learn more about Shelbyville-Shelby County Hemp History.