A NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK SINCE 1994
Lanier Mansion is one of the best examples of Greek Revival architecture in the country and is considered to be the “Crown Jewel” of Madison’s Historic District. Here you’ll have the opportunity to encounter, explore and experience history as it was in the 1840s–when America was still young and the Ohio River was the gateway to the West.
James Franklin Doughty Lanier was one of Madison’s pioneers. His activities in banking and railroad development made him one of the most important figures in Indiana’s history. Lanier moved to Madison in 1817 where he practiced law and served as clerk of the Indiana General Assembly in the 1820s. By 1834, he’d became president of the Madison Branch of the State Bank of Indiana and was a major investor in Indiana’s first railroad. Lanier’s business success allowed him to hire Madison architect Francis Costigan to design and build the grandest residence in Madison, which was completed in 1844.
Francis Costigan designed the mansion with many Greek Revival features. These include its square plan, the full façade porch on the south elevation, the Corinthian columns on the south portico, the Doric pilasters that appear on several locations on the exterior, the massive exterior entablature and dentilated cornice, the ornamental anthemia, the ornamental pediments over the windows and doors, and the Ionic columns that separate the double parlors on the first floor.
During the 1990s, the Lanier Mansion and grounds were restored to their former grandeur. After many years of painstaking research, the home was painted in the original colors both inside and out. On the interior, horsehair brushes were used to paint the walls and decorative plaster moldings covered with a high gloss varnish as they were in 1844 were hung. The wallpapers and carpets are all reproductions of those available for purchase in the 1840s.
Archaeologists and historians have been active at Lanier Mansion since 1990, discovering the original locations of the former dog kennels, poultry house, green houses and cisterns, as well as the original Lanier home and carriage house. Archaeologists also uncovered numerous glass and ceramic items, including shards of glass bottles, dishes, bowls and ceramic serving pieces made of yellow ware, white ware and porcelain, as well as transfer ware in a variety of colors. Researchers used the transfer ware shards as a guide in selecting the set of antique transfer ware that now adorns the mansion’s dining room.
Recapture life in the 19th Century
Spend a day at the Mansion and you can easily imagine what life was like for James Lanier and his family in the mid-1800s. Careful interior restoration and redecoration have recaptured the Mansion’s 19th-century splendor.
Explore the Crown Jewel
Tour the Greek Revival home of James F.D. Lanier, a former clerk of the Indiana General Assembly and businessman who worked in banking and finance. The home was designed and built by architect Francis Costigan.
Admire architectural details
Look at the beautiful architecture of the home. In addition to the spiral staircase, be sure to notice the Corinthian columns on the south portico, the Ionic columns separating the double parlors on the first floor and even a curved door near the stairs!
Programs & Events
So much to see (and do) here!
Plan Your Trip
Wednesday – Sunday
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Mondays*, Tuesdays, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Open *Martin Luther King Jr. Day (FREE), *President’s Day (FREE), *Memorial Day, *Labor Day.
Open for preregistered programs only on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Due to COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, we are offering special timed, indoor tours for a limited number of people daily, Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Specialty tours can be done upon request and self-guided walking tours of the grounds are open all day.Purchase Tickets
Walk up tour tickets are subject to availability. Purchasing online or by calling the site is recommended to ensure tour registration.
For groups of 15 or more, adult tickets are $10, senior tickets are $8, and youth tickets are $5. 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 >>
Field trip admission is free for pre-scheduled, accredited schools and homeschool groups of 10 or more Indiana K-12 students. Call 812.265.3526 to schedule your visit.
Academic topics covered include Greek Revival architecture, historic preservation, mid 19th-century life and financial literacy.
Learn more about field trip and school program offerings in the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites PreK-12 Education Program Guide. View guide >>
If you are a photographer looking to book a shoot at Lanier Mansion State Historic Site, please review our commercial photography policy and application process. Learn more >>
Lanier State Historic Site Visitor Center
Wednesday, September 15, 2021, 6 – 7 p.m.
Wednesday, December 15, 2021, 6 – 7 p.m.
LOOKING TO BOOK A FIELD TRIP?
Help bring history, science, art and education to life for your students with a one-of-a-kind field trip experience. All state historic sites support Indiana Academic Standards, and feature a variety of academic topics. Call 812.265.3526 to schedule your visit to Lanier Mansion.Learn More in Our Educator Program Guide
601 W. 1st St., Madison, IN 47250
Lanier Mansion is located just north of the Ohio River between Vine and Elm streets. All guided tours begin at the Visitor Center, which is just west of the state historic site with an entrance facing Vine Street. Parking is available near the Lanier-Madison Visitor Center.