With its hand-painted ceilings, carved staircase, marble fireplaces and elaborate plasterwork, the Culbertson Mansion reflects the affluence of a man once considered to be the wealthiest in Indiana. In 1867, William S. Culbertson spent about $120,000 to build his grand home in New Albany.
The three-story, Second-Empire mansion encompasses more than 20,000 square feet and contains 25 rooms. The facade, east elevation and west elevation all feature semi-circular bays, allowing plenty of light into the rooms. Built by brothers William and James Banes, it was one of the most striking homes on Main Street.
No expense was spared in decorating the interior of the home. The family hired artists to paint the designs on the walls, ceilings and cornices of the first and second floors. Artists used the technique of trompe l’oiel in several rooms to mimic paneling, molding or other textured surfaces. Special tools were used to create the look of wood graining. Many of the floors were hand-painted with this “faux bois” graining. Other rooms were covered with wall-to-wall carpets.William Culbertson moved to Indiana seeking a new life and eventually became one of the richest men in the state and a renowned philanthropist. His mansion stands as an example of the tastes, ideals and lifestyles of people during the late 1800's. Culbertson Mansion State Historic Site is located in New Albany, Indiana by the Ohio River. It was the home of William Culbertson, who was once the richest man in Indiana.
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