Fayette County

Not too late to join in Currier & Ives Christmas

If you thought Christmas was over, think again. There are still two more days to tour Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate, and spy the colorful images created by Nathaniel Currier and his company, Currier & Ives, as part of A Currier & Ives Christmas.

A weekend manager at the estate suggested the theme for this year's holiday event in June, said Ann Hagan, director of the Henry Clay Memorial Foundation, which operates Ashland. The estate already had the first political campaign banner, which was created by Nathaniel Currier in 1844 before creating the now famous collaboration with James Merritt Ives. The image of Henry Clay and Theodore Frelinghuysen, his vice presidential running mate as a Whig candidate in 1844, is displayed in a first-floor hallway. Other Courier & Ives images throughout the mansion were donated by docents and private citizens. Hagan contributed winter images that belonged to her grandmother. There are about 11 Courier & Ives images in the tour.

Hagan said the community was eager to help with the event.

"People really love being a part of it," she said.

Guests to the estate will also learn about the life of the man known as "The Great Compromiser" and see artifacts such as the jacket Clay wore at the signing of the Treaty of Ghent on Christmas Eve in 1814.

His son, James Brown Clay, took over the estate after Henry Clay's death in 1852 and had the poorly constructed home rebuilt using the same floor plan and foundation from the first home. Hagan said she has been pleased by the response to the tours, including two candlelight tours, which had attracted about 400 people. She did not know how many people had toured the estate this season.. She said visitors have ranged from locals who tour the estate each year to people from Australia and Spain. Henry Bach of Richmond toured the estate Sunday with his wife, Connie, and their 12-year-old grandson, Corey Bach. Corey said he had no idea Henry Clay was so popular, but his grandfather said, "This is a must-see tour."

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