Ashland’s Opening Day

YOU ARE HERE -> 1950 Ashland, the Henry Clay estate, has since the early nineteenth century been an important American historic site.  During Clay’s lifetime (1777-1852), the estate was often equated with the man and ‘Ashland’ became a household word.  After Clay’s death and while four generations of Clay’s descendants occupied the estate, Ashland served … More Ashland’s Opening Day

Ashland: Unsurpassed for Party-Giving

YOU ARE HERE -> 1880s-1890s Henry Clay’s granddaughter Anne Clay McDowell and her husband Major Henry Clay McDowell became famous for the “bounteous hospitality of Ashland,” as the Lexington Leader put it in 1899.  When they moved to Ashland in 1883, the McDowells brought six children between the ages of ten and twenty-two:  Nannette, 22; … More Ashland: Unsurpassed for Party-Giving

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

New Life as a House Museum: Just Like A “Real Home”

YOU ARE HERE -> 1950-1970s SEE ALSO: Opening Day! Perhaps you will want to join the thousands who visit the historic old home of Henry Clay… In the 1950s the Henry Clay Memorial Foundation had begun to advertise, inviting Americans to Ashland, the new patriotic shrine. The public responded wholeheartedly to these invitations.  Not only … More New Life as a House Museum: Just Like A “Real Home”

We Were Soon Perfectly At Home, As Everyone Must Be With Mr. Clay

YOU ARE HERE -> c1820s-1852 Henry Clay lived in an era when appearing to be a “commoner” was advantageous for one’s political image.  Andrew Jackson benefited from this perception.  But it seems that Henry Clay was naturally unpretentious and—especially when home at Ashland—markedly informal.  Clay’s grandson-in-law Major McDowell said that Henry Clay was a “believer … More We Were Soon Perfectly At Home, As Everyone Must Be With Mr. Clay

With Civil War Looming, James and Susan Clay Open Ashland to the Public

YOU ARE HERE -> 1857-1865 Once the second Ashland mansion was complete in 1857, normal hospitality resumed.  Henry Clay’s son James and his wife Susan were, for at least the first years of their tenure, quite open to the public’s visitation, “extending cordial courtesies to almost unnumbered visitors.” The public was especially curious about the … More With Civil War Looming, James and Susan Clay Open Ashland to the Public