Historic sites seek volunteers
gear up for 2005 tourism season
(April 2005) April signals the opening of Historic
Madison Inc.s four museum properties and the official start of
tourism season in Madison, Ind., and to celebrate, HMI held a volunteer
docent orientation Tuesday, March 22 at its John T. Windle Memorial
About 50 people attended the reception, which featured short presentations
by representatives from all of the countys historic properties.
Most seek volunteers to work at their properties or during special events.
John Staicer, HMIs executive director, led the session and introduced
each speaker. Following is a brief summary:
by Don Ward
city projects administrator
Betsey Vonderheide speaks to the
docent group March 22 at the
John T. Windle Auditorium.
HMI owns operates and maintains 16 properties.
Four are available for tours from April to October and rely on volunteer
docents: the Judge Jeremiah Sullivan House, Dr. William D. Hutchings
Office and Hospital, the Francis Costigan House and the Schroeder Saddle
Tree Factory and Museum. Staicer announced that local historic property
directors planned to revive the combination ticket that will allow people
to purchase one discounted ticket to visit several properties. The combo
ticket should be available in May at the Visitors Center and at the
historic sites. HMI will continue to offer its own combo ticket for
the Sullivan and Dr. Hutchings properties. More docents are needed.
Call (812) 265-2967.
Joe Carr, executive director of the Jefferson County Historical
Society, asked for more help in staffing the Madison Train Depot museum.
He said the societys docents meet monthly and he announced a series
of programs for this year. He said the Gatehouse Museum at the entrance
of the Madison State Hospital would again be open this year on a limited
basis. Call (812) 265-2335.
Phyllis Stephens of the Lanier State Historic Site announced
that the annual Lanier Days, a celebration of J.F.D. Laniers 1840s
period, had been moved from May to June 18 this year. The Lanier Home,
owned and operated by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, began
charging an entrance fee last September and will continue to do so this
The home will be open Friday through Sunday only beginning April 1,
and then Tuesday through Sunday beginning May 3. Adult admission is
$4, seniors $3.50 (age 60-over) and children $2 (ages 3-12). Group rates
are available. Stephens also oversees the Lanier-Madison Visitors Center
gift shop and exhibit area inside the tourism office on First Street.
Call (812) 265-3526.
Jae Breitweiser, owner and director of the Historic Eleutherian
College, gave a brief history of the property, located in Lancaster
just a few miles north of Madison. She described recent developments
that will tie the college to the National Park Services Network
to Freedom national Underground Railroad initiative, and to the
newly opened National Freedom Center in Cincinnati. Call (812) 273-9434.
Nancy Gruner, board president of the Madison Main Street Program,
announced the nonprofit organization was planning free concerts at the
Broadway Fountain on the third Friday of each month in May, June and
July, and on the second Friday of August to avoid a conflict with the
Madison Ribberfest. Call (812) 265-3270.
Mel Vonderheide is a paid director of the Lanier-Schofield House
and gave a brief history of the structure that is the birthplace of
the Indiana Free and Accepted Masons. James F.D. Laniers parents
once lived there. Call (812) 265-4759.
Also speaking were Linda Lytle, executive director of the Madison Area
Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Betsey Vonderheide, representing
Madison Mayor Al Huntington, who could not attend.
Lytle announced two new initiatives under way that she hopes will help
bring tourists to town: a grant totaling $89,000 to create an Underground
Railroad tour featuring the Historic Eleutherian College among other
sites, and an Arts Trail being organized by the Ohio River Scenic Byways
group that will include Madison.
Vonderheide praised the existence of the new Main Street Comfort Station,
which offers restrooms, vending machines and brochure racks for tourists
on Main Street.
She said a second comfort station is to be built this summer on the
north side of Vaughn Drive at the foot of Central Avenue. It will be
part of a longterm plan by the city to develop a band shell and amphitheater
on the lot where the Maddox Tobacco Warehouse once stood. Grading of
the land will take place this year, but the money has yet to be obtained
for the amphitheater.
Back to April 2005 Articles.