A miniature of the home of President Benjamin Harrison sits in the Indiana Statehouse Rotunda, where it will be displayed through August to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the start of the house’s construction in 1874. (Photo/Hannah Johnson at

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By Staff Report

June 13, 2024

There was a familiar face next to the unveiling of a miniature of the President Benjamin Harrison home on Wednesday at the Indiana Statehouse Rotunda, where it will be displayed through August in time to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the start of the house’s construction in 1874.

Alongside the 1/12-scale reconstruction of the house, complete with 48,000 hand-lain bricks and a real slate roof, was Charles Braun, the official reenactor for President Benjamin Harrison himself.

For years, Braun has impersonated the 23rd U.S. president, which all started after a conversation with the official actor for Caroline Harrison, Benjamin Harrison’s wife and first lady.

“I was giving a speech to the Daughters of the American Revolution assembly at the Caroline Harrison chapter here in Indianapolis,” said Braun. “And I was approached years ago by the person who was reenacting Caroline Harrison. And she jokingly said, ‘I would like for you to be my husband’ because the current reenactor for President Harrison was retiring and they needed a replacement.

“And I accepted the challenge, and the rest is history, so to speak.”

Benjamin Harrison impersonator
Indianapolis attorney Charles Braun has impersonated President Benjamin Harrison for many years. (Photo/Averi Phelps at

The reenactor’s job was a long time coming, dating back to his love of history as a child.

“I’ve always had a passion for American history as well as world history, and presidential history especially,” he said. “When I was in early grade school, memorizing the ABCs as a young child, I decided to take it upon myself to memorize the presidents of the United States in chronological order. Not because someone suggested it or wanted me to do that, I just did it on my own.”

Ever since then, Braun performs at events year round at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site and at historical societies in Indiana and Ohio.

“It’s amazing as I do this, and I’ve been doing it for a number of years now, many people will come up to me and say, ‘You look just like Benjamin Harrison, the similarities are amazing,'” Braun said. “In fact, one person during a tour looked at an actual portrait of Benjamin Harrison himself, and she said, ‘That’s a painting of you, isn’t it, and not of Benjamin Harrison.’ And I said, ‘No, this an actual painting of Benjamin Harrison, not me.'”

Braun and Harrison have more in common than just looks. Both of them have a long history in the law.

“[Harrison] has quite a career as a lawyer, and he did many things. Some say he’s the greatest president lawyer in our country’s history, arguing cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and a full-time practicing attorney,” Braun said. “He was the elected city attorney here in the city of Indianapolis, a U.S. senator from Indiana, and he had a very, very impressive public career here in Indiana before becoming president.”

Braun, meanwhile attended Indiana University School of Law and started “Legally Speaking” on WICR 88.7, where listeners can call in for legal advice. At 41 years, it’s Americas longest-running radio show about the law, according to Braun.

“My almost 47-year law career has been devoted to public service, and many of those attributes were certainly part of President Benjamin Harrison’s personality,” said Braun. “And the more I study the life of President Harrison, the more I see his spirit and my spirit on so many different angles and fronts to be very similar, and I’m most proud to be the official reenactor for Indiana’s only president.”

Mini Harrison House hits the road

The dimly lit rotunda of the Indiana Statehouse buzzed with anticipation Wednesday, but this time, it was for something a bit different from the day’s politics.

In the distance, a miniature model of President Benjamin Harrison’s former home sat, waiting to be uncovered.

The creator of the model is a resident of Greenfield who has spent 20 years of his life building things. After visiting Harrison’s home years ago, then more recently running low on ideas of what to build, Landers was inspired to create something extraordinary.

“Someone mentioned to me, ‘Why don’t you build the president’s house?’” said Landers. “And I said, ‘Yep, why not?’ So I did.”

artist with mini Harrison home
Greenfield resident Jimmy Landers created the painstaking 1/12 miniature of Pres. Benjamin Harrison’s Indianapolis home. After its display in the Indiana Statehouse, it will greet returning Hoosiers at the Indianapolis airport. (Photo/Averi Phelps at

While the idea was sparked by someone else, the rest stemmed from his own pure enjoyment of building.

“It’s got 48,000 bricks, real bricks, 4,000 slate shingles, and it’s pretty well spot-on to the house,” he said.

The “bigature,” as it was billed, took a year to make, but his hard work paid off as his project began to gain some notice. When asked to display his work in the Statehouse, Landers was in awe.

 “I’m flabbergasted. It blew my mind,” he said. “ I had no intention of it ever getting in any public news, when in fact, we didn’t know what we were going to do with it for a while.”

That’s not a problem now. The public, friends and family including his daughter and wife, and staff gathered Wednesday morning for the unveiling at the Statehouse, where it will be on display in June and July. Then it will move to a lobby of the Indianapolis International Airport until December.


Arianna Hunt, Averi Phelps, Mia Frankenfield and Hannah Johnson are reporters for, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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