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Madison, Indiana

Emilie Todd Helm House

Emilie Todd Helm House

Emilie Todd Helm House
National Park Service

Emilie Todd Helm, the half-sister of Mary Todd Lincoln (wife of President Abraham Lincoln), resided with her children at 610 West Main Street. Though she lived in Kentucky for most of her life, Emilie Todd Helm found a peaceful home in Madison in the decade following the Civil War. Just as the war divided many families, it did so to the Todd family in a particularly dramatic way.

Emilie Todd Helm was married to Confederate General Benjamin Hardin Helm, and three of her brothers fought for the South, despite their half-sister’s marriage to the President of the United States. Following her husband’s death at the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863, Emilie Todd Helm relocated to Madison, where she raised her three children and played the organ at Christ Episcopal Church.

Built c.1850 and attributed to architect Francis Costigan, the house shared its east wall with the Union Brewery between 1862 and 1901. Peter Weber owned both of the buildings. In 1939, the grand Italianate-style brewery, which had replaced an earlier building in 1876, burnt, but the fire spared the nearby house. The remains of the brewery were soon replaced by a much more modest commercial building, which adjoins the Emilie Todd Helm House today.

The Emilie Todd Helm House contributes to the historic significance of the Madison Historic District, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark.

Plan your visit
The Emilie Todd Helm House is located at 610 W. Main St. It is a private residence and is not open to the public. Click here for the Madison Historic District National Historic Landmark file: text.
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