Free-standing scaffolding lines the more than 60-foot high walls of the Culbertson Mansion, as the state historic site is undergoing a sizable restoration project.

Work began about a week ago to replace the roof of the mansion. It’s the first time the entire roof of the structure has been replaced since the home was constructed in 1869.

Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites is funding the project for an undisclosed amount.

“This is one of the largest investments in the past couple of years for the Culbertson Mansion,” said Culbertson Mansion State Historical Site Manager Jessica Stavros.

“We’re happy that they believe in the house enough to make such solid investments.”

Located at 914 E. Main St., the mansion is the former home of William Culbertson, who at one time was the richest man in Indiana.

The scaffolding is intimidating, and the Main Street improvement project has also caused some traffic woes near the mansion, but the site remains open for business.

The roof work is expected to wrap up by the end of the summer.

“It is a very difficult job because it’s a state historic site,” Stavros said.

The house is protected in many ways, one of which is contractors aren’t allowed to attach equipment to the structure, she explained.

“So the scaffolding all has to be free standing,” Stavros said.

Workers have discovered nuances about the original construction of the roof while removing shingles that were placed 145 years ago.

The lumber used for the roof was different sizes and lengths, and the grooves of the wood suggest it was probably milled on site, Stavros said.

Some of the pieces of the original roof will be commemorated in the Culbertson Mansion, and may be sold in the gift shop so that people can take home a piece of history, she said.

The roof work and road construction will not hamper the planned funeral-murder mystery dinners scheduled at the Culbertson Mansion this weekend.

The end of June marks the anniversary of Culbertson’s funeral, and guests will be treated to a murder mystery at the mansion. The dinners will be held at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and tickets are $20 per person or $35 per couple.

Contact the mansion to purchase tickets at 812-944-9600.

The mansion is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday for tours, and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

As of July 1, admission will be $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $2 for children.


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