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 MHS Plaque Program
The Madison Historical Society offers its Historic Building Plaque Program to owners of all town properties that predate 1930. The purpose of the plaque program is threefold:
- to promote public appreciation of the historic character of Madison;
- to give recognition both to Madison’s early buildings and to the people who built or resided in them;
- to encourage stewardship of the historic built environment of our community.
In addition to the name of the Madison Historical Society, each plaque lists the date of the building construction, the name of the original owner, and the occupation of that owner. To qualify for a plaque, the building must be visually recognizable as an historic building and its history must be documented according to Madison Historical Society procedures. The dating of a structure is done by deed research (and other primary-source information) as well as by an architectural review. Deed research is conducted by an experienced historical consultant, who often works in tandem with an architectural historian who provides the necessary architectural expertise for dating Madison’s historic homes and other structures.
In addition to the plaque, the owner of the structure receives a history of the building, a deed report, and an architectural report. At the present time, the MHS can complete the research on approximately a dozen historic properties per year. We create a schedule on a first-come, first-served basis. We contact each building owner on our waiting list 30 days in advance of beginning the research and documentation of each property. We encourage owners to contact us at their earliest convenience to add their request to our waiting list. We thank all historic property owners for their patience and support of this important initiative.
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.
Note: Binders on all of the currently plaqued structures are available for review by the public at the MHS administrative offices during our regular business hours. Each binder includes architectural reports, deed research, maps, census records, genealogy, and other related information.