Ashland Trail – History Crawl Saturday, May 21, 2022 3:00 to 5:00 PM Join us for an afternoon of fun and learning as we take a journey through time and through the Ashland and Ashland Park neighborhoods, stopping at each marker to learn about the history of these grounds from the time of Henry Clay through today. There will be someone at each marker to answer questions or to just chat. Start at any marker. Walk the full loop or stop at one or two at your convenience.
The event will conclude on the Slashes Median at Desha at 5:00 pm with light happy hour refreshments. A donation of $15 per adult to offset the cost of the happy hour is appreciated. Cash or checks accepted. If you visit each marker and have your guide punched at each, you will be eligible for several prizes at the happy hour.
Rain date is Sunday, May 22, 3:00 to 5:00 PM
Ashland Trail and History Marker Project Overview
The Ashland and Ashland Park neighborhoods were part of Henry Clay’s estate. The history of this land is fascinating and enlightening, and we are fortunate to live in such a rich historical area. Several years ago, before Covid disrupted our lives, our two neighborhoods began working with the Ashland Estate and a private benefactor, the Richardson Family Foundation, on a project to help educate and connect us and future generations with that history. In this project, we envisioned and developed a walkable trail with historical markers placed in the green spaces and common areas to help tell this history.
Each marker describes some aspect of the evolution of the neighborhoods over the last 200 years, from when Henry Clay owned the land, through the development of the neighborhoods following designs by the Olmsted Brothers, to today. Additionally, each of the seven markers contains historical pictures and an outline of a leaf of a native or prominent tree species as well as a map showing the locations of the other markers and the recommended loop route.
You can start and end the trail anywhere, but to visit the markers in sequence, begin at marker #1, on the grounds of the Ashland Estate, near the intersection of Fincastle and Sycamore Roads. The marker describes Henry Clay and his estate and legacy in general terms. You can then start walking a loop, that travels down Sycamore Road to Slashes Road, where the second marker talks about agricultural practices of Henry Clay and the working farm of the estate in the early 1800s. Down Slashes to the median near Desha, the third marker discusses our favorite subject – TREES! Follow Slashes to Hanover and Ghent, where the 4th marker talks about Henry Clay’s accomplishments as a diplomat as well as his last land acquisitions in this area. Heading up Hanover towards Richmond Road, we come to marker #5 at Fincastle, where the discussion turns to the beginnings of the neighborhood as one of Lexington’s original “suburbs”. The Olmsted Brothers come into the picture and bring their design aesthetic. Heading up Fincastle, we see the Olmsteds’ work in full focus as we come to the triangular-shaped Harvey Park, at Fincastle and Desha, and marker #6. The names of the streets and parks are discussed here to help solidify the definition of our neighborhoods. Finally, to complete the loop, travel up Fincastle to marker #7 in Woodlake Park, another triangular park, at Fincastle and McDowell. The marker here describes the Olmsteds’ legacy on the grounds of Henry Clay’s estate and finishes the tour on a note of optimism, rooted in a rich historical perspective.