Madison, IN: Lanier Mansion

Heading back in time a little bit to Spring Break, the final thing we did in Madison was visit the Lanier Mansion.

Lanier (pronounced La-neer) is probably one of the most important people related to Indiana you've never heard of. I didn't know anything about him before this visit (just that his house is cool and I ought to see it). But I was interested in him and this house enough to pay the $9 admission fee and wait till the top of the hour for my tour guide. (Tours run 9-5pm, with the last tour starting at 4. My tour lasted about 45 minutes.)

Our tour guide led us through most of the rooms in the house. They have been set up to look like they would have in the 1840s, when Lanier and his family lived here.

Lanier is important because he pretty much single-handedly financed the state of Indiana three separate times, mostly notably loaning $1 million during the Civil War. Despite all his money, not that much is known about him or his family.

His house, which is a National Historic Landmark (and one of the best examples of Greek Revival architecture in the country) is pretty cool, though. I enjoy interesting architecture, especially interesting staircases (one of my goals in life is to build an awesome house). The staircase in this house is windy, which can give you vertigo if you look up (see below, one of the ladies on the tour with me got dizzy). What's more interesting, though, is the door under the staircase, above. The door is curved to fit in the curved wall behind the stairs. So cool!

The grounds are just as, or more, beautiful than the interior. The grounds are free to roam while the house is open.


The tour includes a stop on the top floor, which has a low ceiling and is quite dark and feels a lot like an attic. The neat thing up here is the ghostly child's hand print on the wall.

This house is in a picturesque area of Madison now, with beautiful gardens and an unobstructed view of the Ohio River from the back of the house. But when Lanier and his family lived here, there was an iron works across the street and pigs running around everywhere (Madison was second in the nation in pig production only to Cincinnati). Not exactly ideal living quarters.

The back of the house, the side that faces the Ohio, is much grander than the front of the house (which originally faced the iron works). No wonder so many people like to get married here, with these views.

I enjoyed my tour and feel like I learned quite a lot (most I had no idea about), and would recommend checking out the mansion tour and poke around the gardens (which are not on the tour) while you're in Madison.
Madison, IN: Lanier Mansion Madison, IN: Lanier Mansion Reviewed by Maria on 10:00:00 AM Rating: 5

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