It is not generally known, but the Shrewsbury House, at 301 West First Street, has more to recommend it than the J.F.D. Lanier home, Madison's "Tai Mahal", it will rival the Lanier home in splendor.
The spiral staircase in the Shrewsbury house - undoubtedly Costigan's greatest achievement - is free standing and self supporting while the Lanier staircase is cantilevered into a side wall. The original design was from Minard Lafever's "Modern Practice of Staircase and Handrail Construction.' The novel staircase is used, now as then, as an air conditioner, hot air rising to the top of the staircase.
The Shrewsbury House is built of hand polished brick as compared with local brick used in the Lanier home. Shrewsbury's hip roof was once surrounded by a wrought iron balustrade (long since removed). By design the Shrewsbury House has two main entrances. The First Street entrance has a 12 foot tall door in a recessed entrance from Lafever's "Beauties of Modern Architecture.' The wrought iron fence is from a design by Asher Benjamin. Wrought iron balconies have a pattern of palmetto, anthemion and honeysuckle (a wry reference to Shrewsbury's Palmetto Mills?). Capitals on the columns supporting the garden portico come from the bud of the Egyptian Lotus. Window lintels are decorated with anthemion acroterions at the peak and at extreme corner angles with a half anthemion. The first floor rooms are divided by columns, a favorite of Costigan, but in the Shrewsbury house they are surmounted by capitals of unusual nature. There is much more to be said about the Shrewsbury house, but it is best said by the man who lived in it for many years. A very complete description is to be found in 'The Early Architecture of Madison, Indiana", by John Windle and Robert M. Taylor, Jr. (ISBN 0-87195-004-9) - $29.95 at bookstores. John and Ann Windle made that house their home for many years.