Embracing a Healthy Family: Lanier Mansion State Historic Site Homeschool Visit

Lanier Mansion State Historic Site Homeschool Visit

We recently visited the Lanier Mansion State Historic Site in Madison, Indiana to see what life in the 1840s was like. We arrived at the perfect time when school just returned to session and on a work day as we had our own personal tour guide. He was a former school teacher and was very knowledgeable and amiable. We learned a lot from him and rate the tour a 10. James F.D. Lanier was a very successful entrepreneur who resided in Madison which is a beautiful town in southern Indiana right on the Ohio River across from Kentucky. 

He was born in North Carolina but grew up in Kentucky until 1817 when his family moved to Madison. He studied law at Transylvania University and later became an assistant clerk for the Indiana Legislature. He would eventually become a clerk for the Indiana House of Representatives. During that tenure, he helped with the efforts to move the State Capitol from Corydon to Indianapolis in 1825. He later became a banker and president of the Bank of Indiana which is where his ability to build wealth and prominence began. In the 1830s, he jumped on board the railway craze and was involved with the state's first major rail line providing a connection between Indianapolis and Madison. In 1844, his mansion was completed but he didn't sit still long.

In 1851, he moved to New York and continued building wealth. By the time the American Civil War was causing a financial strain to the state, the then governor, Oliver P. Morton, requested a loan from Lanier of over one million dollars to ensure Indiana stayed a Union state. By 1870, the State repaid the debt. His son had taken over the mansion and turned it over to them in order to preserve its history and legacy.

Below are photographs from the mansion and grounds:

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