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These buildings were used to make rope for ship rigging. Please try and stay awake. Ships at the time needed a surprising amount of rope - up to 20 miles of the stuff each, which you'll realize is incredible, if you're a rope nerd.
This'll wake you up. Rope isn't the real reason this place is well-known (among historians, I mean.) In March of 1770, one of the workers here asked a passing British soldier if he wanted a job, then told him to "go clean my shithouse". The soldier was so offended that he started a fight. Then he left, came back with several of his friends and started a full-on brawl. That one insult led to days of fighting between soldiers and rope workers - leading right up to the Boston Massacre.