For more than forty years Henry Clay lived at Ashland, the place he loved best. An 1845 account describes some of the structures on the estate:
“Then there is a stone cheese house and a stone butter-house. Ashland being celebrated for the quantity and quality of butter made there at. His chicken-house, dove-house, stables, barns and sheds are all in perfect repair, spacious, neat, and in order. There is also a large green house filled with choice plants and beautiful flowers. His Negro cottages are exceedingly comfortable, all white washed, clean and well furnished, and plenty of flowers in the windows about the buildings.”
The estate has undergone several changes since it was first developed by Henry Clay in the early nineteenth century, yet the creator’s imprint remains. Today the wooded estate includes original Henry Clay structures such as the Keepers Cottage, Smoke/Carriage House, and ice house/dairy cellar system. The Clay-era privy has been excavated and is demarcated. Likewise, the slaves quarters’ locations have been discovered and signage there describes the ongoing archeological work. The mansion, although not the original structure, retains the same footprint, foundation, size and shape of the original, giving visitors a vivid sense of Clay’s earlier house.