The Michigan Road begins in Madison with winding Michigan Hill and its Ohio River view and weeping limestone wall. The Fairmount House overlooks it all from the hill’s crest.
Completed in 1872 by Aurelius H. Gibson, who made a fortune in barrel staves and lumber, this home is said to be filled with all the woods to which he had access. Architect George Rand designed it in the mid-Victorian style with Aesthetic elements, and Gibson is said to have filled it with furnishings with typical Aesthetic excesses.
When this house was built, the Michigan Road was but a dirt path. It is easy to imagine callers walking or riding up Michigan Hill, passing through this gate, and walking up the steps and along the now-missing path to the home’s door. Today, only motor vehicles climb Michigan Hill. Someone on a motorbike stopped me after I took this photo to tell me he was sure I was going to get killed standing out on the road. He had a point. The road is narrow and shoulderless here, and drivers can’t see around the curves. And so this gate’s useful days are long past.
Since the house is above street level and the property is wooded, it was challenging to get a good close shot of the house without trespassing. I wouldn’t mind seeing the house and its grounds up close, though. It has seven bedrooms, three and a half baths, a greenhouse, a pool, a guest house, a carriage house, a large garden, and some lovely views of the Ohio River.