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The Henry S. Lane House, a historical remnant of Indiana's antebellum era, is now a museum that houses the Montgomery County Historical Society. On the grounds is the mansion, as well as a small log cabin that was part of the home of the Speeds, an abolitionist family. The MCHS offers educational programs from its base at the mansion and preserves both of the structures that are on its premises. The Lane House is open for tours from March 1 to November 25, but tours can be arranged by appointment during the off-season.


A portion of the Lane House was built as a small cottage in 1831 by Issac and Maria Elston.  When Henry S. Lane, then a young lawyer, married Joanna Elston, daughter of the Elstons, in 1845, he bought the cottage and added on to it, turning it into the Greek Revival mansion that you see today.  A year later he formed a voluntary militia to fight in the Mexican War, even though he opposed the war.  However, he and his group of volunteers spent ten months in Mexico and saw no combat.  Lane went on to serve in the Indiana legislature and the House of Representatives, becoming known for giving his support to another Midwestern politician, Abraham Lincoln.  In 1860, Lane was elected Governor of Indiana, but became a U.S. Senator a year later when the Civil War started.  He served as a senator until 1867, when he retired and returned to his mansion in Crawfordsville.

The nearby little log cabin, known as the Speed Cabin, it much humbler in size and appearance, but has just as significant of a history.  The cabin was built in Crawfordsville in 1834 by John Allen Speed, a Scottish immigrant, for his wife and their children.  Speed was a stonecutter that had traveled for work from Scotland to Norfolk, Washington D.C., and, finally, Indiana.  He found prosperity in Indiana and, after gaining success as a marble dealer, was elected mayor of Crawfordsville.  The Speeds, a radical Whig political family, were an influential part of the town's abolitionist circle and were conductors for the Underground Railroad.

In the 1930s both the Henry S. Lane House and the Speed Cabin were turned into museum, and the Lane mansion was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.  The mansion has been restored to its original pre-Civil War look and, according to the Montgomery County Historical Society, ninety-five percent of the furnishings in the house belonged to the Lanes.  Along with being the home of the county's historical society, the mansion is also home to the Strawberry Festival, which is held in early June.  There is also a gift shop that is run by the Montgomery County Historical Society at the museum, but items from the shop are available by mail.  

"Senator Henry S. and Joanna Lane." Montgomery County Historical Society. Accessed on July 23, 2016. http://www.lane-mchs.org/page8 "Speed Cabin History." Montgomery County Historical Society. Accessed on July 23, 2016. http://www.lane-mchs.org/page10 "Brief History of the Greek-Revival Home Known as Lane Place." Montgomery County Historical Society. http://www.lane-mchs.org/page2