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After the Civil War Madison found it was no longer an influential and wealthy town. The railroad connected to more direct routes which meant that Madison was no longer needed as a major terminal. Steamboat trade was also diverted from Madison to the more progressive and financially lucrative towns along the river.
Madison remained a good place to live and there was usually enough employment to accommodate the population but she would not progress into a vibrant and modern city.
While other, more progressive cities, were tearing down their “old fashioned” building to modernize, Madison mostly maintained her original structures and cared for them, stretching their lives into the twentieth century.
Slowly people began to realize they had, unintentionally, preserved something very important—history. Under the guidance of Historic Madison, Inc. the town was encouraged to continue to preserve this heritage. It obtained several choice examples of historic importance such as the Sullivan House, Dr. Hutching’s Office and the Saddletree Factory and opened them to the public. It encouraged education and appreciation for our heritage. Soon people began to see the town as a wonderful gift to be guarded and cared for.
In 2007, downtown Madison was designated a National Historic Landmark District. Over 1600 buildings constructed from about 1817 to 1939 situated on 2,000 acres comprises one of the largest Historic Landmark sites in the country. It is virtually an open air museum where people can stroll about and get the feel for life in the long ago. The sleeping little town on the Ohio gets the last laugh. Our “old fashioned” town has achieved national prominence as a premier example of “historical management”.
Internet: Department of the Interior
Our local history-genealogy specialist is
Monday and Wednesday 1-5; Thursday 4-9 and Saturday 9-5. You can ask a question online or by phone at 812-265-2744.
The library wishes to thank the Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County for making this website possible!
The History Rescue Project :: © 2008-2009 by the Jefferson County Public Library. 420 W. Main St., Madison, IN 47250. (812) 265-2744.
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