Things to see in Madison, Indiana
Aug. 3-5, we were in Madison, IN, for a family reunion at Clifty Falls State Park. There is a lodge in the park, along with trails for hikers ranging from easy to rugged, deeply cut gorges, sheer rock walls, plunging waterfalls, ample wildlife, and a nature center with seasonal programs.
We have friends who live in Madison, and a few years ago while visiting with them we toured the Lanier Mansion State Historic Site, the restored 1844 Greek revival residence of James F. D. Lanier, one of Indiana’s most important nineteenth century citizens.
There are several other sites of historical importance in Madison which we have not taken the time to see but which sound quite interesting and would make a great day field trip.
1. The Madison Visitors Center, 601 W. First St. (812-265-2956, www.visitmadison.org), provides local, regional, and state information, with a ten-minute video presentation on Madison and local souvenirs.
2. The Jefferson County Historical Society Heritage Center, 615 W. First St. (812-265-2335, www.jchshc.org), has permanent and changing exhibits devoted to the history of southern Indiana and the mid Ohio Valley with emphasis on the Civil War, steam boating, and early Scots immigrants.
3, The Madison Railroad Station, 615 W. First St. (same info as Jefferson County Historical Society), was opened in 1895 and noted for its Octagonal Waiting Room surmounted by stained glass windows. It is filled with artifacts and displays devoted to railroad history.
4. Dr. William Hutchings’ Office and Hospital, 120 W. Third St. (812-265-2967, www.historicmadisoninc.com), is the late nineteenth century office and hospital of a horse-and-buggy doctor containing most of the original equipment and family furnishings.
5. African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, 309 E. Fifth St. (same info as Dr. Hutchings’ Office), built in 1850 by the city’s early free African American community, is one of the oldest buildings of its kind in the U.S., commemorating Madison’s important Underground Railroad heritage.
6. Francis Costigan House, 408 W. Third St. (same info as Dr. Hutchings’ Office), a freshly restored Greek revival townhouse,was built by Francis Costigan, Madison’s most premier architect and master builder, for his family and displays grand nineteenth century styles.
7. Schroeder Saddletree Factory Museum, 106 Milton St. (same info as Dr. Hutchings’ Office), is America’s only restored nineteenth century saddletree factory. You can see antique powered machines spin into action showing how the Schroeder family made saddle frames, clothespins, and other products.
8. Historic Eleutherian College, 6927 W. State Rd. 250 (812-273-9434, www.eleutherian.us), is a pre-Civil War site, educating all races and genders, established by abolitionists, and a National Designated Underground Railroad Site.
9. Jeremiah Sullivan House, 304 W. Second St. (same info as Dr. Hutchings’ Office), was built in 1818 and is considered Madison’s first mansion. This stately Federal style structure was home to one of Madison’s most distinguished leaders whose family lived in the home for over seventy years.
10. Schofield House, 217 W. Second St. (812-265-4759) was built around 1816 in the Federal style and is believed to be the first two-story tavern house in Madison. It is maintained by the Indiana Masonic Lodge.
11. In nearby Hanover is Hanover College (812-866-7000, www.hanover.edu) , founded in 1827. It is the oldest four-year college in Indiana and has a Science Center with displays which include colorful minerals, rare and unusual fossils, art and cultural exhibits, a butterfly collection, and more.