William S. Culbertson built this Victorian style home in 1869, a project costing approximately $120,000 to build. When the home was finished, it was one of the finest houses in the entire Hoosier State. It’s no surprise that one of Indiana’s richest businessmen resided at this fancy New Albany, Indiana home. Today, the 20,000 square foot mansion is a state historic site that is open for tours April through December. This Indiana attraction made the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. History buffs, families, school groups and even Indianapolis kids find tours to be educational and informative about Indiana history.
Things get a little scary around the Culbertson Mansion during the month of October. The Culbertson Mansion’s volunteers and staff have been spooking guests since 1985, making it one of the top haunted Indiana sites. For more background on the haunting at Culbertson Mansion, click here.
Mr. Culbertson’s first wife passed away, leaving behind six children. When Mr. Culbertson married his second wife Cornelia, the couple built the Culbertson Mansion to raise their big family. The Culbertson Mansion State Historic Site has a whopping 25 rooms, and some of the home’s many amenities include marble fireplaces, hand-painted ceilings, crystal chandeliers and even a carved rosewood and mahogany staircase. The second and third floors of the Culbertson Mansion exhibit many bedrooms, and the third floor even has a ballroom that visitors can see. The home also has a library, and breakfast room and three stories of endless historic stories.
Perhaps one of the most convenient amenities at the Culbertson Mansion was the easy transportation. The streetcar ran just in front of the house and a railroad track was built on the property. Mr. Culbertson’s fortunes originated with his successful entrepreneurial business. He also founded the major utilities of New Albany, he went into the banking business and he eventually became a major investor. He died in 1982 at the age of 78.
In 1899 the Culbertson Mansion and Historic Site was sold in auction for $7,100. John McDonald then owned the home until his death. The American Legion used it as a meeting place after gaining ownership of the house from McDonald’s daughter. Some structural changes were made in order to accommodate several southern Indiana events.
When the 1960s rolled around, a gasoline station proposed to demolish and rebuild the site. That’s when Historic New Albany stepped in to restore the home to its original Victorian roots. Some of the Culbertson Mansion State Historic Site is still being restored to its original colors, designs and finishes. The replication process is not a speedy one, but Indiana history buffs appreciate the accuracy. Many similar Indiana attractions are sprinkled throughout the state, including the Levi Coffin House, the Eugene V. Debs Home, Ruthmere Mansion and the Benjamin Harrison Home.
Admission to the Culbertson Mansion State Historic Site is free, but donations are always welcomed. The mansion is located just two hours south of Indianapolis. Call the mansion for exact times and other travel information.
Culbertson Mansion State Historic Site
914 East Main Street
New Albany, Indiana 47150