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1844 Greek Revival
Lanier Mansion State Historic Site
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 and practiced law. In the 1820s he served as clerk of the Indiana General Assembly.
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In the 1830s Lanier turned to banking and finance. He became the president and major stockholder of the Madison Branch of the State Bank of Indiana. Lanier promoted railroads and became a major stockholder in Indiana's first railroad, the Madison and Indianapolis, which was completed in 1847.
Lanier's business success allowed him to hire Madison architect Francis Costigan to design and build the grandest residence in Madison. It was completed and occupied in 1844. Following the death of his first wife, Elizabeth, in 1846, Lanier married Margaret Mary McClure Lanier in 1848.
In 1849 Lanier formed the investment bank Winslow & Lanier and moved permanently to New York City in 1851, but still maintained close ties to Indiana. During the Civil War he made unsecured loans totaling over $1 million ($26 million today) enabling Governor Oliver P. Morton to outfit troops and keep up interest payments on Indiana's debts. By 1870, these loans were repaid with interest. Lanier died in 1881.
The Lanier Mansion is one of the best examples of Greek Revival architecture in the country, and is the "Crown Jewel" of Madison's Historic District. Features include the stately south portico with colossal Corinthian columns, octagonal cupola and a dramatic spiral staircase. Formal gardens have been recreated using plants popular in the 19th century. Careful restoration and redecoration have recaptured the Mansion's 19th century splendor. The Lanier Mansion is a National Historic Landmark.
Archived in June, 2013
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