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Jonathan Chittenden House
Federal Greek Revival, circa 1843 

Historic Preservation

At the MHS, we believe that Madison's historic structures, including its ruins, remnants, and remaining historic buildings, add to our town's unique character. Historic preservation adds to the quality of life in our coastal New England suburban setting, creating a livable community that is full of charm and aesthetic appeal. Most importantly, preservation of historic structures and historic remnants and ruins leaves visible and useful evidence of our town's cultural history. Our buildings offer tangible evidence of the stories of East Guilford and Madison citizens through nearly four centuries. The remnants of earlier cultures and communities also offer a window into the lives of those who preceded European settlement here. All of these stories are essential to our understanding of the past and our commitments to our future.

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local distinctiveness

Local distinctiveness is whatever makes one place different from another. What is unique to Madison? What gives our town its sense of place? Major landmarks and points of interest can distinguish one place from another, but more important than these obvious features are the small details that characterize a particular place. 

Elements of local distinctiveness can include: 

  • natural features such as the landscape, flora, fauna 
  • human-made features like buildings, trails, bridges, memorials 
  • heritage, culture, traditions – historical people, events, customs
  • produce and industry – food, drink, crafts, arts, agriculture
  • words, dialect, local sayings, jokes, quirky anecdotes 

Historic Plaque Program

Madison is important both as an early shoreline settlement, including farms, shipbuilding ventures, and small industries, and as a popular summer resort town. The local architecture reflects these distinct periods in Madison's heritage. The Madison Historical Society offers its Historic Building Plaque Program to owners of all Madison properties that predate 1930. The purpose of the plaque program is threefold:

  • to call attention to the historic character of Madison;
  • to give recognition both to its early buildings and to the people who built or resided in them;
  • to encourage stewardship of and appreciation for the historic built environment of our community.

An MHS plaque is an honorary recognition of sites, people, and architecture important to Madison history. It carries no legal protection or restrictions for the property.

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