History, Preservation, Road trips

The Fairmount House

Fairmount House sign

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.

Fairmount House

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.

Fairmount House

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.

Fairmount House

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.

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11 thoughts on “The Fairmount House

  1. jenn mikesell says:

    I love your stories… that home reeks of happy family times. you can almost see children running in the yard and imagine that old dirt road.

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  2. Jenn, thanks for always saying such nice things about my blog! The owner of the house did marry, in 1867, but I never found out if he had kids.

    Ryan, the stone wall is pretty cool. Click through any one of the photos to get to my Flickr space; I have at least one more photo of the stone wall there.

    I’ve noticed driving some of Indiana’s oldest highways that you see a fair number of steps at the edge of the road but no path to the door anymore!

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  3. thanks! i saw the photo with the drive way and stone wall. today i was able to get a few more photographs of the bank, and i added one to my blog, and a few others can be seen on flickr.

    i should have ventured inside!

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  4. tina says:

    The house is pretty inside and outside , I had and opportunity to visit/live in this house and believe me this is the on I would love to own it. You can feel the love. Owner are taking care of the house no doubt abut it. There is also swimming pool pretty cool , and pond with gold fishes ,so many good memories .

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  5. Janie Hines Buchanan says:

    My parents owned Fairmount for 13 wonderful years. I was 15 when we moved there and lived at Fairmount House until I got married. I loved your pictures of the house and reading about the history of the house and Michigan Road. I sent you a message on FB and I posted resent pictures of the home and 4 of my grandchildren getting the tour of where their grandmother used to live on my FB page for you to view. I also posted a picture of my husband and I on a recent visit to home. We were invited to a little get together there.

    My hobby is photography .

    I would like to read your blogs when they appear on this site. Add me,please.

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    • Hi Janie – how wonderful to get to live in this house! If you’d like to get my blog in your email, go up to the top of the page and look for the Follow link. It’s under the “Down the Road” masthead. Click the link and follow the directions on the page that opens.

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