Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Indiana State Historic Site - Culbertson Mansion

Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites, Markers & Museums - South Central Edition
Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites,
Markers & Museums
South Central Edition

Title of Marker:
Culbertson Mansion
Location:
1996 Indiana Historical Bureau and Friends of Culbertson Mansion.
914 E. Main Street, New Albany. (Floyd County, Indiana)
Installed by:
1996 Indiana Historical Bureau and Friends of Culbertson Mansion.
Marker ID #:
22.1996.2
Marker Text:
French Second Empire Style structure. Construction began 1867 for William Stewart Culbertson (1814-1892), leading industrialist, financier, and philanthropist in New Albany area. Listed in National Register of Historic Places, 1974; accepted as state-owned historic site, 1976; part of Mansion Row Historic District, 1983.

Brief History
William Stewart Culbertson (1814-1892)
Son of William Culbertson and Julia Stuart, William S. is the second of six children. His father dies when William is ten years old, so William began working as a dry goods clerk to help his mother make ends meet. At age twenty-one, he moved to Louisville, Kentucky and applied to a dry goods merchant for work. The merchant encourages him to seek employment across the river in New Albany, so William crossed the Ohio River and applied for work with General Alexander S Burnett, who owned the largest dry goods store in New Albany.
Marriage and On His Own
In 1840, he married Eliza Vance of Corydon, with whom he will have eight children. Later that year he formed a business partnership with his brother John. They called their business Culbertson & Brother and located it at Pearl & Main Street in New Albany. Together they grew the business, which was a retail/wholesale dry goods establishment, and it became successful.
The Civil War
During the war, Culbertson supported the Union cause by organizing a home guard to defend New Albany and raised money for the Union. A series of successful business deals spurred by the wartime economy made him a fortune. By the time the war ended, Culbertson had expanded into the banking industry.
After the War
Culbertson became active in many business ventures after the war, including transportation industry, glass and sheet metal. He used his money and influence to fund several charitable local causes including the Culbertson Widows' Home. In 1867, he built the mansion that served as his home from 1867 until his death in 1892. At his death, he was the richest man in Indiana, with a fortune of 3.5 million dollars. This is equivalent to about 61 million current dollars.
Culbertson Mansion
The 20,000 square foot mansion has 28 rooms. It features hand-painted ceilings, a carved rosewood staircase, marble fireplaces, and crystal chandeliers. The State of Indiana acquired the property in 1964 and declared it a State Historic Site in 1976. The State began renovations in 1980. The home had become neglected and needed extensive work to restore it to its original luster. It is now a State Historic Site, open for the public to enjoy. Individuals or companies may rent the parlor for parties, receptions or other events. The property is open to the public on Saturday and Sunday. During the week, it is available only for private tours.
914 East Main St.
New Albany, IN 47150

Phone: 812-944-9600

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