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Kentucky State Parks

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USA Parks
Heartland Region
Waveland State Historic Site
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225 Waveland Museum Ln.
Lexington, Kentucky   40514

Phone: 859-272-3611
Email: park email button icon
Antebellum house with three original outbuildings - slave quarters, smokehouse and ice house. Guided tours focus on the everyday lives of family and slaves who lived and worked at Waveland.

Admission - Adults $7.00, Seniors $6.00, Students of any age $4.00, Children below six years of age Free admission.
For group rates, please contact Waveland State Historic Site.

Hours of Operation

From January 5th - April 1st, tours will be given by appointment only. Tea Tuesdays will continue by reservation beginning January 13, 2015. Please call for reservations.

Monday and Tuesday - Closed
Wednesday through Saturday - 1000am to 500pm, last tour at 400pm.
Sunday - 100pm to 500pm, last tour at 400pm.

Open year round.

Museum/Gift Shop
Closed December 23 through March 31, available by appointment only.
History of the Area
Six miles south of downtown Lexington stands one of Kentuckys most dignified and gracious antebellum mansions. Completed in 1848 by Joseph Bryan 1792-1887, a grandnephew of Daniel Boone, Waveland represents a way of life that has long since vanished. According to family tradition Daniel Boone surveyed the original 2,000-acre grant for his nephew, Daniel Boone Bryan 1758-1845, a renowned frontiersman, historian and poet. On this land, Daniel Bryan built a stone house. Bryan equipped his estate with a number of innovations that proved to be profitable. He built a gun shop that at one time employed 25 men, operated a gristmill, manufactured saltpeter for gunpowder, ran a blacksmith shop, a distillery, and a paper mill. He also built a Baptist Church on his property and established a school for females.

Two years after Daniel Bryans death, his son, Joseph Bryan, Sr., tore down the old stone house and began construction on the Waveland mansion. The name for the estate came from the way the wind blew or waved the fields of grain and hemp surrounding the building site. As with so many prosperous farmers and planters of the time, Bryan decided to build a classic Greek Revival structure. Inspired by the work of Lexington architect John McMurtry, Bryan hired Washington Allen, a well-known Lexington contractor, to oversee the construction of his new home.

Lumber came from trees cut on the Waveland property. The bricks came from clay dug and burned on site. The estates blacksmith wrought the iron needed in construction. Stone for the foundations and some of the decorative work was quarried and dressed at Tyrone on the Kentucky River and hauled to Waveland. Five huge Ionic columns grace the portico and frame front entry of the mansion. The doorway is considered to be an exact copy of the north entrance to the Erechtheum at the Acropolis in Athens. When completed, Waveland epitomized the grace and charm of an antebellum Kentucky plantation house.

The Bryan family lavished time and money on Waveland, making it one of the show places of central Kentucky. The house is typical of the Greek Revival style. The rooms have high ceilings for relief from the hot summer months, a wide hall, and long porches on either side of the house. The side porches provide an excellent view of the surrounding countryside.

Joseph Henry Bryan 1836-1931 inherited Waveland from his father Joseph Sr. in 1887. Described as a giant of a man with a booming voice and imposing presence, Joseph H. Bryan established Waveland as one of the premier thoroughbred and trotter farms in Kentucky. Bryan produced a number of world-famous trotters including, Waveland Chief, one of the most celebrated sires in the horse breeding industry. Eric, one of the fastest trotters in the region and Olaf, an amazingly swift huge black gelding, complemented the Waveland stables. Ben-Hur and Wild Rake gained national prominence for their speed on the racetrack. Wild Rake never lost a heat and was sold to William Rockefeller in the 1880s for $7,800.

In 1894, the Bryan family sold Waveland to Sallie A. Scott, who sold the estate to James A. Hulett, Sr. in 1899. In 1956, the Commonwealth of Kentucky purchased the house and less than two hundred acres of the original 2,000 for the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture as an experimental farm. In 1957 Waveland became a Kentucky Life Museum. The museum depicted Kentucky life from pioneer days through the Civil War. In 1971, the University of Kentucky deeded Waveland to the Kentucky Department of Parks. The mansion and outbuildings are situated on 10 acres. The house and grounds are open for tours. The theme of the Waveland State Park is to depict Kentucky life on a Kentucky plantation during the 1840s. The mansion is decorated in antebellum style. The outbuildings include a two story brick servants quarters, an icehouse, smokehouse, and barn.

Waveland State Historic Site is located near Lexington, Nicholasville and Paris

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