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In 1960 Mr. and Mrs. John T. Windle founded Historic Madison, Inc., a not for profit historic preservation organization. The organization has played a key role for the preservation, restoration, education and development of Madison’s 133 block historic district. John Windle believed that the past was prologue. He believed that Madison’s future rested in improving the physical assets already present. While other communities were modernizing and removing its history, Madison began to rebuild and improve its historic resources.
Historic preservation has contributed to the overall economic and cultural development of the community. Madison’s historic district contains a rare intact collection of early 19th and 20th century architecture with the amenities and conveniences of a twenty-first century neighborhood. Historic Preservation and indeed, Heritage Tourism have been a major contributing factory in sustaining and moving this Indiana river town forward. The area beneath the hill along its beautiful riverfront consists of approximately 1500 historic residential, commercial and industrial structures.
Under the leadership of a volunteer board of directors, Historic Madison, Inc. continues to have a huge impact in the city of Madison. The organization owns, operates and maintains 15 properties; four of the properties are open as museums and others are opened for special programs. The organization is an advocate for the preservation and sensitive development of the historic district. Although the National Park Service has already designated the city as a National Register Historic District, Historic Madison, Inc. is currently spearheading the nomination to designate the entire city historic district a National Historic Landmark District, the highest recognition an historic site can receive on a national level.