The Lanier Mansion, the “Crown Jewel” of Madison’s Historic District and a designated National Historic Landmark, is owned and operated by the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites Corporation. This beautiful Greek Revival mansion, designed and built by Madison architect Francis Costigan and completed in 1844, was the home of J.F.D. Lanier until he moved to New York City in 1851. Lanier’s contribution to Indiana’s banking and railroad industries made him one of the most important figures in the history of this state before the Civil War.
The mansion contains Madison’s most impressive public collection of early nineteenth century furniture. In the course of restoration work that began in 1995, the exterior of the mansion was returned to its original color scheme, and most of the interior was redecorated with authentic reproduction carpeting, wallpaper, and textiles all evocative of the mid-nineteenth century. Private donors have made most of this work possible.
This holiday season, view the mansion decorated much as it would have been in 1850, the last year the Lanier family lived in Madison. Although homes in this era were not decorated as elaborately as later in the Victorian period, many of the holiday customs we observe today were just beginning at this time. Also new this year, the east wing of the home, which includes the kitchen, breakfast room and servants’ quarters, will be included in the tour for the first time since the mansion became a museum in 1926. A massive project (using both state and private funds) to restore this section of the home was made possible over the last ten years by the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, The Lanier Mansion Foundation and The Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County Indiana.