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
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
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
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.