|Photo: Courtesy Adam Eidinger
|Lyster Dewey, a botanist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the early 1900s, is seen measuring a 4-meter-tall hemp plant at Arlington Farm.
Never-before seen journals found recently at a garage sale outside Buffalo, N.Y., chronicle the life of Lyster Dewey, who tended a United States government hemp farm in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Dewey, a botanist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, wrote in detail about growing strains of hemp called Keijo, Chinamington and others on a tract of government land known as Arlington Farm, reports Manuel Roig-Franzia of the The Washington Post
If the “Arlington” part of that name sounds familiar — as in Arlington National Cemetery — that’s because the acreage used to grow the hemp was handed over to the War Department in the 1940s for construction of the world’s largest office building: the Pentagon.
So in addition to the already-known intertwining of the noble hemp plant and U.S. history, now it is revealed that the very location of the Pentagon itself was once covered with verdant fields of cannabis.
The Hemp Industries Association, a small trade group, bought Dewey’s diaries. Leaders of the group are betting that displaying them for the first time on Monday will help increase public knowledge that hemp was used for ropes on Navy ships and World War II parachute webbing.