Settlers populated Madison beginning as early as 1806, and the town officially incorporated on April 1, 1809. It had flush early years due to heavy river traffic and its position as an entry point into the Indiana Territory along the historic Old Michigan Road.
Indiana's first railroad, the Madison & Indianapolis Railroad, was built there between 1836 and 1847. Chartered in 1832 by the Indiana State Legislature as the Madison Indianapolis & Lafayette Railroad, and construction begun September 16, 1836, the railroad was transferred to private ownership on January 31, 1843, as the Madison & Indianapolis Railroad. Successful for more than a decade, the railroad went into decline and was sold at foreclosure in 1862, renamed the Indianapolis & Madison Railroad, and after a series of corporate transfers, became part of the massive Pennsylvania Railroad system in 1921.
Madison's days as a leading Indiana city were numbered, however, when river traffic declined and new railroads built between Louisville, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati tapped into Madison's trade network. ("River to Rail," a history of steamboats and railroads in Madison) As a result, Madison went into an economic and growth decline. As an unexpected benefit, today the town's previous misfortune leaves for us an extensive preserved collection of early 19th century architecture in the Federal and Greek Revival styles.
Madison recounts the story of the city's hosting and winning the penultimate hydroplane racing event of 1971, echoing the movie Hoosiers.
For Some Came Running, director Vincente Minnelli selected Madison in 1958 to play the role of the fictional "Parkman, Indiana" in filming the James Jones novel. On September 3, 1999, the community held an organized celebration to mark the 40th anniversary of the making of the film, which itself became the subject of a film documentary by Turner Classic Movies. (RoundAbout Madison, community newspaper account)
A source of community pride is that Madison has the world's only community owned unlimited hydroplane racer, Miss Madison, which began Unlimited class racing in 1961. That boat, which has been known by various corporate sponsor names but is officially called U-6, has traditionally finished near the bottom of the circuit. Before Anheuser-Busch dropped its sponsorship of hydroplane racing after the 2004 season, U-6 had won just six races using a variety of hulls. One of those wins was an upset in the 1971 Regatta, which is the basis for the movie Madison, when the APBA Gold Cup was held in Madison for the first time. Madison hosted the APBA Gold Cup Race again in 1979 and 1980. Under the aegis of the new American Boat Racing Association (ABRA), the City of Madison team driver, Steve David, finished first in the ABRA national point drivers standings in both 2005 and 2006 driving U-6, now in the colors of sponsor Oh Boy! Oberto.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.9 square miles (23.0 km²), of which, 8.6 square miles (22.2 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.9 km²) of it (3.72%) is water.
There were 5,092 households out of which 26.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.7% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.4% were non-families. 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.83.
In the city the population was spread out with 21.5% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 28.4% from 25 to 44, 24.3% from 45 to 64, and 17.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 96.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $35,092, and the median income for a family was $46,241. Males had a median income of $32,800 versus $22,039 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,923. About 10.2% of families and 12.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.3% of those under age 18 and 8.6% of those age 65 or over.
Prince of Peace Catholic Schools