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Architectural historians consider the Francis Costigan House, at 408 West Third Street, a masterpiece of nineteenth century design. The house is situated on a narrow city lot measuring only 22 feet wide in the Historic District.
Costigan built this house in 1850 as his private residence. The brick two-story house is Greek Revival in style and has a portico with two fluted columns capped with Corinthian capitals. The portico is heavily adorned and includes a sliding pocket door entry. The interior of the house has a magnificent drawing room thirty feet long with bow end, twin fireplaces, and a ceiling with deeply depressed panels, heavily ornamented with egg-and-dart moldings.
The house also features Costigan’s characteristically fine woodwork, including curved doors and an interesting stepladder staircase with a push gate. This creative use of space reflects Costigan’s skill and ingenuity as an architect to create such an elegant house in a limited space.
Born in Washington D.C. in 1810, Costigan spent his formative years in Baltimore. In 1835 when he was 25 years old, the Baltimore directory lists him as a “Carpenter and Builder.” He was in Madison by 1837 and was the architect and builder of the residences of James F. D. Lanier ( built between 1840-1844) and the Charles Shrewsbury (built between 1846-1849) now both are National Historic Landmark Properties. Costigan designed other homes in Madison as well as St. Michael the Archangel Church and the Madison Hotel, which was razed in 1949.) Costigan eventually moved to Indianapolis, Indiana where he designed and built several commercial and residential buildings. None survive. He died in Indianapolis on April 18, 1865. He is buried in Crown Hill cemetery.
According to Roger Kennedy, former Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, “The Francis Costigan House is a prime candidate for the finest surviving Greek Revival townhouse in America; miracles of space planning on a tiny lot.”
For details on touring this site view: http://historicmadisoninc.com/toursrentals/
View the latest short movie version of this site – thanks to WKM News- Madison, IN. https://wkmnews.com/francis-costigan-house/