Madison County Historical Society





 ......To the Madison County Historical Society.  MCHS was organized in 1884 and incorporated in 1926.  From these humble and early beginnings, the Society has continued through the years with vigor, energy, and dedication on its mission to collect and preserve objects, artifacts, documents, and photographs pertaining to the history of Madison County, Indiana.  Through research, education, and exhibition, we seek to interpret and prompt an awareness and appreciation for that history for the benefit of all generations. 


At our home in downtown Andersonthere is a lasting record of a way of life preserved for all to see, treasure and enjoy.  We welcome all who are interested in exploring our rich culture and social history.  The earliest pioneers, seeking new homes and better farm land, came here when there were only Indian trails and buffalo tracks.  They settled along the White River and small creeks in Madison County, encountering the Indians, clearing the timber and stayed because of the richness of the soil and the promise of prosperity. 

Indiana was the cross roads to lands further west and many did pass through;  however, those who remained, built homes, farms, businesses, churches, and communities.  Our early history is interwoven with that of the Delaware Indians and those early pioneers who came to a new land.  Their lives and courage should give us pause and inspiration to continue with the work we have set for ourselves and the Society. 



May 5, 2024 -- 2 p.m. -- 1st Sunday -- Speaker:  Stephen T. Jackson -- "River Fords One thru Five"

May 7, 2024 -- 6 p.m. -- Frankton Community Library -- Stephen T. Jackson -- "The History of Memorial Day"

May 14, 2024 -- 10:30 a.m. -- APL History Series -- Stephen T. Jackson -- "Old Films of Anderson"

May 20, 2024 -- 2 p.m. -- Civil War Roundtable -- Eric Ewald -- "Lewis Weichman(33rd Anniversary of the CWRT")


Please note:  For those of you who would like the full year of events and activities, please go to our calendar page.  You can scroll through the yearly months for the presentations and their dates.





9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m.

at the Museum of Madison County History

Operated by the Madison County Historical Society located on the corner of Meridian and 11th Street, Anderson, Indiana

The MMCH is one of the largest buildings in Anderson:  3 floors and 23,000 square feet.  Inside, everywhere you look is a story on Madison County's people, places, things, and events.


11 & 15 West 11th Street, Anderson, Indiana

Gas Boom

100+ Years of Auto Manufacturing

Madison County Authors

Madison County Area Churches

Local African American History

Madison County Businesses


Topics of Study and Research

Civil War Heroes

Veterans' Hall of Honor

Hoosier Homesteads

Native Americans

Made in Madison County

Prehistory & Pioneers

Athletes & Artists

Model Railroads


School Daze

General Motors

Madison County Authors

School Yearbooks

Genealogy & Your Family Tree


There is no fee involved.  All events and activities are FREE of charge!!!

Donations accepted.


Please be advised that the Madison County Historical Society Civil War Roundtable will not meet during the winter months.

The group will resume meetings at 7 p.m. at the Museum on March 18, 2024.

For more information, please call(765-683-0052) the office between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and/or Fridays.  You may ask for Gerald Jones.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.  See you in March.




15 West 11th Street, Anderson, Indiana

Open M-W-F, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm


Irish Mail, a child's toy

MANUFACTURED in Anderson, Indiana



Boarding begins:  April 14, 2024

2:00 p.m. at the

Museum of Madison County History

11 West 11th Street, Anderson, Indiana

Reservations Required IMMEDIATELY

Seating is limited.  Contact the Madison County Historical Society

at 765-683-0052  NOW TO "BOOK" YOUR "PASSAGE"

on the world-renowned, "UNSINKABLE" TITANIC!

This will be a non-fee, AUDIENCE INTERACTIVE event.

(no one is required to even know how to swim!)

Presented by the Madison County Historical Society






 A waiting list is being kept for these presentations;  no reservations are being taken.  All seating has been taken.  Please call the office at 765-683-0052 to be on the "wait" list.  If you know you are not going to make the presentation that you signed up for, please call the office so someone else can come in your place.  Thank you for all your support.

The Titanic Players




First Gas Engine Auto


     The first gas engine auto and driven in Anderson, Indiana was in 1891. 
     It appears only briefly in an old, grainy black and white film shot on Anderson's near east side around 1915.  The camera's position is above the roof of the Buckeye Manufacturing Company's facility, once located at 1803-19 Columbus Avenue.  As the west-facing camera lens pans over the expansive top of the building from left to right(south to north), a mysterious odd-shaped trestle comes into view for a few seconds before disappearing from view. 
     That trestle was one of several methods utilized by the company to test a new concept, the gear-less friction drive speed change transmission, which made its automobiles unique in the ever-growing mix of horse-less carriages sweeping across America.
1908 Lambert Run About
     The Buckeye firm was established on Columbus Avenue by John W. Lambert in 1904 and continued in business through 1917, reaching the height of its production from 1907 to 1910.  The plant produced an average of 2,000 cars per year.  Several different models incorporating different styling were offered.
     Mr. Lambert came to Anderson in 1892 to establish a buggy manufacturing plant after having been in that business in Ohio City, Ohio.  In 1895, his factory was between Third and Fourth streets on the west side of Sycamore Street.  Five years later, it was a massive facility encompassing a two-city block area between Third and Fourth streets employing about 250 people.
     While in Ohio, Lambert experimented with gasoline engines as the source of power for vehicles and built a three-wheeled single-cylinder automobile.  Today, he is recognized by the authoritative magazine "Antique Automobile" for inventing and driving the automobile in 1891, the first gasoline-powered car in America.
     By 1902, Lambert's concern was making gasoline engines and he established the Union Automobile Company in Anderson, with a subsidiary in Union City, Indiana.  The automobile business began to increase, necessitating an expansion of facilities.
     Finding five acres on Anderson's southeast side, he organized the Buckeye firm and, at the cost of $150,000, built the 300,000 square-foot plant on Columbus Avenue employing 35-400 workers.  In the plant, his signature automobile, the eye-appealing Lambert, was produced.  They sold for around $1,200 and could do up to 65 mph.  Buckeye claimed its care could go as fast backward as forward.
     The friction disk drive was one of the critical features of the Union and Lambert automobiles.  In Lambert's own words:  "In practice I have found that this combination of aluminum and fiber bearing surfaces gives the maximum degree of friction and durability, thereby especially adapting the gearing for use on motor vehicles of the heavier kind, where the friction surfaces are at times subject to great strains, and must, therefore, have a frictional contact of a high degree of efficiency in order to avoid slipping".
     "It will be observed that the aluminum is advantageous also, because it will not tarnish or rust appreciably, but will always present a smooth, clean surface to the fiber periphery, so that wear will be reduced to a minimum."
     To test the performance and durability of the friction disk drive, unique test tracks were needed, ones that each automobile had to pass successfully before be sold.  Three testing facilities were built on vacant lots on both sides of the East 19th Street property, immediately west of the manufacturing plant.  Note:  Watch what is coming in October......"With assembly complete, the cars would be driven out of the plant and then............

Stephen T. Jackson, Madison County Historian


Elwood H. Phillips Memorial Award

The Madison County Historical Society annually honors a person or organization who is deemed by the Board of Trustees to have made noteworthy contributions to the cause of preserving the heritage of Madison County, Indiana.


1986     Eugene R. Bock*

1987     Raymond M. Davis*

1988     Ruth Dane*

1989     Howard Eldon*

1990     Haroldyne Zook*

1991     Esther Dittlinger*

1992     Helen Harvey Baumer*

1993     David Bucove*

1994     Maude Ward*

1995     Georgia Lyons*

1996     Phyllis Leedom*

1997     Lillie Givens Manuel*

1998     Dr. Jack Nicholson*

1999     Stephen Jackson

2000     Ray Wood*

2001     Gloria Lamper*

2002     Linda Hummel Shelton

2003     Gerald Jones

2004     Richard Bowman*

2004     Marilyn Moneyhun*

2004     Dr. James Moneyhun*

2005     Max Howard

2006     Robert B. Quinn*

2007     Milton C. Otto

2008     Donald Hunt

2009     Suzetta Chambers

2010     Nancy Draper

2011     Roger Hensley

2012     Carolyn DeLawter Shettle

2013     William Upperman*

2014     Theodore Vinson*

2014     G. Eugene Yates*

2015     William Knepp

2016     Terry King

2016     Jim Jackson*

2017     Pendleton Hist. Museum

2018     Lucretia S. Lawler*

2019     Bob Post

2020     Award Postponed

2021     Jay Brown




The Museum of Madison County History is a place that you can definitely use most and/or all your skill set.  We love to welcome volunteers to our Museum and its many and varied departments and projects.  There really is no job that is too small, too large or too mundane.  If you have a couple of hours a week, you may want to spend that time with us.  Please consider coming in to speak to someone about volunteering.  We are conveniently located in downtown Anderson on the corner of Meridian and 11th Street.  Please visit on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. or call for more information at (765) 683-0052.

1914 Station at Anderson, Indiana

Engine H6a6344

Train and Dollhouse Exhibits Open

The Model Train and Dollhouse Exhibits are open for everyone.  Please ask your guide to see them.  You, your family and friends are invited to stop by the Museum on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to visit these exhibits.  The Museum is located at 15 West 11th Street, Anderson, Indiana.
Please note that this year's "Christmas" model train and the Dollhouse exhibits will be CLOSED during the Christmas holidays from December 15, 2023 and will open again on January 3, 2024.  Thank you for your support and visiting us during this time of the year.  From our Family to your Family, Merry Christmas and a Happy, Happy New Year!

The Museum In The Classroom

by  Stephen Jackson,  County  Historian
Anna Epperly, Assistant Professor of Education, Anderson University wrote in an email the following:
"I am currently supervising thirteen EDUC 4120 and EDUC 4710 students in their senior classroom management courses.  With Covid-19 restrictions in local schools regarding visitors and volunteers, we had to think creatively in terms of providing our AU students with authentic access to mentor teachers and "real, live students" this semester.  As a volunteer at the Museum of Madison County History, operated by the Madison County Historical Society(MCHS), I was able to seek and receive approval from MCHS for AU students to virtually instruct Frankton 4th, 5th, and 8th grade students from temporary "broadcast studios" within the museum.  AU students are currently teaching live lessons virtually, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, using various museum exhibits and artifacts.  This partnership has required much collaboration among AU students and faculty, local historians, and Frankton classroom teachers and administrators, providing multiple benefits to all concerned."
During a recent Zoom meeting of Indiana County Historians, Indiana Historical Society, and Indiana Historical Bureau staff, I shared this joint project of how a successful collaboration between the two Anderson, Indiana, educational organization/institutions has overcome the Covid crisis negativity by creating a positive that benefits our local schools.  Needless to say, it was greeted with much enthusiasm and with discussion to expand to other counties with institutions of higher learning.



Other dates and events

Bicentennial Exhibits at Museum

The Museum of Madison County History has newly installed exhibits specifically relating to the county's bicentennial.  Exhibits include "Made in Madison County,"  "Pioneers and Prehistory," "Veterans Hall of Honor," and "Arena of Champions."
Exhibits are open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.




The Madison County Historical Society, due to increased expenses, has decided to raise the membership dues for the Society.  The majority of the dues have been held at its present level for about 13 years.  Beginning immediately, single membership dues will be $25.00 and family memberships will be $40.00.  Please be aware that membership dues will be due in December and January for the year 2021.  For those who wish to mail your dues to us, please go to our membership page.  Thank you so much for your cooperation and understanding as we go forward into the new year.  If you have any questions and/or comments, please call the office at 765-683-0052.


Stephen T. Jackson, Madison County Historian, has embarked upon a new history series that will be published occasionally in the Herald Bulletin and in the Madison magazine.  Please be looking for these articles about our county.
Also, please note that Steve has written another county history book, titled "Historic Places in a County Called Madison".  The coffee table book is available for purchase at The Herald Bulletin.
For Steve, he is in his element when asked a question and when giving one of his special speeches about the county's history.  If you have a chance to be present at one of these events, take it and enjoy the time spent learning new things about the county.  You will not be disappointed.


Everyone anywhere can join our Society.  Join us today.

Looking for an ancestor in Madison County?  Let us help.

Sign up for our eNewsletter here and keep up-to-date with all of our activities.

Have a special talent or interested in a project?  Come volunteer with us.



Madison County  Historical Society
The Madison County Historical Society is an all volunteer organization.  Our goal is to preserve the history of our rich heritage through the use of exhibits, speaking engagements, tours of interesting and educational destinations, cataloging artifacts, and providing a safe place for historical items and documents. 

Contact Us:  15 West 11th Street, P. O. Box 696, Anderson, Indiana 46015-0696,, Office:  765-683-0052
Open Hours:  Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays;  9 am to 3:30 pm.  Exhibit Hours:  10 am to 3:00 pm