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Brief Historical Highlights of the City of Madison and Jefferson County

1809    Town of Madison was founded.

1811    Jefferson County was formed from parts of Dearborn and Clark Counties.

1824    Town of Madison was incorporated by an act of the state legislature.

1827    Hanover College was founded.

1830    Madison was the largest town in Indiana.

1836    Construction was started in Madison on Indiana's first railroad which reached Indianapolis 11 years later in 1847.

1838    City of Madison was incorporated.

1840    Madison, with a population of 3,798, was the second largest city in Indiana.

1840    Construction was started on the Lanier mansion which was designed by Francis Costigan.

1841    The oldest volunteer fire company in Indiana, Fair Play No. 1 Volunteer Fire Company, was established.

1848    The co-educational Eleutherian College established in Lancaster was one of the first desegregated educational institutions in the United States, The classroom building built in 1854 - 1856 is a National Historic Landmark.

1849    Michael Garber purchased the Madison Courier and turned it into a daily paper. Is it one of the oldest family-owned newspapers in the country.

1850    Madison with 8,012 people was the third largest city in the state.

1851    Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nighingale, performed in Madison in a pork packing warehouse, the only facility large enough at the time.

1852    Pork slaughterhouses in Madison processed 130,730 hogs.

1860    There were 6 pork packing plants, 3 breweries, a glue factory, a vinegar plant, a starch factory and 52 groceries in Madison.

1863    Confederate General John Hunt Morgan and his men raided Dupont in the Township of Lancaster where they burned the storehouse and reportedly stole 2,000 smoked hams on their way through southern Indiana.

1870    There were 3 pork packing plants, 2 breweries, a glue factory, a vinegar plant, a starch factory, 2 flour mills, 3 saddle tree factories and 44 groceries in Madison.

1898    Electric trolley cars were started on Main Street and ran until 1919.

1899    King's Daughters Hospital was opened.

1907    Construction on the Southeastern Indiana Hospital for the Insane was started and was opened in 1910. Called Madison State Hospital since 1927, the number of patients peaked at about 2,000 in 1955. It now provides specialized care for about 150 patients and houses a men's and a women's correctional facility.

1911    The first Madison boat race was run on the Ohio River - the start of the Madison Regatta.

1920    Clifty Falls State Park was established on land donated by local residents.

1928    Work was started on the first Madison - Milton Bridge, completed in 1929.

1937    One of the worst floods on the Ohio river occurred. The height of the water level can be seen on a white corner stone on the Brown Gym on Broadway.

1937    Crystal Beach swimming pool was built as a WPA project and originally had a real sand beach.

1940    The U.S. War Department acquired land in Monroe and Madison Townships for the Jefferson Proving Ground, a munitions testing facility. The first rounds were fired in May of 1941 and the last were fired in September of 1994. Much of the facility was designated as the Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge in 2000.

1958    The motion picture Some Came Running with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Shirley McClain and Martha Hyer was filmed in Madison.

1970    Madison hit its highest population of 13,081.

1971    Miss Madison won the hydroplane-racing gold cup. The trophy was awarded by band leader Guy Lombardo and Governor Edgar Whitcomb.

1999    The motion picture Madison about the winning of the gold cup was filmed in Madison.

2000    Jefferson County population reached an all time high of 32,428.

2006    130 blocks in downtown Madison were designated a National Historic Landmark District.

2014    The new Madison-Milton Bridge made history by being the longest span in North America (and probably the world) to be slid laterally into place. The length of the span that was slid is nearly half a mile.