Created By: Madison Main Street Program
Madison’s municipal seat of government is a combination of three historic buildings: a 1926 Classic Revival limestone building on the corner of Main and West Street and the two adjoining 3-story Italianate buildings next to it. Now let’s go back in time and see how it all began.
Way back in 1853, seven years before the Civil War, this three-story building on the corner of Main and West was the Indiana Bank. It was one of many retail and residential building lining the prosperous streets of Madison. Ten years later, under the guidance of Bank President E. G. Whitney, it received a state charter from the U. S. Treasury and became the First National Bank of Madison.
Jump ahead a 60+ years to 1926
The former 3 story Italianate bank building was torn down and this new limestone building replaced it. Do you recognize it as the first half of City Hall? Now let’s speed ahead to 1948.
It was post-World War II in America and prosperity was taking hold. Do you remember that there was another 3-story building next to the Main Street bank? That was acquired, demolished and another limestone building was constructed. This served as the location for the Jefferson County Insurance Agency until May of 1963 when Bank President Gene Stunkel made a big announcement.
That’s Mr. Stunkel in the center of the picture. The bank, now called First Bank of Madison, was about to undergoing extensive remodeling. The new design would remove the false ceiling to reveal the original 25-foot ceilings in the 1926 structure and eliminate the interior walls between the two buildings to combine the Jefferson County Insurance Agency with all other departments in the bank. The leisure suit worn by C. E. “Birch” Johnson was very much in style.
Notice what used to be the bank teller area? Today, when you step inside the City Council chambers, you’ll see how much it still looks the same.
But wait, there’s more! Let’s move ahead in time to 1972. That’s the year the two historic building to the left of the bank were acquired to accommodate more offices and meeting rooms.
While on the 2nd floor, you will see what used to be the bank Board of Directors Room. Take a look at the table and carpeting.
The last chapter in this story began in 1990. That’s the year City Hall moved to this location. Today, the former “Customer Lounge Area” is the “Citizen’s Lounge Area” ringed by the municipal offices.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Loft Tour