I went to Kokomo Indiana’s Seiberling Mansion, known as the best example of the worst architecture. The Seiberling Mansion blends neo It’s a funky, curious mix and suggests an era and family that favored whimsy and imagination as well as comfort and luxury. Arthur LaBelle designed the house for Monroe Seiberling, a prominent and wealthy industrialist, who made a fortune in natural gas, the mansion is a combination of Neo-Jacobean and Romanesque architecture.
The Seiberling family just lived her for a few years. The mansion then was home till the 1940s before University of Indiana used it as a branch campus putting up chalkboards and moving in desks, chairs and university posters.
When the university moved to a larger facility, the mansion was left to deteriorate. Vandals took over and trashed the place. In 1972 the mansion was turned over to the county, which restored its glory and turned it into a museum.
Some interesting features include the brass hinges and door plates with Moorish embellishments, the gas fireplaces, the parquet floors of maple, oak and walnut. Admission is $4 for adults and $1 for children age 3 -12. They have two different scavenger hunts for children and a pretty good video explaining the mansion’s history. The docents on hand are welcoming and knowledgeable.
We were able to join the noon time gallery talk which greatly enhanced the experience. I learned about this wise yet ruthless ruler, who presided over the largest country at it’s zenith in terms of wealth and power. (Who knows what the future will bring?)
I also learned about the symbolism like the three friends of winter (bamboo, pine and plum trees) and how the Chinese painters learned to do trompe l’oeil from the Jesuits who went to China in the 18th Century. The gallery itself had life size photos on the walls of the gardens and buildings in which the articles were kept so that you really felt you were in the Forbidden Palace.
I wish I could have taken some photos, but that’s forbidden.