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Holiday Lantern Tour

This Event is SOLD OUT. We cannot accept walk-ins due to space restrictions.

Did you know that Madison was once home to the most generous person of his day–giving the equivalent of $40 million to a charitable organization in the late 1890s? Discover who this philanthropic man was at the Madison Historical Society’s Holiday Lantern Tour. Together with local students and members of the Deacon John Grave Foundation, we will offer lantern-lit tours of the Madison Green National Historic District on Sunday, December 15 between 4:30 to 7:00 PM.  

Civil War Theme

A new MHS holiday tradition, the Holiday Lantern Light Tour is a 90-minute journey through time to glimpse a period in Madison’s history. This year, visitors will be transported to the year 1862, when the nation was locked in a civil war. Emilie Ely, whose three older brothers served in the Union Army, will greet guests at Lee’s Academy. The tour will then continue to the First Congregational Church to see congregants celebrating the brief return of Reverend Samuel Wheelock Fiske from the battlefield. As a role model to other Madison men, he left his post as pastor to serve in Connecticut’s 14th Volunteer Infantry. 

The tour will also introduce guests to women from the Soldiers Aid Society and to Talcott Bradley, whose sons and son-in-law fought for the Union Army. The evening walk will touch on American holiday traditions during the Civil War, and reenactors will appear along the route to tell stories of courage, hope, and healing.  

Visitor Information

Guides will lead groups of up to 20 people every thirty minutes, beginning at 4:30 pm. Visitors will cover roughly a half-mile, traveling on foot over various terrains for the duration of the tour. For this event, visitors are strongly encouraged to dress warmly and wear appropriate footwear, whether we have rain or clear skies. There is no rain date.

Starting at Lee’s Academy, the tour makes six to eight brief stops and concludes with a warm fire and refreshments at the Deacon John Grave House. On the tour, visitors can peek into historic homes while learning about important people and events in Madison’s past.  

Tickets are $15 for adults ($10 for MHS or DJG members) and $5 for children ages 5-17. The tour is recommended for children aged 5 and older.

No tickets will be sold at the door.

Current MHS or DJG members will receive a $5 refund on the evening of the tour.