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The Lanier Mansion was given to the JCHS in 1917. The sign over the door says "Lanier Memorial Museum."  Picture was taken ca. 1925.





The former Colby House became the Lanier Memorial Museum and opened in 1927.  Picture was taken ca. 1920 when it was still the Colonial Inn.

About the Jefferson County Historical Society

The Jefferson County Historical Society is housed within the History Center campus at the corner of First and Mill Streets. Within the main building, the vintage railroad station and the caboose, there is more than 10,000 square feet under roof. Included in that is an excellent museum, a library with storage for archival material, storage for artifacts, a 1,600 square foot room available for meetings, social events and educational programs, a kitchenette, space for the Southern Indiana Folk School, a small museum store and office space for staff.  It is a thriving organization in a well-run facility with a myriad of programs for both students and adults.  However, it was not always that way.  The society, throughout its long history, has had its fits and starts and has moved to and from a variety of locations before finally establishing itself as a significant organization for preserving local history and educating the public about the heritage of Jefferson County.

The following is a brief timeline of the history of the Jefferson County Historical Society,

January 1850 - The State of Indiana approved the incorporation of the Jefferson County Historical Society based on an application submitted by Milton Stapp, William G. Wharton, Col. C. P .J. Arion, D. D. Jones and Michael C. Garber.

January 1917 - At a meeting at the court house 23 people gathered to discuss the reorganization of the JCHS. As stated by the chair, "the pupose of the meeting was to organize a society that would have for its aim the collection and preservation of data pertaining to the history of the county, its pioneers, industries, educational and social matters."

April 1917 - Charles Lanier deeded the Lanier Mansion to the Jefferson County Historical Society, and it became known as the Lanier Memorial Museum.

May 1925 - The JCHS deeded the Lanier Mansion to the State of Indiana, which started to renovate the property.

August 1926 - The JCHS changed its name to the Lanier Memorial Museum Society.

January 1927 - Charles Lanier donated the Colby House/Colonial Inn located across the street from the Lanier Mansion to the LMMS to be used as a meeting place and museum.

January 1928 - The name Lanier Memorial Museum Society reverted back to Jefferson County Historical Society. A reception was held for the opening of the new Lanier Memorial Museum.

June 1934 - JCHS moved to the former garage/carriage house on Elm Street behind the county library.

1986 - The JCHS purchased the vintage 1895 railroad station near the corner of First and Mill Streets.

October 1991 - Ground breaking ceremony was held for the new County Museum of History located near the railroad station for the new County Museum of History located near the railroad station.

September 1998 - The ground breaking ceremony for the 8,000 square foot addition to the museum was held. The addition brought the History Center campus to its present size.


From 1934 into the 1980's with some breaks along the way, the JCHS and museum were housed in the carriage house behind the county library.  This picture is a modern oblique courtesy of Bing Maps.





The present-day History Center Campus.