Surrounded by Sprawl
Located on a hillside overlooking the Ohio River in Lawrenceburg, the c.1860 Daniel S. Major House was built to be admired, with bracketed eaves, half-round windows, hood moldings, and bay windows that gave rise to the home’s nickname, “Twin Bays.” Designed by Cincinnati-based architecture firm Hamilton and Rankin, the property is one of the best examples of high-style Italianate architecture in the area. Today, the home is for sale, but preservation advocates worry about the unique property’s future.
Daniel S. Major was a prominent lawyer, real estate speculator, and businessman in Lawrenceburg, one of Indiana’s earliest towns. Around 1860, he moved his family to a new, high-style home in the country. Cincinnati architects Hamilton & Rankin created Major’s fashionable Italianate mansion and sited it to impress passersby and offer the family a commanding view of the Ohio River. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Twin Bays has undergone remarkably little change since its Civil War-era construction.
Unfortunately, sprawl along US 50 at the west edge of Lawrenceburg wiped out Twin Bay’s historic neighbors, and the elegant house is an anomaly. The house stands on a 19-acre estate shaded by walnut and mimosa trees—a tranquil oasis. However, the house’s location makes it a potential target for demolition, a fate that landed Twin Bays on our 10 Most Endangered list in 2008.
Inside, the house retains many original features—rich moldings, intricate fireplace mantels, a grand staircase, high ceilings—giving it the feel of an Italian villa.
The house needs a new roof, gutter repair, and some tuck-pointing, but is otherwise in solid condition. Inside, the home features period-inspired décor in rooms with lofty ceilings and original fireplace mantels. Listed for $499,000, the property, includes a large outbuilding used as horse stables by the previous owner.
For more information, see the property listing or contact realtor Joan Lane, Coldwell Banker West Shell, at 513-325-8547. Or contact Jarrad Holbrook, director of Indiana Landmarks’ Southeast Field Office, 812-926-0983, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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