Madison markers unveiled

Madison markers unveiled


MADISON — City officials were escorted down Main Street in a horse-drawn carriage Tuesday afternoon as historic markers going back to 1840  were unveiled. 

The city is reclaiming its history with 10 historic markers approved by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History to serve as reminders of Madison's past.

To celebrate the history of Madison’s growth from the beginning as a pre-Civil War community, Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler unveiled some of the markers along Main Street while she and other city officials rode in the carriage to represent the city’s roots. 

The ceremony began at the Madison Police Station and proceeded down Main Street.

“Madison has such a rich history, and it is important that we reclaim and recognize these structures for their architectural and historic value for our residents,” Hawkins-Butler said. “We were able to capture it, love on it, preserve it, and have it here for our children to enjoy. What a wonderful community this has been from day one.”

The markers reflect more than 100 years of history from 1840 to 1946, which are significant to Madison’s rise as a tiny railroad stop for strawberry’s eventually to a bustling suburban community.

The last sign unveiled was the Old School Gymnasium, completed in 1936 at the cost of $37,432, with funding from the Public Works Administration during the New Deal era. It is a Mississippi Landmark, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, part of the old Madison-Ridgeland High School behind the Red Caboose.

Mississippi Archives and History Director Emeritus Elbert Hillard of Madison said these markers have been approved by the MDAH Board of Trustees for Madison and reflect the mayor’s continued commitment to preserving and interpreting the city’s history.

“That commitment, as well as the support of the owners of the respective properties that are being marked, sets an example that could well be emulated by every local government throughout our state,” Hillard said. 

“The city of Madison under the 40-year guidance of Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler has incorporated beautification and historic preservation as key elements of its economic and community development plan.”

“In 1960, there were only 700 people in Madison and around 1,100 people in Ridgeland,” Hillard said. “There were no schools in Ridgeland, and the only school we had here was Madison-Ridgeland School and Rosa Scott School. 

“Soon after her initial election, Mayor Mary held citizen meetings to ascertain public input concerning the city’s anticipated growth and requested the Mississippi Department of Archives and History’s assistance in conducting a cultural resource survey of the city that resulted in the entry of the city’s significant historical properties in the National Register of Historic Places.”

Markers along Main Street highlight:

• The history of Madison (1856);

  The Montgomery House (1852);

  The Curran House (1840);

• The first water tower (1946);

  The town mercantile (1890);

• The old Madison-Ridgeland School (1910) 

• Old school gymnasium (1935-1936). 

The markers at the school will be placed later because of ongoing renovations and new construction on the property.

The city’s other markers highlight:

• The Dorroh Street Historic District (1885-1905), which includes the three houses on what is now Madison Avenue just west of Highway 51.

• The Strawberry Patch House (1860) by the park on Old Canton Road.

• The World War II aircraft hangars at Bruce Campbell Field.

The Dorroh Street district sign will be unveiled at a later date as well.

Eight of the signs are located on properties that are designated on the National Register of Historic Places.

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