Shewsbury-Windle House; A close up photo of one of the statues in the Broadway Fountain; Wrought iron railing.
Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary
Madison, Indiana

Jefferson County Courthouse and Sheriff's Residence & Jail

The west façade of the Jefferson County Courthouse.

The west façade of the
Jefferson County Courthouse.
Courtesy of Bradley Miller

The Jefferson County Courthouse that stands at 300 East Main Street is the third building to serve as Jefferson County's courthouse. It was built between 1854 and 1855 after a fire consumed the second Jefferson County Courthouse. Regionally notable architect David Dubach designed the new building in the Classical Revival style. The west side is dominated by a portico supported by four fluted, cast iron Ionic columns that sit atop an ashlar masonry arcade. Neighboring Switzerland County used Dubach’s plans to construct an almost identical courthouse a decade later.

An interior view of the historic Jefferson County Jail.

An interior view of the historic Jefferson County Jail.
Courtesy of Bradley Miller

During a restoration in 2009, the courthouse’s roof caught fire, destroying the upper story and domed cupola. This setback only increased Madisonians’ resolve to restore the courthouse. Jefferson County commissioners funded reconstruction of the building’s damaged sections and cupola. Second-story windows, more harmonious to the historic design than previous replacements, were installed. Wood molding and plaster on the third floor’s ceiling was restored. A rededication ceremony for the rehabilitated courthouse took place August 26, 2011.

The building just east of the courthouse is the Sheriff’s Residence and Jail. Like the courthouse, it was not the first building in Madison to serve as the jail. Substantial additions have occurred on the building’s east and south sides, but the original 1849 building is still apparent. Historically, the sheriff and his family resided in the front portion of this building, while the jail occupied the lower, rear section. The walls of the jail are at least two feet thick and are built of massive stones.

The Jefferson County Courthouse and the Sheriff’s Residence and Jail contribute 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; the Sheriff’s Residence and Jail is also individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Plan your visit

The Jefferson County Courthouse is located at 300 East Main St. with the Sheriff's Residence and Jail next door. Click here for the Madison Historic District National Historic Landmark file: text. The courthouse is open to the public Monday through Friday, from 8:00am until 4:00pm. The Sheriff’s Residence and Jail are closed to the public, though tours may be arranged by contacting the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at 812-265-8900.

The Sheriff’s Residence and Jail have been documented by the National Park Service’s Historic American Buildings Survey.

Next page
Comments or Questions

Itinerary Home | List of sites | Maps | Learn More | Credits | Other Itineraries | NR Home | Search