photos of Madison, NC
Madison 1906
Madison 1906
The North Carolina Legislature acted to establish the Town of Madison at the junction of the Dan and Mayo Rivers in 1815, but it was not until three years later that Randall Duke Scales laid off 96 half-acre lots and sold them at auction on June 3, 1818 for $67 to $100 each. Madison was named for the fourth president of the United Stated, President James Madison and was incorporated in 1873.

Madison was planned for river trade and flourished as bateaux brought horses, hogs and other goods to town. Ferries were used to take people across the river until bridges could be built. Being destroyed by floods, the bridges had to be replaced several times. Then in 1830 a toll bridge was built across the Dan, creating the only currency known to have been produced in Rockingham County. A covered bridge was built in 1887 and remained in use until a higher bridge was constructed at the end of Academy Street in 1931.

In the mid to late 1800’s, Madison was a thriving tobacco town with as many as 44 plug tobacco factories. John M. Galloway, a local planter, was reported to be the largest grower of tobacco in the world. The mid 1800’s also brought
Madison 1966
Madison 1966
academies, schools and churches to Madison.

Train travel through the area began in 1888. This brought people and prompted growth and the need for hotels – as many as seven at one time, some with 20 rooms.

Except for Penn Brothers Suspender Company that came in 1914 (now Gem-Dandy, Inc.), Madison remained largely a tobacco town until after World War II. It emerged as a textile town with the beginning of Madison Throwing Company in 1947.

The 1920’s were a real boom-time for the town with the 1925 population swelling to 3,300, an all time high.

Today, Madison boasts two historic districts: one listed on the National Historic Registry and the other as a local historic district (the first federally certified local historic district in North Carolina). Many of the original homes from the early 1800’s still stand and represent outstanding examples of the 18th and early 19th centuries Federal, Greek Revival, Victorian, Colonial Revival and Bungalow styles.
Official Website of the Town of Madison, North Carolina.
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Background photo courtsey of Albert Cardwell