MADISON WELCOME CENTER – THE FIRST FIREHOUSE
We will begin this tour at the Madison Welcome Center, erected in 1887 by Mr. Daniel Towns to serve as a city hall and fire house. Madison’s earlier town hall, located elsewhere on the square, was so damaged in the 1886 Charleston earthquake that it was condemned. The hook and ladder equipment were stored downstairs, while council meetings and daily business were conducted upstairs. The rooms at the rear of the building served as the calaboose, or town jail, as evidenced by the bars on the windows. The fire bell has been returned to the original cupola.
During the Great Depression, a new city hall was erected on North Main Street just around the corner from the old building. In the ensuing years, the structure housed various operations until the Chamber of Commerce Foundation purchased it in 1989 and rehabilitated it under the supervision of preservation architect Lane Green. The restored City Hall was honored by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation as an outstanding example of adaptive reuse.