history book covers 200 years
compiling book difficult at times
(March 2009) Madison, Ind., has the oldest
volunteer fire fighting company in Indiana. At one time, it was the
greatest pork processor in the world and was the only city in the region
with a railroad. During World War II, the city was selected as the Typical
American town, and a government propaganda film was made about
it for wide distribution.
Madison played an instrumental role in the Underground Railroad during
the Civil War, and a movie starlet and a World War I war hero have also
lived here. The city-owned Unlimited hydroplane even won a world championship.
The list can go on and on about the vast historical legacy of Madison,
much of which people know little about.
1809-2009 Madison on the Ohio: Celebrating Two Hundreds Years
is the official Madison Bicentennial Celebration history book being
compiled. It is a 128-page, glossy, hardcover book filled with both
color and black and white photographs, many of which have never before
been published. The text is rich with well-known and little-known historical
facts about the city.
Bicentennial book cover.
The book is being published by Donning Co. Publishers
in Virginia Beach, Va. It is a specialty book publisher of limited-edition
commemorative volumes, pictorial histories and contemporary portraits.
Madison has more than an average amount of history to share,
said Ron Grimes, one of the four authors of the book. Grimes is a lead
historian at the Jefferson County Historical Societys Research
The book could have been twice its size and still not large enough
to contain all of the interesting information about Madison, said
Janice Barnes, another of the co-authors. Barnes is the genealogist
for the Madison-Jefferson County Public Library. Even people not
from Madison are still going to enjoy reading it.
Grimes, Barnes, Camille Fife-Salmon of the preservation specialists
Westerly Group, and Bob Thomas put thousands of hours into compiling
the collection of photographs and text for the book. While each worked
independently on various aspects of the work, they had numerous meetings
and work sessions during the year-long effort.
Thomas, also a volunteer researcher at the Research Library, put together
a capsule of subjects. He compiled a list of key dates and little interesting
tidbits of information in a 44-page chronology. From that, the group
distilled a timeline of significant events to use in the book. Thomas
chronology is available at the Research Library for public use, and
area schools are using it as a history aid.
from left, Janice Barnes,
Camille Fife-Salmon, Ron Grimes and
Bob Thomas helped co-author the
official Madison Bicentennial history book.
Grimes worked on the photos and captions for them, while
Fife-Salmon wrote the text and Barnes worked on researching and correcting
One of the biggest challenges, according to Barnes and Fife-Salmon,
were the many discrepancies in the research resources. For example,
depending on which source one might read, Madison became a city in 1808
or 1809 or even 1811.
After going to the source for the actual records of the original land
purchase and other records, it was decided that 1809 is the correct
year for the citys birth. We went with traditional as well
as factual, said Barnes.
Fife-Salmon said that while the early history of Madison has been well
recorded, much of the history from the 1900s to the present may be new
information for most people.
We put in things people want to know about the 1950s to 2009 that
hasnt received much attention, said Fife-Salmon. The book
is broken into the same time periods that the Madison Bicentennial Celebration
Committee is using for all of its festivities and work.
Orders for 1809-2009 Madison on the Ohio: Celebrating Two Hundreds
Years, can be placed at pre-publication price by visiting: www.madisonbicentennial.com
and downloading the order form. Or fill in and return a counter card
available at most downtown businesses and the Madison Area Convention
and Visitors Bureau, 601 W. First St., or the Madison Courier, 310 Courier
Back to the Bicentennial Article Archive.
the official Madison Bicentennial website.