Madison is a real treasure. We took our kids on vacation to Georgia to visit some family and Madison was one of the top destinations on our list. My husband and father-in-law are both history buffs and even though I grew up in Europe, American history has always fascinated me. And Madison is rich in history with a strong heritage that they’ve preserved through the generations.
Whether you’re interested in history or simply appreciate vintage beauty, Madison is a wonderful town to visit.
With beautifully restored homes and a variety of shops, restaurants, art galleries and museums, Madison has done a truly remarkable job of preserving its small town charm. The streets and buildings are very clean, reflecting the pride of its community of 3,700 people. In 2001, Madison was voted the #1 Small Town in America by Travel Holiday Magazine.
Very proud of its progressive schools, literary and philosophical societies, in 1845 Madison was described in a journal publication as “the most cultured and aristocratic town on the stagecoach route from Charlestown to New Orleans.”
Founded in 1809, Madison is one of the best preserved antebellum towns in the South and has one of the largest historic districts in Georgia. Tourists come from all over the world to admire the beautifully preserved antebellum architecture.
Madison was named in honor of James Madison, the fourth U.S. president, who incidentally was inaugurated the year Madison was founded. Its main streets are also all named after U.S. presidents.
Recognize Madison from the bill? Yeah, I’ve never even seen one but definitely wouldn’t object to owning a few.
I tried to find a more friendly picture of General Sherman but there weren’t any. Holy cow, I wouldn’t want to cross this guy for anything, know what I mean? He looks like he could use a little anger management counseling.
Let’s take a little look around town.
The Morgan County Confederate Monument located in Hill Park on S. Main St. in Madison.
The Romanesque Revival-style Madison Graded School was built in 1895 and was one of the first graded schools in the South (ie, a separate classroom for each grade). Can you imagine going to a public school like that and in such a beautiful setting?
The Church of the Advent, built in 1844, is where the Methodists originally met until moving to a new location (see next picture) in 1914.
The First United Methodist Church, built in Akron style in 1914. It’s not antebellum, but it’s still a really neat historic building.
So many gorgeous old homes.
The Hill-Huggins Home built in 1832. The Greek Revival home of the aforementioned U.S. Senator Joshua Hill who convinced General Sherman to spare Madison.
The old Horace Moore House, circa 1895, is now the Morgan County African-American Museum whose mission it is to research, collect, educate, and preserve the history and the art of the African-American culture.
Another beautiful home – and available for purchase!
Our son chilling in his little sister’s stroller, enjoying the shade under the beautiful old trees. His little sister was enjoying the luxury of napping in the Baby Bjorn carrier while we walked around.
Below, the Foster-Thomason-Miller home was built in 1883 and has a wealth of history behind it. At the time it was built the local paper referred to it as “the most elegant country home in Middle Georgia.” Situated on 11 acres, 5000 sq ft with 14 ft ceilings, the original elaborate interior was inspired by the tenets outlined in Oscar Wilde’s lecture on ‘The House Beautiful’ given by Wilde in Atlanta on July 4, 1882. Unfortunately the home suffered a fire in 2001 and has been waiting for someone to purchase and restore it ever since.
July 2018 update: I just got word that the Madison-Morgan Conservancy have purchased this home and have been working on stabilizing it, which is such great news. It will be listed for sale in the near future.
Below left is Heritage Hall, another Greek Revival home built in 1811. It was a private residence for 166 years until 1977 and is now maintained by the Morgan County Historical Society. Fully restored inside and out, it’s the most visited tourist attractions in Madison.
There are a number of really old homes in Madison, the oldest of which is the Roger’s House built in 1809. From what I’ve heard it’s open for tours all year round.
Below left is the Hunter House, a beautiful Victorian house built in 1883 and they’ve recently been working hard to restore it.
There are many more historic homes and buildings in Madison that we haven’t covered that you’ll want to explore if you get the chance to visit. The town is very pedestrian-friendly and we were able to cover a lot of ground even with our two little ones in tow.
We enjoyed immersing ourselves in the historic atmosphere of this town. To appreciate some antebellum beauty and experience a true taste of old Southern charm, visit Madison, Georgia.
“In point of intelligence, refinement, and hospitality, this town acknowledges no superior.” ~ White’s Statistics of Georgia, 1849
For more information and to plan your trip visit: Madison’s Official Page