|Indiana's Fascinating Museums - Southeast Edition|
Jefferson County and Madison
The Indiana Territorial Legislature formed Jefferson County on November 23, 1810, making it one of the oldest counties in Indiana. The county's name derives from the second President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. Surveyors platted the county seat on April 1, 1809, naming it Madison, after the Father of the Constitution, James Madison. The first land sales took place in May 1808 and the first lots sold in 1811. Settlement in the new area went quickly after this.
Incorporation and Growth
Madison incorporated in 1809, seven years before Indiana became a state. Its location along the Ohio River caused it to become an important town in the early state's history. The state's first major highway was the Michigan Road, commissioned in 1828. Construction began that year and the road was completed in 1834. The Michigan Road, later to become State Road 29, ran from Madison, Indiana to Michigan City on Lake Michigan in the north, passing through Indianapolis. US 421 today follows the route, though sections of the original road still exist. In 1836 the Madison & Indianapolis Railroad was completed, connecting the growing city with the new state capital. Therefore, by the 1840's, Madison was connected to the northern part of the state by road and rail. Jefferson County Historical Society Museum
1895 Vintage Railroad Station
This gem is located between the museum and the Lanier Mansion. Admission to the museum includes a visit to the passenger depot. Inside the depot, visitors can see the station much as it appeared in 1895 when residents and visitors used the train to travel around the state and country. The highlight of the station is a train layout/diorama depicting Madison and the famous Incline and Cut.
On the far end of the museum grounds visitors can see what the inside of a caboose was like. Museum staff will, on request, provide a short guided tour of the inside.
Jefferson County Historical Society
615 W. First St.
Madison, Indiana 47250
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