Woodlawn / Colonel William Rodes House, Big Hill Avenue, Richmond, Kentucky
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In the interior, the curved motif of the elaborate frontispiece continues in a finely carved archway that spans the central hallway, with paired colonnettes supporting the arch. This wide hall separates two rooms on either side and the two wings beyond, each of the four rooms containing a Palladian window on the front facade. The carvings on the chair rails, parlor mantels, and elliptically-headed cupboards show the workmanship of a skilled carver. This woodwork is attributed to Matthew P. Lowery, a Kentucky craftsman who settled in Mercer County around 1800. At one time handsome French pictorial wallpaper depicted a hunt scene made in 1814, hung on the walls. This was removed in 1929 and sold for $6,000.
Woodlawn is one of the more formal examples of the Federal style architecture in Rchmond and possesses carved woodwork which exemplifies the style. The house consists of a central story-and-one-half pavilion flanked by lower lateral wings. Doric columns of stone support an one-story stone portico. The High ashlar limestone foundation elevates the 70' wide brick front facade laid in Flemish bond brickwork. A wide central doorway is surmounted by a lead-mullioned elliptical fanlight and framed by fluted columns.
The land upon which Woodlawn stands was acquired through the preemption of Judge Robert Rodes (1759-1818). He and his wife, Elizabeth Delaney, gave the property to their son William Rodes (1799-1877) upon his marriage to Pauline Green Clay (1802-1866). Gen. Green Clay had Woodlawn built as a wedding gift to his daughter and new son-in-law. Col. Rodes, a wealthy hempp manufacturer and a prominent Richmond resident, promoted the decision to build the new Madison County Courthouse (MA-65) and to landscape the Richmond Cemetery (MASE-23).
His estate once extended to Lancaster Avenue and included land now a part of Eastern Kentucky University . Both Federal and Confederate soldiers occupied the grounds of Woodlawn during the Civil War, with some of the Battle of Richmond being fought here. In fact, Union Gen. Braxton Bragg’s army encamped here, watering at the spring in front of the house.