During the 1840's, Madison emerged as a major rail center in the Ohio Valley. The octagonal railroad building, constructed in 1895, was used as a passenger station until 1935. Exhibits include railroading artifacts on permanent display. Open daily last weekend of April through end of October. Weekdays only, November through late April.
Madison retains many of the original buildings from it's heyday as a river port for southern Indiana. Walk along downtown and see the variety of styles and shops. They range from the 1880's through the 1940's. Most have been restored and are well maintained. Some of the shops have retained their original interiors, metal ceilings and all.
Downtown has many fine little stores. A deluxe chocolate shop may tickle your taste buds. Fine women's clothing, or may be it's the nature shop with it's own natural area in the basement that's more your interest.
Be sure to step off the main streets and walk through the residental neigborhoods. Here you will find older homes. Stunning homes of the well to do and more modest bungaloos of the middle class.
Indiana Historical Bureau: ID#: 39.1992.1
Title: Madison Historic District
Marker Text: Madison Historic District, listed in National Register, 1973, in over 130 blocks contains hundreds of structures of every type, size, and period, 1812-1920, including many outstanding examples of major 19th century architectural styles. Madison is significant in growth of Indiana historic preservation movement.
Credit Line: Erected 1992 by Indiana Historical Bureau and Cornerstone Society, Inc.
Directions: Vaughn Drive & Jefferson Street at Ohio Riverside walk, Madison.
Indiana Historical Bureau: ID#: 39.1963.2
Title: James F. D. Lanier 1800-1881
Marker Text: Rendered his most important public service during the Civil War when he loaned Governor Oliver P. Morton over $400,000 to equip Indiana's troops. He later arranged additional loans to save the credit of the state.
Credit Line: Erected by the Indiana Civil War Centennial Commission, 1963
Directions: 511 First & Elm Streets near Ohio River at Lanier Mansion State Historic Site, Madison.
This is a great park. On a hot summer day, you can walk right up the river. Yes, it's an approved trail. There are falls that you'll have to work at to see and then one that's on a nearly wheel chair compatible trail. It's flat, but not all paved. Be sure to stop at the Inn. Have lunch, dinner, or just take in the view from the patio. There are lots of things to do at Clifty Falls State Park.
Check out my Clifty Falls page at the weblink below or the State Parks website 2nd below.
Clifty Falls State Park
The Bridges over the Ohio are a marvel of construction. As soon as there was a design to span the river, bridges were being built. Today's modern bridges do not carry the same excitement as these early bridges. They were narrow, yet massive is size. Huge cantilever trusses were needed to span the great distances and they had to be high above the water to allow all sizes of boats and barges to pass underneath.
Crossing them is an experience from the twisting approaches needed to fit in the narrow valley to the huge iron overhead. On-coming traffic feels as if it's in your lane. Don't miss the excitement of crossing, even if all you do is turn around on the other side and come right back.
Madison's scenic riverfront park offers a gazebo, brick walkways, lights and benches to view the Ohio River. Also home to several open air festivals, and frequent stops of the American Queen, Delta Queen and Mississippi Queen. Public boat launching facilities are available all year.
Sit down and enjoy a few relaxing moments under the shade of trees listening to the water pouring from the fountain.
The fountain was originally cast in iron and exhibited at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. Purchased by a Madison Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and presented to the City of Madison in 1886. The fountain was recast in bronze as a community Bicentennial project in 1976.
Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1994, this 1844 Greek Revival mansion was designed by architect Francis Costigan for financier and railroad magnate James F.D. Lanier. Recent has recaptured the Mansions 19th century splendor. Guided tours are offered at regular intervals during normal hours of operation. Open Early-April to Mid-December: Tuesday-Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 1pm-5pm. Pre-arranged group tours available for groups above 10 from Mid-Dec thru Early April, please call for more information. Closed Monday and all State Holidays, except for Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day.
Formal Gardens to the South of the Mansion recreate the late-nineteenth century appearance of this section of the property, with authentic plant materials and other landscape features. Open year-round dawn to dusk.