Madison County Historical Society


     The Museum of Madison County History is now open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.  Appointments are no longer necessary.  The front door is now open and you are welcome to come on into the office.  You will be greeted by one of our volunteers.  Proceedures that we had in place are now optional.  If you would like to wear a mask, please do so or social distancing is up to you also.  Our mantra:  If you do feel sick, just go on home and come back later. 

     You are welcome to come and see our state-of-the-art exhibit, "WW II County Heroes and Home Front" and our new permanent display of "Native Americans of Madison County."  Model trains and dollhouses are available during your visit.  Just ask your guide.

     We appreciate your understanding and patience in this unique time.  Our wish is to make your visit as enjoyable as possible while keeping you and our staff safe.

Thank you,

Melody Hull,  MCHS President


 ......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. 


2021 Little 500 Festival Hot Rod and Classic Car Show

     With 115 registered participants, the Little 500 Festival Hot Rod and Classic Car Show held Saturday, May 22, was a tremendous success.  The show was hosted by the Madison County Historical Society for the benefit of its Museum of Madison County History.  The competition had a celebratory atmosphere through out the day.

     Beautifully restored, high quality collector cars and their proud owners brought an estimated 400 smiling spectators to the Dickmann Town Center on Meridian Street in Anderson.  The weather was pleasant, restaurants were open, food trucks were selling their wares, rock & roll classics were playing, and the museum had over 100 guests come through the door.

     It could not have been a better day for the event.  Indeed, show officials received many "thank you's" from car owners and visitors alike for their hard work in organizing and staging the event.

     MCHS extends a big THANK YOU to all of our works and volunteers.  Thank you to the expert judges to runners and assistants, the docents and data processors, the parking directors, gate guardians and 50-50 barkers.

     Our sponsors this year:  THANK YOU!!  

The City of Anderson

Mayor Tom Broderick

The Little 500 Festival Committee

The Anderson/Madison County Visitors Bureau

Nick's Auto

Tim Allred's Collision Center

Art's Trim Shop

Office Depot

SK Superior Kreations



2021  500 Festival  MCHS Volunteers

THANK YOU for making our day a success.



The Museum has put up for raffle, a lovely dollhouse that some lucky person will take home.  The raffle will drawn July 26, 2021 at the membership meeting.  Those who wish to participate can purchase tickets for $3.00 or 2 for $5.00. 

For additional information, please call 765-683-0052 and ask for Melody or Diana.

Jewel Cottage



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.


The Mohawk Comes In

An L-4b at work in Anderson just before the end came for it.  This Mohawk was retired in June, 1956.(James C. Suhs Collection)

Train and Dollhouse Exhibits Open

The Christmas 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.

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.

ZOO on the MOVE

Before the Great Depression, thousands visited the attraction at three different sites in Anderson

Shadyside Park was the location of the first zoo in Anderson.  The zoo opened- formally- on Labor Day, 1925.


1929 view of the boat dock on Little Killbuck Creek at Zoo Island.  The property was along the east side of Alexandria Pike, where the entrance was located.

     It happened in the early part of 1925 when residents of Anderson learned of plans being formulated for the establishment of a zoo withing the city.
     The North Side Community Club met to discuss plans for what would become a zoo that, ultimately, would be located in three different places from 1925 through 1933.  The zoo had its formal opening in Shadyside Park on Labor Day 1925.
     By 1927, space had become a problem at the park, and Bert Julian, one of the original planners and the driving force behind the zoo, announced that he would open a zoo at 1707 Broadway adjacent to his business, the Anderson Tent and Awning Company.  The zoo was at the northwest corner of Broadway and Birch Street.  With a 150-foot frontage, it extended west to Silver Street.  The Anderson Zoo and Amusement Part was officially opened July 1, 1928.  The Sunday before officially opening about 8,000 people had come to the zoo.  It was estimated that 30,000 people had visited the zoo during the spring.
     For a small price, many Anderson children spent their summer afternoons enjoying the wonders of the animal kingdom.  To enhance his animal attraction, Julian added a merry-go-round, skating rink and a 3-foot deep wading pool. 
     Once again space became a problem, and Julian began searching for a suitable place with more ground.  In February 1929, he obtained a six-month lease with a purchase option on the Beall farm off Alexandria Pike north of Anderson along Killbuck Creek.
     As soon as weather permitted, he moved his zoo to the site, which he called Zoo Island Park.  The zoo would occupy the low land along Killbuck and Little Killbuck creeks, with amusement features along the roads.  The additional space allowed for the installation of a fear pit and dens for wild cats.  These were excavated from the face of a hill along Little Killbuck Creek.  In that same area were cages for monkeys and other primates.  The slopes also contained winter quarters and outdoor lion cages.
     Julian utilized the 3,000 feet of stream with the addition of pleasure boats for hire.  There was parking for an estimated 1,500 vehicles.  Also, a small lake was created from Little Killbuck Creek with a dock for boats and fishing.  A large toboggan slide was installed, emptying riders into the creek.  For entertainment, Julian constructed a merry-go-round and a skating rink.
     A company was formed to guide and finance the zoo;  however, it failed to maintain the enterprise.  Public interest had waned, along with disposable income, during the Great Depression.  By 1933, the park had gone out of business and Bert Julian's idea had come at an inopportune time.
Article written by Madison County Historian Stephen T. Jackson



Little Log Cabin on Mill Street

     Sometime in the 1830's it is believed a log cabin was built west of Pendleton.  Also, it is believed, the cabin was moved sometime around 1940 to Mill Street in Pendleton where it was occupied, on occasion, by local persons.  

     It sat vacant for a number of years until being acquired by the Town of Pendleton about two years ago with the idea to place it within Falls Park. 

     Madison County Historical Society member, Jay Brown, was contacted to disassemble, move, and reassemble the old cabin on Falls Park property.  Jay stated the cabin is quite unusual because in its original design it was "L" shaped, a design he had not seen around here before.


For more information or if you wish to donate to this project, please call 765-778-8444.

Article and pictures  by Stephen  T. Jackson,

Historian, Madison County Historical Society

     A site was selected near the north entrance to the park and construction was begun in the summer of 2019.  Jay enlisted help of many, all volunteers with various talents and local construction firms, to rebuild the cabin with modifications to make it a place that could be used and appreciated.  They call themselves "The Pendleton Log Cabin Project."

     When completed, the cabin will be available for weddings on the back porch, receptions, reunions, family gatherings and other social events which can be scheduled through the Superintendent of Falls Park.

     Jay had had many willing hands assist him.  One is the Madison County Historical Society's 2019 Elwood H. Phillips Historical Award recipient, Bob Post, who undertook the building of the chimney and fireplace.

     Congratulations to Jay Brown and Bob Post and to all who are so willingly helping to preserve this unique piece of Madison County history.




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.
The series is titled "What's in a Name?"  Steve brings to light the early organizing of the county, the people and interesting place names like Toad, Hardscrabble and Buzzardville.  You can follow the link here for the first two articles.
For Steve, a question or statement may lead to a subject that he becomes exceptionally curious about.  When that happens, as it did, with names and places, you know you will get a detailed and informative program!  That certainly is true with this series on townships.  For Steve's "Fall Creek Township" live presentation at the Museum, you can go here.



Everyone anywhere can join our Society.  Join us today.

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

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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 4 pm.  Exhibit Hours:  10 am to 3:30 pm