Children at Ashland

Ashland for over 200 years has been a magical place for children to play.  From Henry Clay’s own children and grandchildren to his son James and Susan’s ten children, to his granddaughter Anne Clay McDowell’s girls, the estate’s young occupants delighted in their surroundings.  And it was not only the Clay children who grew up … More Children at Ashland

Ashland Grounds as Public Park: The Formal Garden

YOU ARE HERE -> 1950s-today When Ashland opened as a museum in 1950 the estate featured seventeen acres open daily to the public.  Although the mansion was the primary focus, from the beginning the Henry Clay Memorial Foundation emphasized Ashland’s spacious grounds and encouraged visitors to “pause” before entering the mansion to see the grounds, … More Ashland Grounds as Public Park: The Formal Garden

Return to Glory: Clay’s Family Back at Ashland

YOU ARE HERE -> 1880s Kentucky University’s Regent, John Bryan Bowman, had planned for the school’s perpetual stay at Ashland and envisioned elaborate changes to the estate, but Kentucky University’s internal and external woes resulted in its splitting and moving away.  When the University put Ashland up for sale in 1882, Henry Clay descendants were … More Return to Glory: Clay’s Family Back at Ashland

An 1856 Christmas at Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate

YOU ARE HERE -> CHRISTMAS 1856 While statesman Henry Clay had not been home at Ashland for many Christmases due to Congress being in session, once son James and his wife Susan Clay come to Ashland in the 1850s, we begin to get details of how Christmas was celebrated at the estate. James had rebuilt … More An 1856 Christmas at Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate

The Cottage At Ashland

It is the picturesque little building that most Ashland visitors first encounter: The Keeper’s – or Gardener’s – Cottage.  Adjacent to today’s modern parking lot, this original structure from Henry Clay’s time is a charmer. The Cottage was designed in 1846 by Thomas Lewinski, the Lexington architect who had helped Clay with some mansion remodeling, … More The Cottage At Ashland

The Fate of Ashland After Clay’s Death: Son James Makes a Difficult Decision

YOU ARE HERE -> 1850s In the final months before Henry Clay died in June of 1852, his son James B. Clay promised his father that he would assume the responsibility for Ashland, as Clay had desired.  James and his family planned to occupy the historic estate, but there was a serious problem: Henry Clay’s … More The Fate of Ashland After Clay’s Death: Son James Makes a Difficult Decision