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“Very Good Tour for the Money”

White Hall State Historic Site
Ranked #3 of 16 things to do in Richmond
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Attraction details
Owner description: White Hall State Historic Site was the home of Cassius Marcellus Clay, 19th century emancipationist, politician, newspaper publisher, Ambassador to Russia, and friend to Abraham Lincoln. The restored Italianate mansion was built in 1798 and remodeled in the 1860s. General Green Clay built the original brick Georgian-style home called Clermont. Cassius M. Clay inherited the house upon his father’s passing. He and his wife Mary Jane Warfield Clay built the new addition that more than doubled the size of the house and added such modern amenities as indoor plumbing and central heating.
Level Contributor
106 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
“Very Good Tour for the Money”
Reviewed October 15, 2013

Even though my wife and I have been to the Lexington area many times to visit the Kentucky Horse Park, we never took a short trip to visit White Hall, which is just north of Richmond, Ky. Part of that was due to the fact that I had not bothered to check the actual distance, and thought it was around an hour away. In actuality, White Hall is very close to exit 95 of I-75, and the Horse Park is at Exit 120 of I-75, so you can easily make the trip from Georgetown or Lexington in less than half an hour. We went to White Hall on a Sunday afternoon, when my wife was getting tired of the Horse Park and there was a chance of rain.

Turning to the house, White Hall has over 40 rooms, and was built in two stages. The original house is now on the left side and back of the house (as viewed from the front). The original house had lower ceilings, which results in the need for a number of stairs on upper floors in order to connect the upper sections to one another. Unlike many other house tours of large mansions, you get to visit almost all of the rooms, encompassing three floors plus a basement (this results in traversing over 120 steps, so you have to be somewhat fit to tour). As the principal builder of the house, Cassisus Clay, had served as ambassador to Russia in the 1860's, and was friends with Lincoln and his family, there are many interesting photos and art pieces in the house. Also, as noted in other reviews, the house was very unusual for its time, as it had furnace heating, as well as indoor plumbing that was based off of a rainwater collection system.

Tours run April through October every hour on the hour Wednesday through Sunday, with Sunday having fewer tours (there are limited tours on weekends in December). Another error I made was assuming that the tour would be one hour long because the tours left every hour. In actuality, there are two tour guides on duty, and our tour ran close to 90 minutes. Our guide, Jeffrey, is a college history professor and was very entertaining and informative, and answered all questions without rushing anyone through the tour. The tour price is $8 for adults, but there are plenty of $1 off discounts, including discounts for AAA members. As a result, most of the people on my tour (my wife and I included) paid only $7 apiece, which I think was a good deal given everything we saw.

It should be noted that the small visitor center at White Hall is closed, so tickets are bought at the door of the mansion, and souvenirs are also sold inside the house now. Also, there is no place that I saw to buy food anywhere on the property (there are a handful of outbuildings), but there is a McDonald's right off of I-75 at Exit 95.

Visited October 2013
2 Thank GoPenguins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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62 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Burlington, Kentucky
Level Contributor
146 reviews
74 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“A Step Bacvk to the Civial War Era”
Reviewed September 4, 2013

This is a interesting home adding insight into the past in Kentucky. As a life long resident of Kentucky I was pleasantly surprised at the revelations at Whitehall. Central Heating Indoor plumbing and a true humanitarian in the owner Abolitionist Cassius Clay. Not the boxer put possibly the reason for the boxers name. This was a truly interesting gentleman from his abolitionist tendencies to his marriage to a teenager of 15 while he was 85 years of age, to driving off the people of Lexington with a cannon when they came to retrieve the young wife. His daughter was nominated by the democrats for the Presidency of the US in 1920. And added to this he was an Ambassador to Russia. The home is remarkable well kept and in excellent condition. Having been restored after a contest with a tornado it is again open and well worth the visit.

Visited October 2012
2 Thank Buddy D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richmond, KY
Level Contributor
85 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Indoor Plumbing?”
Reviewed July 30, 2013

Most tours are to very small groups and the guides are well informed and very personable. Over the Halloween season and Christmas there are special tours and entertainment. About a one-minute drive past the house is a picnic area/playground/small lake. We have done the tour several times and have enjoyed it each time

Visited March 2013
1 Thank poppopsilver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
96 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed July 30, 2013

We visited White Hall State Historic and very interesting place, anyone never been there, I recommended at least once. The guide has very knowledge of history of this house and Kentucky.

Visited August 2012
Thank yummyRichmond_ky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richmond, Kentucky
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Fascinating piece of Kentucky history”
Reviewed July 29, 2013 via mobile

I love the White hall house! Beautifully restored large home with a fascinating history. Hour long tours given by guides in period costume. Special tours and events take place there several times a year, such as a Christmas open house and ghost story tours. I live nearby and always take out of town guests to visit this state historic site. A new county park is located right next door with a small, yet well stocked, fishing lake, walking and biking trails, a covered picnic shelter and restrooms. Very enjoyable place to spend an afternoon when the weather is nice.

Visited August 2012
Thank LWehrly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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