The Cornerstone Society was begun by a group
of citizens concerned for the preservation of original
structures, monuments and historical streetscapes of Madison,
1988, Madison was besieged with plans for new construction of
inferior and insensitive design and threatened with demolition
of significant original structures. This caused great concern
to many citizens who both loved and respected the historical
heritage and unique qualities of this town. Although
the Jefferson County Historical Society and Historic Madison,
Inc. had been the primary organizations influencing Madison's
historic future, it was deemed necessary to form a third
organization primarily concerned with preservation.
The first meeting was called by these
concerned citizens and their friends to formulate a strategy
to not only preserve, but to educate and cultivate an
appreciation of this vast historical treasure. We
felt someone had to become caretakers for what our forefathers
had passed on to us.
We formed committees to research, to educate
and to promote our cause. The
name, Cornerstone, was selected for our society at the third
in the basement of the First Christian Church which became our
meeting area until December of 1989 when the church burned. Meetings
after that date were held in private homes and later at the
fellowship hall in St. Michael's church.
From the beginning, Cornerstone became not
only a policy maker, but active and constructive doers. Projects
Park in the spring and decorating
the River Front at Christmas became Cornerstone's projects.
Saving the Wilson building, 214 East Third
Street, and the restorations of Rite-Aid, which is now Madison
Mercantile, are monumental achievements accomplished in the
formulating years of Cornerstone. A
great deal has been accomplished over the past five years and
hopefully there will be much more to be proud of in future
- Saved eight of Madison's 19th century buildings
from demolition through documentation, letter campaigns
- Provided the prospective developer of the
Rite-Aid property with viable alternatives to save the
building from demolition and acted as consultant during
the renovation process.
- Transferred to video and offered for sale the
1930's film preserved by the Harold Lohrig
family, "Madison in the 30's". Now offered on DVD.
- Provide current prospective owners of historical
properties with Investment Tax Credit and rehabilitation
- Created and continue to sponsor a yearly Heritage
Awareness Program for Jefferson County 4th grade students.
- Cornerstone is an affiliate member of Indiana Landmarks
Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana). An organization founded by
Eli Lilly in 1960, dedicated to statewide historic
- Assisted the Chamber of Commerce in making
successful application to Indiana Main Street Program in
- Organized and co-sponsored 1992 spring tour of
Madison area homes and gardens.
- Assisted King's Daughters' Hospital in designing
its day care center and West Street emergency room
- Conducted regularly scheduled programs/membership
meetings open to the public.
- Applied for and received not-for-profit
designation from IRS.
- Spearheaded the clean-up and planting for John
Paul Park on a yearly basis.
- Won award from Indiana Landmarks Preservation
Grants Fund to obtain legal council to interpret Madison's
Historic District Ordinance.
- Researched the information necessary to aid in
restoring Middleton Monument (on Courthouse lawn).
- Received HLFI/PSI Foundation grant to create
Madison Main Street brochure.
- Advised and assisted the Catholic Communities
Building Architect to encourage the preservation of
Jefferson County's historic Catholic churches.
- Recipient of a grant from Indiana Historic Bureau
which helped fund the National Register marker placed at
Jefferson Street and Vaughn Drive.
- Encouraged the preservation of the 1889 Hanover
- Created the Main Street/Fountain Park garden in
cooperation with local businesses, City of Madison and
Indiana Department of Transportation.
- Coordinating with Indiana Department of
Transportation on a plan to landscape Jefferson Street
- Negotiated with IKEC/GTE to develop vegetative
screen and landscaping
along Highway 56
approach to Madison.
- Proposed Landscaping of Vernon Street
- Developed a Riverfront Walking Tour featuring 44
of Madison's historic sites.