William S. Culbertson was once considered the wealthiest man in Indiana. He was born in New Market, Pennsylvania in 1814, but left at age 21 to seek his fortune. He settled in New Albany, Indiana and by age 46 had become a prosperous independent businessman.
Twice a widower, he married for the third time at age 70. At the time of his death in 1892, he had a net worth of 3.5 million dollars. In today’s economy that would equal about $61 million.
In 1867, he spent about $120,000 to build his mansion in New Albany. The three-story French Second-Empire Mansion contains 25 rooms with more than 20,000 square feet of space. The house includes hand-painted ceilings, a carved rosewood staircase, marble fireplaces, and crystal chandeliers.
In 1976, the mansion became an official state historic site. Visitors today may view the dining rooms, bedrooms, kitchen, laundry room, and grand parlors of the mansion to glimpse the lifestyle of Victorian fortune-makers and their servant staffs.