Cornerstone History

Cornerstone Society, Inc.     Established 1988

The Cornerstone Society was started by a group of concerned citizens in Madison, Indiana who realized that the historic buildings they loved were in danger of destruction. Other organizations were busy saving the prominent structures, but no one was looking out for the homes and businesses of the everyday people. Many of the original structures, monuments and historical streetscapes would soon be gone if someone didn’t step up.

This group approached Indiana Landmarks and received support and guidance to create a new organization to advocate and educate for preservation. In 1988, the Cornerstone Society was born. Committees were formed to research history and create walking tours, study preservation techniques, teach do-it-yourself workshops, investigate laws and find ways to help the local people afford to maintain their historic town.

It took tremendous dedication and constant effort, but this group of ordinary neighbors brought a new awareness that their town was worth preserving, not just a few important buildings, but the whole fabric of the historic district.

Here are just a few of Cornerstone’s past and ongoing accomplishments:

  • Saved ten of Madison’s 19th century buildings from demolition through documentation, letter campaigns and negotiations, including the Elks building.
  • Attend and provide comment on monthly meetings of Madison’s Historic District Board of Review.
  • Provide current owners of historical properties with Investment Tax Credit and rehabilitation information.
  • Serve as an affiliate member of Indiana Landmarks (formerly Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana), an organization founded by Eli Lilly in 1960, dedicated to statewide historic preservation.
  • Offer regularly scheduled programs/membership meetings to the public, including the popular workshop series, “Preservation on a Shoestring.”
  • Awarded funds from Indiana Landmarks Preservation Grants Program to obtain legal council to interpret Madison’s Historic District Ordinance.
  • Recipient of a grant from Indiana Historic Bureau which helped fund the National Register marker placed at Jefferson Street and Vaughn Drive.
  • Active participant in historic considerations for the construction of a new Madison/Milton Bridge with Indiana Department of Transportation.
  • Developed a Riverfront Walking Tour featuring 44 of Madison’s historic sites.
  • Assisted the Chamber of Commerce in 1989 for their successful application to the Indiana Main Street Program.

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