William Culbertson moved to Indiana seeking a new life and eventually became one of the richest men in the state and a renowned philanthropist. His mansion stands as an example of the tastes, ideals and lifestyles of people during the late 1800s.
Activities to enjoy:
914 E. Main St.
New Albany, IN 47150
Guided tours begin at the front door of the mansion, which is located on the corner or East Main and East 10th streets. Just ring the bell and wait for a guide to assist you.
Parking is available on Main Street and 10th Street. ADA compliant parking is available in the circular driveway behind the mansion; please call if you need to use the lift or if you need additional assistance.
Wednesday – Sunday
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Mondays*, Tuesdays, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day
Open New Year’s Day, *Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - FREE, Presidents’ Day - FREE, Spring and Fall Break
Purchase tickets in person at the Gift Shop at the conclusion of the tour.
For groups of 15 or more, adult tickets are $9, and youth tickets are $3. Group tickets must be purchased in person.
Special discounts are available for educators and education groups, military, Access Pass holders and more. View all discounts >>
Due to COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, we are offering special timed, indoor tours for a maximum of 10 people daily, Wednesday through Sunday. Cost for these tours is included with site admission, but pre-registration is recommended. Topics include:
Regular guided tour
Specialty tour – restoration
Specialty tour – servants tour
Regular guided tour
Self-guided walking tour
Become a member and receive free unlimited admission to Culbertson Mansion State Historic Site and all 12 statewide locations of the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites. Members also receive 10 percent discount in the gift shop and free admission to more than 300 museum and science centers worldwide. Learn more about membership options.
We hope to see you at our upcoming events. Visit our calendar for a list of events happening at all 12 Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites locations.
In an effort to provide a camp experience to our campers, we are excited to offer several alternatives to engage your campers.
Saturday, July 25, 2020
8:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Search the mansion for clues and solve the murder...
Field trip admission is free for pre-scheduled, accredited schools and homeschool groups of 10 or more Indiana K-12 students. Call 812.944.9600 to schedule your visit.
Academic topics covered include benevolence, late 19th-century life, servants & class structure, historic
preservation and decorative arts.
Learn more about field trip and school program offerings in the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites PreK-12 Education Program Guide. View guide >>
Consider hosting your special event at the Culbertson Mansion State Historic Site. Learn about available spaces and event details in our Planning Guide. Please fill out our inquiry form to receive information.
If you are a photographer looking to book a shoot at Culbertson Mansion State Historic Site, please review our commercial photography policy and application process. Learn more >>
With its hand-painted ceilings, carved staircase, marble fireplaces and elaborate plasterwork, the Culbertson Mansion reflects the affluence of a man once considered to be the wealthiest in Indiana. In 1867, William S. Culbertson spent about $120,000 to build his grand home in New Albany.
The three-story, Second-Empire mansion encompasses more than 20,000 square feet and contains 25 rooms. The facade, east elevation and west elevation all feature semi-circular bays, allowing plenty of light into the rooms. Built by brothers William and James Banes, it was one of the most striking homes on Main Street.
No expense was spared in decorating the interior of the home. The family hired artists to paint the designs on the walls, ceilings and cornices of the first and second floors. Artists used the technique of trompe l’oiel in several rooms to mimic paneling, molding or other textured surfaces. Special tools were used to create the look of wood graining. Many of the floors were hand-painted with this “faux bois” graining. Other rooms were covered with wall-to-wall carpets.
In 1964, Historic New Albany purchased the home, and it was accepted as a State Historic Site in 1976. The Culbertson Mansion represents the lifestyles of the Victorian fortune-makers as well as the lifestyles of the servant staff.
WILLIAM S. CULBERTSON
At age 21, William S. Culbertson left his hometown of New Market, PA, to seek his fortune in Indiana. Settling in New Albany, he found employment as a clerk in a dry goods store. Culbertson possessed exceptional business sense and energy. He started his own utility company in 1854, eventually becoming a prosperous, independent businessman. In 1868, Culbertson retired from the dry goods business to invest his money in new ventures, including the Kentucky-Indiana Railroad Bridge Company.
Culbertson invested much of his wealth in New Albany. He involved himself in civic affairs, funded and supervised the construction of the Culbertson Widows Home, served as a Trustee of the First Presbyterian Church, and founded the Cornelia Memorial Orphans Home, named for the second of his three wives. Culbertson was widowed twice and married for the third time at age 70.
He died in 1892, at the age of 78, achieving a net worth of $3.5 million dollars — about $61 million in today’s economy. William, his first two wives, and several of his children are buried in New Albany’s Fairview Cemetery.
RESTORATION OF THE MANSION
The Culbertson family sold the house and its furnishings in 1899. Over the following decades, the passage of time and changes in ownership left their mark on the mansion. When the State of Indiana took ownership of the house in 1976, much of it would have been unrecognizable to the family. The state started exterior renovations in 1980, and shortly afterward, the staff and the Friends of Culbertson Mansion began work to restore the original interior.
Restoration requires careful analysis of the remaining materials so that the artists and craftspeople involved can recreate the originals as accurately as possible. Textiles such as carpeting and window coverings are chosen for their appropriateness to the time period. In some cases, historic photographs are invaluable, as in the rebuilding of the first floor veranda and the recreation of the etched-glass panel in the front door.
The Friends continue to raise funds for restoration and other projects around the mansion through annual special events. In addition, the Friends have received many generous grants from local foundations with an interest in preservation. Today, visitors to the mansion can see the results of these restoration efforts, as well as the works-in-progress.
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