Madison, Indiana: History and Highlights

“Madison, Indiana: History and Highlights,” published by the Madison Chamber of Commerce in 1953, offers an account of one of Indiana’s oldest and most historically significant cities. Known for its rich history and scenic beauty, Madison’s establishment dates back to 1808, with the first white man’s cabin being built around May 30 of that year. The town was officially laid out in 1810 by Jonathan Lyon, John Paul, and Lewis Davis, and it experienced rapid growth due to its strategic location on the Ohio River, directly across from Kentucky.

Incorporated as a town in 1824 and as a city in 1838, Madison quickly became a bustling hub of commerce and industry. By the mid-19th century, it was a vital gateway for the settlement of the Northwest Territory, bolstered by the construction of the first railroad west of the Allegheny Mountains, connecting Madison to Indianapolis. This railroad facilitated Madison’s prominence as a major pork-packing center, second only to Chicago at the time.

The city also boasts a vibrant cultural heritage. Notable events include a concert by the famous singer Jenny Lind in 1851, performed in a local pork house. Madison’s commitment to culture and education is further exemplified by its early establishment of newspapers, with the “Western Eagle” being the second newspaper published in Indiana Territory.

Madison’s early industries were diverse, including shipyards, starch factories, furniture factories, sawmills, and breweries. The city’s iron foundries were renowned, producing ironwork that was shipped as far as New Orleans. The Schroeder Saddletree Company, established in 1850, remains a testament to Madison’s industrial legacy, producing saddletrees used in various wars.

The historical significance of Madison is also reflected in its architecture. The Lanier Mansion, designed by Francis Costigan in 1844, and the Shrewsbury House, also designed by Costigan in 1846, are notable examples of the city’s architectural heritage. These buildings, along with others such as the Sullivan House and the Jefferson County Courthouse, highlight Madison’s rich architectural and historical landscape.

Table of Contents

  • Madison, Indiana
  • Early Industries
  • Iron Work
  • Early Pork Packing Business
  • Jenny Lind Concert
  • Saddletree Factory
  • Newspapers
  • Ye Old Bastille
  • Personalities
  • Old Sullivan Home
  • Birth Place Indiana Grand Lodge of Masons
  • Site of First House
  • Old Stone House
  • Christ Episcopal Church
  • St. Michael’s Church
  • Clifty Park
  • Broadway Fountain
  • Middleton Park
  • Historical Museum
  • Crucifix in Saint Patricks’ Cemetery – North Madison
  • The Railroad Cuts
  • The Elutherian College
  • The Madison-Jefferson County Public Library
  • Jefferson County Courthouse
  • Market Houses
  • Hanover College
  • Madison Today (1953)
  • Tobacco Markey
  • I-K-E Electric Plant
  • List of Madison Industries


Madison Chamber of Commerce, Madison, Indiana History and Highlights, Madison, Indiana : Chamber of Commerce, 1953.


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