Downtown Madison, The Fair Play Fire Company No. 1, Benches and a walking path along the river - Photos Courtesy of Katrina Falk via Flickr's Creative Commons.
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Madison, Indiana

Old Madison City Hall

Old City Hall

Old City Hall
Courtesy of Jeff Rowlett via Flickr's Creative Commons


The building at 416 West Street that is the Old Madison City Hall was originally imagined as the first school for Madison’s African Americans but never used for that purpose. During the 1879 construction of the Italianate building, locals complained that the school’s location near downtown Madison’s main commercial strip would be detrimental to learning. School trustees purchased a lot in the quieter neighborhood of Broadway between Fourth and Fifth Streets and erected another school. Broadway School, which was identical to the rejected West Street building, opened in 1880 as the first commissioned high school for African Americans in Indiana.

Seizing the opportunity to use the new, vacant building as a City Hall, Madison city officials relocated from the southeast corner of Mulberry and Second Streets to 416 West Street. A 1925 renovation added a Neoclassical façade to the building. While side windows still sported the narrow, four-over-four panes, decorative metal hoods, and stone sills characteristic of the Italianate style, the new main façade added tripartite windows with flared stone lintels with keystones. The Italianate hipped roof and the wide pierced-metal cornice with decorative brackets survived the Neoclassical changes. A flat-roof stone entry with an arched opening, recessed wood doors, transom light, and classic details make up the center of the façade.

In 1993, the City of Madison decided to move municipal offices to the c.1925 Classical Revival bank building located on the corner of Main and West Streets and sold the old building. Since then the Old City Hall has housed small businesses and offices. A devastating fire ripped through the Old City Hall and neighboring buildings in August 2006, but fortunately the building has been restored to its historic appearance and is once again used as commercial space.

The Old City Hall 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 Old City Hall, now a privately owned building, is located at 416 West St. The operating hours for the small businesses located within the building vary. Click here for the Madison Historic District National Historic Landmark file: text.

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