Sunday, September 16, 2007

Henry Clay's Burial Site

When you approach Lexington's Cemetery, there is no way of missing the monument of Henry Clay towering high above the cemetery lot. You literally have to gaze up into the sky to take in how majestic this limestone monument truly is.

The monument sits upon a hill. When you approach the monument from the front, you will notice a double door that is centered at the base of the monument. The doors are chained together to keep you from entering the vault, but you can still look into the front section of the vault and view the marble containers for the coffins.

In the center of the front room of the vault lays the stone container for Henry Clay and to your right aligned against the sidewall lays the stone container for his wife Lucretia. Above the vault, there rises a 120 foot tall Corinthian column surmounted by a statute of Henry Clay.

The monument resulted from the efforts of his friends to build a national Monument to honor Henry Clay's life and work. The proposed cost of building the monument was $43,920, but the final cost was closer to $58,000. The cornerstone for the monument was laid on July 4, 1857, but it was not completed until July 4, 1861.

Henry Clay served as a United States Senator and representative from Kentucky during the period of the War of 1812 up to the decade preceding the Civil War. Henry Clay was best known for his attempts to secure a compromise between the states on the issue of slavery.

The Lexington Cemetery is located at 833 West Main St. The cemetery is open to the public from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. year round with self-guided tours.

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