The old courthouse where the Post Office now sits, as seen from the current courthouse's tower in the early 1900s.
Grand Jury outside of the old courthouse. Undated photo.
Police observation booth that sat in Courhouse Square from 1951 to 1971.
Main Street in the early 1960s.
The Post Office in Madison, soon after its construction in 1931-32.
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Stop Five

COURTHOUSE SQUARE

Walking back down Jefferson to the Welcome Center, the block to your left was the site of the town’s first courthouse. There was a wooden building which sat on what is now the post office block. Construction of the courthouse began in 1810 and was not completed until 1824. It was torn down in 1837 and a new one was completed the following year. Unfortunately, that structure burned just a few short years later, in 1843. 

 

The stately third courthouse (pictured), this time built of brick, was erected in 1845.  Despite having survived Sherman’s March and the great fire of 1869 that destroyed 42 other downtown buildings (mostly wooden), the old courthouse burned down in 1916, less than ten years after it had been outgrown and replaced by the current courthouse (Stop #2). 

 

Shortly after the old courthouse burned, the square was sold to the federal government as a site for a future post office. With no immediate plans for construction, the Post Office department allowed the City to use the square as a park with the caveat that any improvements be removed prior to construction.  The current post office was built in 1931, early in the Great Depression during the Hoover Administration.

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