Waveland, located in Danville, Kentucky, is the ancestral home of the Green family. It was constructed between 1797 and 1800 by Willis Green.
Willis Green, of Scotch-Irish descent, was born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. 1 Willis served as the deputy clerk of Fauquier County, Virginia 3 who relocated to Kentucky in a surveying party in 1782. 1 In 1783, Green married Sarah Reed in what was described as “one of the Christian marriages ever solemnized on Kentucky soil.” 3 Reed was the daughter of John Reed, one of the first settlers of Danville.
Willis represented Kentucky County in the Virginia legislature and then in Kentucky’s own legislature. 1 3 He was a framer of Kentucky’s constitution and an original trustee of the Transylvania Seminary in Lexington. He also held office as the clerk of the court in Lincoln County.
Green received a land grant of approximately 2,000 acres near Danville. 1 3 Over a span of three years, the family constructed a late-Georgian-styled house, two-stories high with a brick-floor basement. The interior appointments were crafted by skilled workers from Philadelphia were brought to the region by Willis’ brother-in-law, James Birney. A slave quarter that connected to the kitchen was located in the rear.
Waveland, named for the undulating terrain surrounding it, was originally oriented to the east towards present-day Gose Pike. 3 After Houstonville Pike was constructed to the west, the house was reoriented with the addition of a front porch and the reversal of the interior stairway.
After Willis died in 1813, Waveland was passed down to his wife. 3 After she passed three years later, it was to be sold for division of the estate among the family. It was purchased by their son, Judge John Green, who had studied law under Henry Clay and who served as aide-de-camp to Governor Isaac Shelby in the War of 1812. Green served in the state Senate and in the House.
The third owner of Waveland was Dr. William Craig who acquired the house after his brother-in-law, Judge Green, passed. 3 After William Craig passed in 1854, his eldest son, John J. Craig, became the owner. It was then sold to J.D. Erskine in 1924.
Waveland was actively farmed until the 1960’s, when the land around the house was sold off to developers. 1 The residence itself was abandoned in 1976. 2
After Tessa Horton of Lexington placed the house up for auction on June 8, 2013, various preservation groups, including the Bluegrass Trust for Historic Preservation, the James Harrod Trust for Historic Preservation and the Boyle Landmark Trust, banded together to acquire the property for $87,200. 1 The bidding was started at $100,000 but the first bid but there was no offer until it was lowered to $50,000. The price was edged up to $80,000 by Shane Baker, co-owner of the Wilderness Trace Distillery, who had intended to purchase the property to save it from being demolished. Baker soon realized the other bidders were preservationists and dropped out of the bidding.
The Bluegrass Trust placed an easement on Waveland to prevent it from being torn down, and has plans to resell the residence to someone who will restore it. 1