As you walk through the doors of this magnificent home, you step back in time to an era of elegance. This wood frame antebellum home served from 1882-1897 as the family home of William Henry Harrison Clayton, the federal prosecutor in the famed frontier court of Judge Isaac C. Parker. A total, technical restoration of the home was conducted from 1970 to 1977.
Mr. Clayton purchased the home, originally built in the 1850s, and enlarged and renovated it in the Victorian Gothic Italianate style, moving his family into the home in 1882. The home has eight main rooms, each containing an ornate coal-burning fireplace. A semi-detached servants’ quarters and kitchen have been reconstructed on the original foundation.
Today, you can view the intricate original design of the formal parlor fresco; beautiful woodwork throughout the home; the large, airy spaces in which the family of six daughters and one son once lived, played and worked; and several Clayton family belongings. The home’s 6,000-plus square feet include a formal parlor, sitting room, study, formal dining room, upstairs landing common area, and four bedrooms. Special features include the original, tall, cypress double front doors; a massive and elegant original black walnut staircase; and Victorian-style bay windows.
In addition to housing Clayton family artifacts such as the family Bible, W.H.H. Clayton’s walking stick, Mrs. Clayton’s writing desk and tea table, and many photos, the home is complete with ornate, period furniture for every room. This is in thanks to Agnes Oglesby (1874-1979) who donated her estate of Victorian furniture to the museum after the home was restored. Other local citizens have also have gifted magnificent pieces to the home, including a Mathushek orchestral square piano manufactured in 1884, and a Beckwith pump organ, circa 1894.
Three large porches look out upon the spacious grounds of the Clayton House, which feature a Victorian herb garden, maintained by the River Valley Master Gardeners, and a large Victorian-style gazebo.