Straddling the Victorian and the Avant-garde

YOU ARE HERE -> 1880s-1890s The McDowells performed a dramatic “inside job” at Ashland when they arrived in the early 1880s.  Keeping the exterior and floorplan of the mansion largely intact, they set about updating Ashland’s interior design. The McDowells were the first occupants to photograph the interiors of the mansion.  The modern idea of … More Straddling the Victorian and the Avant-garde

Paying Tribute to Henry Clay at Ashland

YOU ARE HERE -> 1857 After Henry Clay’s death, his national historic-themed display at Ashland evolved into son James’s Henry Clay tribute display.  James and Susan continued the practice of displaying artifacts within the mansion for public viewing, but now the collection centered on those related to Clay’s life.  They honored Henry Clay’s collection by … More Paying Tribute to Henry Clay at Ashland

Civil War at Ashland’s Door

YOU ARE HERE -> 1861-1865 Henry Clay’s great-granddaughter, Elizabeth Clay Blanford (1904-1999), in a 1987 interview, revealed some evocative information about the Civil War at Ashland.  Her father Charles (1857-1935), the first of James and Susan’s children to be born in the rebuilt Ashland mansion, had shared with his children his memories of that frightening … More Civil War at Ashland’s Door

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

Paying Tribute to Henry Clay at Ashland

YOU ARE HERE -> 1857 After Henry Clay’s death, his national historic-themed display at Ashland evolved into son James’s Henry Clay tribute display.  James and Susan continued the practice of displaying artifacts within the mansion for public viewing, but now the collection centered on those related to Clay’s life.  They honored Henry Clay’s collection by … More Paying Tribute to Henry Clay at Ashland

Clay Family Loses Ashland, University of Kentucky Predecessor Moves In

YOU ARE HERE -> 1860s Although Ashland had survived its first transfer of ownership (from Henry Clay’s widow Lucretia to his son James), remaining in family hands, after the Civil War it would not.  Due to James’s death in 1864, the financial hardship after the war, and complex dealings with settling the Ashland estate, James’s … More Clay Family Loses Ashland, University of Kentucky Predecessor Moves In

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