We had been to Madison over a dozen times, and had walked through the grounds of the Lanier Mansion on several of our visits - but had not previously taken the time to tour the inside of the house... I am glad we finally did!
We visited as part of a "Nights before Christmas" Holiday home tour on Thanksgiving Weekend - and the Mansion tour was included with 9 other homes and historic stops you could visit during afternoon and evening hours...
The Mansion was decorated for Christmas during the visit of course and this was festive and interesting - as the guide explained several customs and decorations from the mid 1800's when the Lanier Family lived in the home.
My favorite parts of the tour however were:
2. The magnificent native wood furniture pieces, wardrobes, buffets, tables, chairs, 4 poster beds - all beautiful pieces of art and craftsmanship!
1. The incredible architecture! This building was designed by a local Madison architect named Francis Costigan - an architectural genius of the time - you can visit several other buildings nearby he had a hand in as well - including his very quirky and interesting home over on the north side of town we had visited on a tour back in the summer time.
The curving, 3 story spiral staircase in the center of the mansion heading up to a crowning skylight down is awe-inspiring and beautiful - a masterpiece of architectural vision and execution - to think that this was built with the technology of 175 years ago boggles my mind!
I thought it was interesting and curious the senior Mr. Lanier and his family only lived in this house for about 7 years before hightailing it for New York City?? The tour guides were kind of vague about the reason for the move - some of the Lanier sons and later generations resided in the Mansion until the early 1900's - it has been a museum for several decades now - and an interesting one at that - well worth a few dollars and a couple of hours for a tour of the place.
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