Step back in time to the 1840s at Lanier Mansion, a time capsule of U.S. history and stories from the heart of America’s heartland in Madison, Indiana. The historic mansion is one of 12 locations within the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites system. Today, it serves as a modern-day look into history-in-the-making during the country’s westward expansion along the Ohio River during the early 1800s.

The Lanier Mansion is also known as the “crown jewel” of Madison’s Historic District, which spans 130 blocks and displays homes and historic buildings featuring 19th-century architecture. An afternoon at the mansion lets groups imagine what life might have been like for James F.D. Lanier and his family during the mid-1800s. The former home of the clerk of the Indiana General Assembly and prominent banker and businessman displays one of the country’s most impressive preservations of Greek Revival architecture.

The mansion was designed by Indiana-based architect Francis Costigan. Greek Revival features shine through its white Corinthian columns on the south portico, exterior Doric pilasters, ornamental-decorated windows and doors, decorative plaster moldings, and interior floor-to-ceiling columns.

Guided tours begin at the Lanier-Madison Visitor Center on the west side of the state historic site and explore the entire interior and exterior of the mansion grounds.

Lanier Mansion
Lanier Mansion
Credit: Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites

“Our tour covers all three floors of the beautifully restored mansion,” says Devin Robinson, program developer at Lanier Mansion. “Groups will get to see and experience the reproduction of wall coverings, carpeting, and furnishings from the time period as they walk through the house, as well as learn about the Lanier family, their history, and their contributions to the state of Indiana.”

Group tours must be scheduled in advance by phone, and all group tickets must be purchased in person. Special discount tickets are available for school and adult groups of 15 or more.

For more information, call 812-265-3526 or go to

Main Image: Lanier Mansion; Credit: Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites

Article by Erica Zazo