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10 > Image 10 of Famous homes in Kentucky

Part of Kentucky Works Progress Administration Publications

E Page 5- {_ On the Richmond Pike, one mile east of Lexington, is Ashland, the g picturesque home originally built by Henry Clay, Kentucky's brilliant i" statesman and orator. Erected in l806 on a six hundred acre tract of g land, the house was dismantled after having been occupied nearly fifty A years but was reconstructed a short time later. Lathrobe, the English _ architect, designed the original structure while L'Enfant, the landscape l i engineer who drew the plans for the nation's capitol, planned the land- . E scaping. Clay's choice of the name Ashland probably resulted from his 1 Q selection of the building site, which was almost surrounded by ash trees. Q ir ,-t Ashland was built on the plan of a large house connected by narrow 1 Q halls, or galleries, to lower wings. The main structure was two stories Q Q in height, with onestory wings. It had six chimneys, a distinctive feature of most of the big houses built before the Civil War. Brick was used in I g the exterior construction. The interior displayed woodwork fashioned from ` ash trees growing on the estate. Many of the rooms, including the master's ` Q study, were octagonal in shape. The old slave cabins, carriage houses, , bath houses and ice house are still standing. i Sixty varieties of trees, many of which Clay planted, spread their [ {L foliage about the estate. Myrtle, planted by Mrs. Clay, fringes the walks A Y` of the grounds. Trailing ivy, honeysuckle and Virginia creeper cover the Ei masonry. Above the doorway, which has full length windows on either side, { i {{ is a small balcony with wroughtiron railing. This front entrance opens C into an octagonal hall with a stairway at the right and a study on the it left. An entrance to the drawing room is directly opposite the main door. ( In the hall, with its original, ash woodwork, the doorknobs and hinges are ji silver. The walls are a deep red and most of the rooms are in keeping ` Z ;C with the rich decorations of this entry. The narrow arched windows have I ~I shuttered blinds. In the wings are two bedrooms and a billiard room, also the kitchen, storerooms and servants' quarters. Four bedrooms and J A I a bath open off the hall on the second floor. 3 [T Many famous people have been entertained at Ashland, among them { LaFayette, Daniel Webster, the Earl of Derby, President Van Buren, Gen- j { eral Bertrand and Abraham Lincoln. Clay, prevented from spending much E L time there because of the demands of his political career, evinced a 4 j i keen interest in the social activities centered in his home and main- ' i tained a close contact by correspondence. ; j After the death of Clay, his widow went to live with a son, John I Y M. Clay; and Ashland was neglected. In l853 the house, with three hun- 4 dred and thirtyseven acres of land, was offered at auction and was i 5 purchased by another son, James B. Clay. Because parts of the house were fp in need of repair and considered unsafe for use, the old home was torn k down and rebuilt on the original plan, with brick and other material _ if salvaged. j Q Q A Z ' i