to turn Lanier Mansion
into history classroom
Costumed citizens, artisans
and soldiers to participate in Lanier Days
(May, 2002) MADISON, Ind. If youve ever wondered
what life was like during the Civil War era, then take a step back in
time to the mid-1800s during the May 18-19 Lanier Days Celebration.
The Lanier Mansion State Historic Site will serve as the
backdrop for a weekend of history brought to life as re-enactors, musicians
and artisans gather in period costume to portray military and civilian
life. Visitors to Madisons top-visited tourism site will be able
to watch demonstrations, listen to music, dance and tour military encampments,
including live cannon firings, as marks another year of history. Demostrations
will be held in candle and soap making, spinning and weaving, rope and
show making, and long rifle. Organizers have also brought back the popular
afternoon tea and the Lanier Ball, both scheduled for Saturday. Of course,
there will also be free tours of the mansion on the hour throughout
In addition, a vintage baseball game will be played on the grounds of
Lanier Days has been going on for many years but has had its ups
and downs. We have really worked hard this year by adding more events
and activities, so its like starting over, said Phyllis
Stephenson, the mansions assistant curator.
The weekend will kick off with Heritage Day on Friday, during which
the mansion will play host to nearly 400 fourth-graders visiting from
Madison elementary schools. The students will tour the grounds to view
the encampments and watch demonstrations by re-enactors portraying merchants
and soldiers of the period.
On Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, the mansion
and grounds will come alive with three Civil War era military encampments,
a medical surgeons station, a storyteller and more than a dozen
Many period artisans will demonstrate trades and activities of the period.
Among those demonstrators will be Russ and Jackie Leckband, Earlham,
Ohio (potter); Mike Runyon, Archebold, Ohio (tinsmith); Ron Goad, Madison
(hewing); Sonny Ash, Brooksburg, Ind. (stone work); John Hall, Madison
(furniture); Brian Burke, Madison (broom making); Steve Thomas, Madison
(apple and cider); Donna and Tom Weaver, Vevay, Ind. (wax silhouette);
Lois Fish, Bicknell, Ind. (quilting); Les Kovaks, Kilbuck, Ohio (coopering);
Steve Ratterman, Louisville, Ky. (shoemaking); and Carole Cunningham,
Madison (period-style food).
The Civil War military encampments will portray the 1st Wisconsin Artillery,
the 1st Indiana Cavalry and the 32nd Regiment of the Indiana Volunteer
Infantry Co. G. Two full scale cannons will be fired as part of military
training and drilling.
Andrew Rowden, the director of the Scott County Public Library and an
avid re-enactor, will portray a Civil War medical surgeon, a new addition
to this years event. Rowden will be accompanied by his wife, Pam,
who will portray a nurse.
The couple met a decade ago during a re-enactment in Newark, Ohio. Andrew
proposed to her in late 1991 at Perryville, Ky., Civil War battlefield,
and in 1992 they were married in a Civil War-style wedding at Gettysburg,
As a kid, I always loved the movie Gone With the Wind,
and a high school friend got me into re-enacting, said Pam, now
a 39-year-old dance school owner and instructor in Scottsburg. Through
re-enacting, I enjoy teaching history to the public because so many
things you see on TV are not authentic. This is like stepping back in
The vintage baseball game will be played on Friday for the students
and again on Saturday for the public on the Lanier lawn.
Jeff Kuehl, an actor and storyteller from Greensburg, Ind., will spin
yarns of politics and folklore of the day. Kuehls stories will
be told every hour.
The Afternoon Tea will begin at 12:30 p.m. Saturday with a private tour
of the mansion. Tea will be served at 1:30 p.m. on the portico. Tickets
are $10, and reservations must be made by May 14 because seating is
limited. Tickets are available now at the mansion and will be sold on
a first come, first serve basis, according to Melanie Maxwell, the mansions
This 19th century tradition will be catered by Veranda Catering of Madison
and include finger sandwiches, desserts, including scones, and three
types of tea. Myra Dworski of Indianapolis will play the lap dulcimer
and Kuehl will entertain with his stories.
Betty Copeland of Canaan, Ind., will serve as the hostess. Both men
and women are invited.
On Saturday evening, many of the re-enactors and visitors are invited
to the Lanier Ball, which will be held on the mansions north lawn
from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $10 and period dress is not required.
The ball includes refreshments and music by Sleepy Holler of Indianapolis.
Dancing will begin with beginner level reels and set dances, and progress
to advanced levels throughout the evening. Caller Suzanne LaBeaux of
Indianapolis will direct the dancing.
The ball will be a lot of fun, and it will give our re-enactors
something to do on Saturday night during their stay in Madison,
Maxwell said. Plus, it will give visitors a reason to stay overnight.
Located at 511 W. First St., the Lanier Mansion is the former home of
James F. D. Lanier, a lawyer, businessman and financier who is credited
with helping to bring the railroad to Madison. The Greek Revival-style
mansion sits majestically along the Ohio River and is owned and operated
by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Museum and
Historic Sites. Free tours of the mansion are conducted throughout the
spring, summer and fall. Donations are accepted.
Story on Lanier-Madison
For more information about Lanier Mansion or
the Lanier Days celebration, call (812) 265-3526. Lodging packages with
local hotels and bed and breakfasts also are available.
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