The Madison Roundhouse

Madison was once well known for an unusual landmark called "the little roundhouse". It was built in the 1880's, over the well that supplied the town's water needs. The well pump was a double hand-lever pump, operated on the order of a railway handcar.

The octagon-shaped building was erected while Captain John B. Floyd, a Civil War veteran, was mayor of Madison.  The Building was located on the south side of the railroad tracks and caused considerable comments from train passengers and others traveling through the community.  Above the well was constructed the odd-shaped, one story building, perched on top of eight foot stilts. The roundhouse served as the city hall and many activities were held there including elections, card playing and hair cutting when the barber visited once a week. A stairway led to the tiny offices.  Unfortunately, this historic landmark was sold and dismantled about 1938. The foundation still stands in downtown Madison next to the former police station.

At one time Madison's economy depended on cotton. Practically all businesses were directly related in one way or another to this product. Cotton remained all important until the late 1950's when Redstone Arsenal was reactivated. Since that time cotton planting has declined steadily.  Madison's area population remained steady over a period of many years with little variation between four and five hundred. Businesses remained about the same with later additions of service stations and a telephone office. Madison did not see any appreciable growth until 1955. At that time Redstone Arsenal began to enlarge and the population began a steady increase. Lands were surveyed for modern subdivisions the first of which was called Hughes Heights, in 1956. By 1957, Madison officials were instigating modern improvements for the town. Modem curbs and gutters were installed as well as street lights, and the city purchased its first police car.

The reproduction roundhouse was built in 1986 to coincide with the first street festival. Most of the supplies and labor were donated. Today it is operated as a museum of Madison.