From the mid-17th century to the end of the 19th century, the rope-making industry thrived in Boston. Ropewalks—long, narrow plots with covered walks and sheds that housed rope-making facilities—dotted the landscape of West Boston and supplied rope primarily for seafaring vessels. The city’s earlier ropewalk lay less than one hundred yards from the West End Museum. Ropewalks of the West End highlights the history of these unusual buildings beginning with the earliest “ropefield” of John Harrison established in 1642 and continuing beyond the onset of the War of 1812 when a West End ropewalk supplied the anchor cable to the U.S.S. Constitution, the most famous war ship of the era. Concurrent walking tours that start in the West End and fan out across the city offer the opportunity to discover firsthand the remnants of the ropewalks’ footprints on Boston.
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