Created By: Madison Main Street Program
This beautiful building has served the community as a dental office for forty years. When Dr. Robert Wall opened his practice here in 1977, he decided to live upstairs. That was the customary thing to do when these buildings were constructed back in the 1880s. Owners often lived above their businesses. Talk about a short commute! Eventually Dr. Wall found another place to live, but kept seeing clients in his office.
Anticipating his retirement, Dr. Wall began looking for another dentist to serve the community. He hit the jackpot when he found not one, but two!
Dr. Lauren Spencer and her husband, Dr. Alex Marti, joined the practice to form Madison Dental Health Partners. Dr. Spencer graduated from The University of Louisville School of Dentistry in 2012 and is a second generation dentist following in her father’s footsteps. Dr. Marti graduated from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in 2012 and the School of Dentistry four years later. When the couple purchased the building, they too decided to move upstairs.
The couple completely updated each room, keeping the features of the historic home, while giving the spaces a fresh style.
They took on several challenges to make the space work for them. The fireplace opening was here, but it lacked a mantel. Lauren and Alex found the perfect one at a sale in New Albany for $100. Many older homes didn’t have closets in the bedroom, so they purchased storage units to give them the space they needed.
Looking through City Directories, there were previous occupants in this building who also lived upstairs and worked downstairs. In 1880, William and Mary Child made their home above their drug store.
These ads promoted some of the popular cure-alls of the time. More than likely, Mr. Child stocked his shelves with some of these treatments. In 1880 he was 41 years and had already lived an interesting life. Like many people in Madison, he was born in Europe and immigrated to the United States. England was his native country. When he was 25, he answered the call to join the Union Army’s Company K 50th Ohio Infantry.
According to the following account, Child’s regiment fought in many famous Civil War battles.
The 50th Ohio Regiment went to Kentucky in September and engaged in the battle of Perryville, with a loss of 165 killed and wounded. They performed garrison duty in Kentucky and Tennessee until January 1, 1864, when they marched to Knoxville, where they experienced severe hardships. In May the regiment joined Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's Atlanta campaign, taking part in all the battles. Then they moved after Confederate General John Bell Hood into Tennessee, participating in the battles of Franklin and Nashville where Hood was defeated.
The Roster of Ohio Troops indicates that Child left the Army in 1865. At home waiting for him was his wife, Mary and their two children, Lottie and Harry. A third child, Shelbia was born 8 years after his return. It seems that things were going well for the family until death of their daughter in 1879.
The following description was printed in a Madison paper:
Death of S. Lottie Child
"We are pained to announce the sudden death, at 11 o'clock last night, of Lottie, eldest daughter of William and Mary H. Child. She had been sick for some months, but her disease, consumption, being of a lingering character it was expected that many months would elapse before her death, and it was still more fondly hoped that she would rally and recover. The rupture of a pulmonary abscess however, precipitated death at the hour named. She was in her twentieth year. Lottie will be missed by a circle of friends, who knew her to be the embodiment of purity, modesty and character. She was of considerable natural beauty, and added to that the loveliness of her character; it is no wonder that so many friends, old and young, were attracted to her. THE STAR deeply sympathizes with the friends in their bereavement."
On a brighter note, Mary and William celebrated their 25th Silver Wedding Anniversary in 1884.
The newspaper listed the many of the gifts they were given from friends and family. These pictures of silver items are from that time period to give you an idea of what the Child’s may have received for their silver anniversary celebration.
Pair of silver and glass bud holders, Mr. Ben Abberger and wife
Ornamental thermometer, Mary Ernst
Ornamental frame for panel photo, Addie Henry
Panel photo of the late John L. McFetridge, by his mother
Silver thimble, Clara Grebe
Handsome silver cake stand, Mrs. Lon Crozier and Mrs. Charles Hemmerle
Silver soup ladle, Mr. and Mrs. Will Toler
Silver butter knife, Mrs. Lea Robinson
Silver butter dish, Rev. Julian and wife
Pair vases, Mrs. Kate Williams and Mary Keeney
Silver sugar spoon and cream spoon, Misses Alice and Stella Grayson.
Silver card receiver, Misses Mary and Sue McFetridge
Silver spoon holder, Miss Maggie Stackhouse
Set of silver spoons, Mr. Harry Child
Silver gray spoon, Mrs. R. and Misses Kate and Mary Pattie.
Silver cake knife, Mr. R. McWilliams and wife
Silver fruit dish, Mr. Joe Hitz and wife
Half dozen large, handsome napkins, Mrs. J. Zimmerman
Half dozen silver tea spoons, Mrs. Laura Dellett, of Indianapolis
Silver presents, Mr. and Mrs Dr. J.W. Conway
Silver pickle castor, Mr. Ben Temple and wife
Silver alarm bell, Mrs. Al Lund
Pair of Silver butter knives, Mrs. Wm. Ling
Pair silver napkins rings, Mr. Wm. G. Heberhart
Pair napkins rings, Mr. Harry Griffiths, of Cincinnati
Napkins rings, by Mrs. Sames Crozier
And then the article ended with this:
OH MY . . . she had a lot of polishing to do!!
Time went on and Mr. Child continued in his profession. Nine years later, at the age of 54, he passed away.
His widow filed for and received a government pension for her husband’s service in the Civil War. She moved to Butlerville, Indiana to live with family. Their son Harry stayed on in Madison. When he was 27 he took up the barber trade and continued in that profession until his death in 1924 at the age of 63.
Through the years, Madison’s Main Street buildings have served as both home and business spaces for a continuous stream of people. It’s a cycle that keeps the downtown a vibrant place to live and work. Lauren and Alex are an important part of keeping that tradition alive.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Loft Tour