New Holiday Tradition in Madison
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. Together with local students and members of the Deacon John Grave Foundation, we offer lantern-lit tours of the Madison Green National Historic District each December. In 2019 visitors were 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, greeted guests at Lee’s Academy. The tour then continued 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 also introduced 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 touched on American holiday traditions during the Civil War, and reenactors appeared along the route to tell stories of courage, hope, and healing.
Guided Groups Leave Every Thirty Minutes
Guides lead groups of eight to ten people every thirty minutes, beginning at 4:30 pm. Visitors 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.
Beginning 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. While we explore our lovely New England green, we hope visitors will deepen their commitment to supporting and protecting our town’s cultural heritage.
Important Visitor Information
Tickets are $15 for adults ($10 for MHS or DJG members) and $5 for children ages 5-17. They can be purchased online at www.madisonhistory.org or by calling 203.245.4567. The tour is recommended for children aged 5 and older.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the tour was canceled in 2020 and 2021. We hope to bring the tour back in December 2022! Check the website for updates and additional information on upcoming events.