Lanier Days

Civil War era weekend
returns to mansion grounds

Staff Report

(June 2007) – Hear thundering cannons, meet Mary Todd Lincoln, listen to fascinating stories, participate in children’s activities, enjoy a Victorian Tea, have your photo taken in 19th century garb and view a display of Civil War weapons at this year’s Lanier Days.
Held on the grounds of the Lanier Mansion the weekend of June 16-17, this annual event highlights the life and culture of early-Victorian Madison, Ind. Hours for the event are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

Lanier Days Pic

Stephen Collins Foster was America’s first great composer. At noon and 2 p.m. on Saturday, the Stephen Foster Singers will perform concerts dressed in period costumes featuring old favorites such as “Oh! Susanna,” “My Old Kentucky Home” and “Camptown Races.
In addition to performing famous tunes, they will explain the history and relevance of the songs to audiences of our time. Visitors are welcome to bring their portable chairs or blankets to sit and listen to these popular songs.
Several re-enactor groups including the 32nd Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry, Co. G; the 5th Virginia, Co. D; and the 1st Wisconsin Artillery, have agreed to participate in the event.
Besides the encampment, the re-enactors will fire artillery on the hour, present cooking demonstrations, conduct military boot camps for children and hold mock battles on both days of the event. On Sunday, they will also hold a memorial ceremony at the Jefferson County Civil War Roundtable’s Civil War Memorial located on the visitor center plaza.
Family activities include Victorian stories told by Shonica Hartless of the Madison-Jefferson County Public Library from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday and noon to 2 p.m. Sunday; children’s crafts from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday; and performances by Common Stock Entertainers from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
As itinerant entertainers Jack Milgrew & Maddie Bliss, Pat Richardson and Becky McKay wander through the grounds of the Lanier Mansion, engaging passersby with greetings, jests and songs. Drawing upon collections of period music, gazettes, almanacs and their own good humor, they transport the audience into the world of Street and County Fairs through the ages.
On Saturday, Donna McCreary of Charlestown, Ind., will present two programs related to Mary Todd Lincoln at the Lanier-Madison Visitor Center. At 11 a.m. she will present a power-point presentation on her new book, “Fashionable First Lady: The Victorian Wardrobe of Mary Todd Lincoln.” She will hold a book signing after the presentation. At 3 p.m. she will portray Mrs. Lincoln in period costume for a program she calls “Love is Eternal Mrs. Lincoln.”
Three talks related to Indiana’s past will be presented during the event. At 10 a.m. Saturday, Dorothy Jones will present a talk on Emily Todd Helms, the half-sister of Mary Todd Lincoln who lived in Madison for a time after the Civil War; Wayne Sanford will give a talk titled, “Mr. Lanier and the Madison Railroad” at 1 p.m. on Sunday; and John Etter will talk about his recently published book, “The Indiana Legion: A Civil War Militia,” at 11 a.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.
Bob Hartsaw will be on the grounds to take tintype photographs of visitors in period clothing for a fee. He uses the same photographic process that photographers used during the Civil War.
A Victorian Tea will be held on the South Portico of the Lanier Mansion at 3 p.m. Sunday. Susan Walters will present a program, “Victorian Parlor Games and Victorian Secrets,” during the tea. Reservations must be made for the tea for $15 per person (includes admission to event). Reservations will be limited to 26 people. Call (812) 273-0556.
Admission for the event is $3 per student (age 4-18) and for adults without children. Adults with children are free (limit of two adults per student).
Supporting sponsors for the event are McDonald’s and the Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art. This program has been made possible through a matching grant from the Indiana Humanities Council in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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