Madison County Historical Society headquarters, Cottage Lawn, is located in Oneida, NY. Construction of Cottage Lawn began in the fall of 1849 and was completed in the fall of 1850. The house is brick masonry with a stucco façade with a board and batten carriage barn. Alexander Jackson Davis was commissioned by Eliza Higinbotham, wife of Niles Higinbotham, to design their Gothic-Revival residence. Niles Higinbotham’s father Sands is known as the founder of Oneida. The Higinbotham family occupied the home until the 1930s, when Louise Higinbotham, Niles and Eliza’s second daughter bequeathed her families home to the Madison County Historical Society (MCHS). Both Higinbotham daughters, Louise and Lily and Mrs. Higinbotham were members of MCHS. On June 15, 1934 the MCHS officially opened to the public. In 1984, the MCHS was placed on the State and National Register of Historic Places for its outstanding Gothic Revival Architecture.
The museum features both Higinbotham furnishings and Madison County artifacts. The house is furnished in the style of the Victorian Era. There are two parlors, a formal dining room, library/trophy room, kitchen with butler’s pantry, vault, children’s room, grandmother’s room, and an exhibit room with changing exhibits. A servant’s room will soon be an interpreted room.
An exhibit on hop culture in Madison County is available in the barn to visitors in the summer.
Tours of the house are available Monday—Friday, 10 am—4 pm and by appointment. Closed all major holidays. Please call ahead to schedule a tour. Tours are $5 per person and free to MCHS members and children 12 and under.