Westside Walking Tour
Map of Westside Tour
Here is a relatively short walking tour of the west side of Madison. If following this walking tour on your phone or tablet is not convenient, please stop by the History Center and pick up a paper copy to use.
Three Main Madison Styles
There are three architectural styles that are prevalent in Madison. As you walk around the city the following guide may help you identify the styles you’re seeing. Keep in mind that not all elements will be found on every building, and some buildings will be a mixture of style elements. Architectural design is just not that pure or maybe just not that boring.
This was the predominant style of architecture between 1780 and 1820. Federal was a term people thought identified with America rather than imperial Great Britain. It was the new vernacular style for a new country. Beside the features pointed out in the picture a Federal style house also might have had dormers, a balustrade around the roof line and cornices with decorative moldings. It might also have been wood instead of brick.
Greek Revival Style
The Greek Revival style was en vogue from roughly 1820 to 1860 and is one of the most prominent found in Madison. It was a style that people saw as a way of identifying with the birthplace of democracy and turning further away from Britain, especially after the War of 1812. As with other styles, keep in mind that not all Greek Revival houses will look exactly alike. Some will have a low-profile, triangular-shaped gable facing the front of the house. Others will be symmetrical and will have large porches with columns across the front. Think Colby-Dunn house. They’re all still Greek Revival.
Italianate was the popular style in the 1850 – 1890 time period. Rather than being a political statement, design had become a question of decoration – adding some pizzazz. And because more was being done with machines, it had become easier to add decoration. Along with the features seen below, Italianate houses are tall in appearance (2, 3 or even 4 stories). They might have square towers or cupolas as well as balustrade balconies on the porch roof. Also common are side bay windows.
(1) Jeremiah Sullivan House, 304 W. Second, c. 1820, Federal style. Considered Madison’s first brick mansion. In 1821 Sullivan coined the name “Indianapolis” when he was in the legislature and plans were being made to move the state capital from Corydon to the center of the state.
(2) Schofield House, 217 W. Second, 1817. Federal style. This is Madison’s first 2-story brick house. Originally a tavern and rooming house, the Grand Masonic Lodge was organized here is 1818. In 1970 the Indiana Masonic Heritage Foundation purchased the building and restored it.
(3) Talbott-Hyatt House, 301 W. Second, c. 1820, Federal style. This home was used as the temporary office of the county clerk when the courthouse burned in 1853.
(4) Shrewsbury House, 301 W. First, 1846 – 1849, Greek Revival. Designed and built by Francis Costigan for steamboat captain, merchant, flour mill owner and mayor of Madison, Charles Shrewsbury. The paint in the drawing room was applied in 1849 and has never been painted over.
Madison Presbyterian Church, 202 Broadway, 1846, Greek Revival with Baroque-style bell tower. This was the First Presbyterian Church until 1921 when the First and Second churches reunited after an 88-year separation.
(6) Colby-Dunn House, 302 Elm, 1838, Greek Revival. Colby got a loan to build the house from the banker, J. F. D. Lanier, but skipped town without paying. Lanier finished the house and lived in it while his own was being finished. He then gave it to his daughter, Elizabeth and her husband, William McKee Dunn.
(7) Eckert House, 510 W. Second, 1872. Essentially shotgun style with Italianate bracketed parapet that covers the front gable roof line. Built by tinsmith, John Eckert, the front of the house is pressed zinc sheet metal made to look like stone.
(8) Lanier Mansion, 500 W. First, 1840 – 1844. Greek Revival. This is another Costigan – designed house which was meant to impress with its size and solid feel to fit the status of its owner, banker J. F. D. Lanier.
(9) The Railroad Station, 615 W. First, with its octagonal rotunda was built in 1895 and was in use as a passenger station until 1931. The tracks ran in front of the building where First Street is now.
(10) The “Trolley Barn”, 619 W. Main St., was built in 1876. Originally a city market, it became home to the Madison Power & Electric Co. in 1886. Madison Light & Railway (from which came the name “Trolley Barn”) and Madison Light & Power also occupied the building. It was converted into retail space in the 1970’s.
(11) Margie’s Country Store, 721 W. Main St., late 19th century. This is a nice example of a commercial building that has been in continuous use. The cast iron columns and storefront should be noted.
(12) Holstein-Whitsett House, 718 W. Main, c. 1840, Greek Revival. This is another house that is attributed to Francis Costigan.
(13) William Hendricks House, 620 W. Main, 1853. Italianate style. Hendricks was the secretary of the first constitutional convention in 1816, the 3rd governor of Indiana from 1822 to 1825 and a U.S. Senator from 1825 to 1837.
(14) 618 W. Main, 1837. This house represents a mixture of architecture styles as things were added over time. The entrance is Federal with its sidelights and fanlight. The portico with Ionic columns is Greek Revival, the brackets with pendants represent Italianate additions.
(15) 610 W. Main, c. 1850, Classic style. This was the home of Mrs. Emilie Todd Helm, Mary Todd Lincoln’s half sister. Mrs. Helm move here from Elizabeth Town, KY, during the Civil War after her Confederate General husband was killed at the Battle of Chickamauga. She was the organist at Christ Episcopal Church.
(16) 415-417 Vine St., c. 1840, Greek Revival. The architect, Francis Costigan, built this brick double as his residence and a rental unit.
(17) First Baptist Church, 416 Vine St., 1853-1860, Greek Revival. This church has and still uses a tracker (mechanical action) pipe organ (one of 4 in the city) installed in 1901. The stained glass windows were installed in 1907 and were refurbished in 2015.
(18) John Paul Park. The land was donated by town founder, John Paul, in 1819 for use as Third Street Cemetery. It was abandoned in 1900 and gravestones were moved to Springdale Cemetery. In 1902 the local chapter of the Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution began working with the city to develop the site as a park. A fountain was constructed and trees were donated by each of the 13 original colonies for planting around it. Although the fountain is gone, the park remains a pleasant urban oasis of green.
(19) The Costigan House, 408 W. Third St., 1849-1850, Greek Revival. Narrow on the outside but spacious on the inside, this is the house that has been called a prime candidate for the finest surviving Greek Revival townhouse in America. Although built by Costigan for his family, they scarcely had time to enjoy it; they moved to Indianapolis in 1851 where Costigan was getting larger commissions for larger buildings.
(20) Jesse Bright House, 312 W. Third St., 1837, Federal style with later Italianate modifications. This was the home of Jesse D. Bright, who was elected to the U. S. Senate in 1845 and was reelected twice. In 1862 he was expelled from the Senate for support of the south in the Civil War. Although not the only senator to ever be expelled, he was the last one as of the end of 2018.
(21) The Broadway Fountain. This is a bronze copy of the 19th century iron fountain that was part of the 1876 Philadelphia Exposition. That fountain was given to the City of Madison by the International Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) in 1884. In the late 1970’s the fountain was recast in bronze and reinstalled in 1980. It is one of four similarly designed fountains that Janes, Kirtland, and Company created. The others are in Savannah, Georgia, Poughkeepsie, New York and Cusco, Peru.
22) Trinity Methodist Church, 409 Broadway, 1873, Gothic Revival. The small brick projections capped by limestone are a nod to what would have been buttresses in true Gothic construction. The spire is the tallest in Madison.