The Henry Clay Estate is located on Sycamore Road in Lexington, Kentucky. It is registered as a National Historic Landmark.
I visited Ashland in November during a beautiful fall day. Self guided tours of the outbuildings, gardens, walking trails and monument are free. The estate grounds are open year round. There is a cost for guided mansion tours and photos are not allowed inside.
Near the entrance, there are historical markers describing the A&M College that was once here.
There are also historical markers honoring Madeline McDowell Breckinridge. She was a Kentucky Suffrage Leader that was a descendant of Henry Clay.
This bell is from the USS Ashland, which was named after this estate. It was a gift to Ashland from the crew.
In addition to walking trails, there is a formal garden that you can stroll through.
The formal garden has a brick walkway and is a really beautiful section of the estate to see.
A distant view of a sculpture in the garden.
Closer view of the statue in the formal garden.
Through the iron fence, I noticed a lot of squirrels running around on the grounds.
A marble fountain stands inside the garden.
Outside the garden area, on the walking trail, stands a Civil War monument.
The Privy at Ashland (bathrooms) . Privy is from the Latin word “privatus”, meaning “to oneself”. Before indoor plumbing, privies, also known as outhouses, were shelters used as toilets. Ashland's brick privy house was divided into three rooms. Two were for toilet purposes and the other for laundry or a wash room.
The privy. OK- enough about that.
The Smokehouse was one of the most important buildings on a plantation. Meat was preserved and stored here for the family.
The entrance to the museum store and to purchase tickets for guided tours is pictured above.
Guided tours are available and many holiday events take place such as a candlelight tour of the mansion.
Black and White photo of museum store entrance.
Original Well dug by John Davis for Henry Clay
The well was restored in 1968.
The trees along the trails are really gorgeous. The colors are vibrant in the fall.
The tulip poplar, along with many other types of trees, are well marked along the walk. Henry Clay often took visitors on tours of the estate and would point out various species of trees.
Tombstone for the family cat, Gypsy.
The huge ginkgo trees during the fall are magnificent!
Henry Clay considered Ashland a refuge from politics and business. In an 1829 letter, Clay mentions returning to his farm in Kentucky “for tranquil consideration” of important issues.
This is a view of the Henry Clay Mansion from the front. It is simply beautiful with the trees in full color.
Horse sculpture along the front drive.
Another view of the mansion.
Golden pathway towards the ice houses and dairy cellar.
Wading through the ginkgo leaves
Remains of a Springfield Gas Machine
The ground looked golden in some areas.
As you can tell, I was pretty excited about so many golden leaves on the ground!
Henry Clay – Master Mason
The Ginkgo Tree Cafe is open Tuesday-Saturday and is located on the brick patio around the old smokehouse.
Steps down into cellar
Ice houses and dairy cellar with ginkgo tree in background.
The Gardener's Cottage – currently houses administrative offices
I really enjoyed my visit to the Henry Clay Estate. If you get a chance, stop by here for a lot of beauty and a lot of history. Located close to the University of Kentucky, this estate is conveniently located.
Information about the estate can be found at henryclay.org
Henry Clay Quotes
“The time will come when Winter will ask you what you were doing all summer.”
“Of all the properties which belong to honorable men, not one is so highly prized as that of character.”
“Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart.”
Thanks for reading!