Lanier Mansion (Madison, Indiana)

NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
Toured this mansion today and thought I would share since it does have a few Civil War ties.

The Lanier Mansion is a Greek Revival-styled mansion located in the Ohio River town of Madison, Indiana. The mansion is was completed in 1844 and was designed by Francis Costigan who designed a number of homes in Madison and also resided there.

GEGA6532.JPG

River (South) facing front of the home
The mansion, by my count, had 18 individual rooms (not including the cellar) as well as a carriage house, additional kitchen as well as many outbuildings that no longer exist.

LUVB3059.JPG

Street (North) facing front of the home
James Franklin D. Lanier moved to Madison as a teenager and worked for his father in their general store prior to attending Transylvania University in Kentucky and receiving a law degree. He later served as Clerk of the Indiana House of Representatives before becoming involved in real estate and then banking. It was in banking that Lanier first found major success which, coupled with his real estate ventures, allowed him to become president of the Bank of Indiana after purchasing a majority share in the bank. It was through Lanier's leadership and banking savvy that allowed the Bank of Indiana to weather the panic of 1837 in which many other banks across the still young United States fell victim.

WNZB7003.JPG

Building on his real estate and banking successes, Lanier began investing in the emerging railroad market and was a major financier in Indiana's first major rail line which ran from Indianapolis to the Ohio River in Madison and actually terminated right across the street from his mansion on the west side. Lanier would only live in the home for 7 years before he moved to New York in 1851 where he would start a investment banking firm. Prior to his relocation, Lanier was the richest man in Indiana.

WWHS2797.JPG

With the outbreak of the Civil War, James Lanier took an active role in supporting the state of Indiana in the outfitting of her volunteers by loaning the state $400,000, he would later give an additional $600,000+ bringing his total contribution to over $1 million (over $20 million today). Lanier was an acquaintance of Governor Oliver P. Morton who played a major role in securing these loans. However, through his actions, he also persuaded other influential Hoosiers to donate their money to outfit and arm Indiana troops.

TDPO4758.JPG

Lanier passed away in 1881 and passed much of his fortune to his son, Alexander. The home itself traded hands many times before being donated to the city and then the state of Indiana in the 1920s.

Lanier had 11 children including a daughter, Elizabeth, who married Bvt BG William McKee Dunn. Dunn served as aide-de-camp under McClellan early in the war and went on to serve as the JAG of the Army after the war concluded. His youngest son, Charles, would become a successful banker in his own right and became one of, if not the best of friends, to one J.P. Morgan.

YJBP5595.JPG
 

NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
Very nice. An old friend of mine lived in Madison (I grew up in Louisville, KY).
There is a lot of early American history on the Indiana side of the Ohio River, particularly in the stretch between Corydon and Madison.

There are multiple other historic mansions in the area such as both the Schenck homes in the river town of Vevay. One of which was designed by Francis Costigan, the same architect as the Lanier home. I stayed in the Schenck Mansion for a night a few years ago when it operated as a bed & breakfast.
 

NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
It is a beautiful place. Been there several times. Toured at Christmas time several years. Glad you got to go and shared the pictures.

Always loved Madison, Indiana. Had several Antique Malls and shops we would always go to.

Like Clifty Falls State Park. We would eat there when we went to Madison.

I actually went hiking yesterday morning at Clifty Falls before venturing into town. Stopped off for a beer at a bar prior to the mansion tour and found out is considered the oldest still functioning tavern in Indiana, dating back to the 1830s.

JDIN1871.JPG


HATG6375.JPG


XGZD6141.JPG
 

donna

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
May 12, 2010
Location
Now Florida but always a Kentuckian
The one we went to was the Old Broadway Hotel and Tavern. We had lunch there several times. It states been operating since 1834.

Also thanks for photos of Clifty Falls. Always enjoyed going there. It was always especially beautiful in the Fall.
 

NH Civil War Gal

Captain
* OFFICIAL *
CWT PRESENTER
Forum Host
Regtl. Quartermaster Antietam 2021
Joined
Feb 5, 2017
Thank you for the tour! A lot of my husband’s family is from Madison and is buried in the local cemetery. We went to Madison many years ago and toured the mansion, Clifty Falls (and stayed at the park’s hotel), visited the cemetery, and enjoyed the area greatly..

When we went to the old cemetery, I noticed a lot of deaths were from yellow fever so being next door to the Ohio River, it must have been regularly hit hard with that year by year.

I think, but could be wrong, that there was a Civil War hospital set up in Madison at one point - a tent hospital if I remember, but someone may know more about it.
 

NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
I think, but could be wrong, that there was a Civil War hospital set up in Madison at one point - a tent hospital if I remember, but someone may know more about it.
The hospital in Madison was comprised of 55 wards which in total could serve up to 2300 patients. Each building was 125 ft. long and 25 ft. wide. Couldn't tell you of the exact location. The larger hospital in the area was to the west in Jeffersonville which incorporated the wheel spoke design and served over 15,000 patients during it's time in service.
 
Top