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Experience unique and never-before-seen spaces in historic downtown Madison!

The Loft Tour, hosted by Madison Main Street, is a biennial event that is held every other year in downtown Madison. This event is not only a fundraiser for Madison Main Street, but it is also a chance to see downtown from a new perspective.

Loft Tour sites range from polished and fully furnished or renovated spaces to completely raw, untouched floor plans, full of potential. The goal of the Loft Tour is to engage the community with the upper stories or spaces tucked away in downtown Madison.

The 2023 tour consisted of 8 spaces in downtown buildings that were highlighted along with the building's history. The sites on the 2023 tour were a true reflection of preservation, potential, and our community.

2023 Loft Tour Sites:

  • 232 E Main – Fine Threads + Little People’s Boutique

  • 209 E Main – Mad Flea

  • 209 W Main - Kentuckiana Mortgage

  • 111 E Second St - The Chandler Hotel

  • 104 W 3rd St - Washington Fire House

  • 314 W Main - Rusted Roots

  • 835 W Main – Old Madison Apothecary Building

  • 128-130 E Main - Crawdaddy Music

232 E Main – Fine Threads + Little People’s Boutique

This historic building on Main Street in Madison has a diverse past as a wholesale and retail dealer in groceries and dry goods. Originally owned by John J. Craig, it underwent expansions and renovations over the years. Nicholas Horuff took over the location and opened a successful dry goods store. The building later served as a department store under different names until it became "Main Street Village." Today, it houses various retail stores, including the Little People Boutique and Fine Threads maintaining its significance in Madison's retail history.

209 E Main – Mad Flea

Built around 1880, the three-story Italianate building at 209 E. Main St. has a rich history of housing various businesses. Notably, the longest-standing business was the J F Wells & Co. furniture store, owned by Frank Wells, who lived above the store with his family. What made this store unique was its association with the Vail family and funeral home; it not only sold furniture but also offered caskets. The building's architecture remains an excellent example of the Italianate style. This building is now home to The Mad Flea since 2019, a premier flea market and antique store.

209 W Main - Kentuckiana Mortgage

Built in 1875 in the popular Italianate architectural style, this historic building has served a variety of purposes over the years. Originally a grocery store, this building later became the Drake N. T. & Co. stationery store, offering pianos, organs, wallpaper, and newspapers, in addition to sewing notions. During its transition to a notions store, a rear frame addition was made, which was later extended into a two-story addition to accommodate a billiards hall. In more recent times, the building housed an insurance agency, the OVO Café, and Kentuckiana Mortgage, its current occupant.

111 E Second St - The Chandler Hotel

111 E. 2nd St. boasts a remarkable history dating back to the early 19th century. Over the years, the building served as a livery stable, horse-related businesses, a bottling plant, and a newsprint warehouse for The Madison Courier. In 2022, Dan and Matt Chandler purchased the historic structure with a vision to create a boutique hotel. The Chandler Hotel opened its doors in 2023, preserving much of its original charm while featuring a contemporary design, a rooftop terrace, and themed suites. The Chandler Hotel stands as part of Madison's rich history, offering guests a unique and memorable stay.

104 W 3rd St - Washington Fire House

104 W. 3rd St. is home to the Washington Fire Company #2. It was founded on Jan. 23, 1846, making it the city’s second oldest volunteer fire company. The 1850 building is the oldest continuously used firehouse in Indiana. Originally utilizing horse-drawn hose wagons, the fire company later acquired a steam pumper in 1860 and a mechanized truck in 1916. Over the years, the building underwent several modifications to accommodate modern fire-fighting equipment, and the second floor served as a social and community center.

314 W Main - Rusted Roots

This two-story Italianate-style commercial building, constructed around 1870, features a cast iron storefront made by the Madison Machine Company in the early 20th century. It has served as a residence, business, and sometimes both simultaneously. It was once a thrift shop. In more recent times, it housed a beauty shop named Jean's Beautiful People and later became Wheeler's Barber Shop, owned by John Ellsworth Wheeler, a veteran and barber of 53 years. Currently, Kim Kidwell owns the building, operating Rusted Roots Hair Lounge, preserving the legacy of previous barbers and hair stylists.

835 W Main – Old Madison Apothecary Building

835 W. Main Street has a rich history as a drugstore dating back to around 1850. It changed ownership and names over the years, with notable proprietors like C.E. Heberhart and William H. Wetzel. In 1956, Robert L. Perry and Brooks E. Davis took over, later becoming Perry & Dunbar. The drugstore continued through 2006 and was eventually sold to the Groves, operating as Madison Apothecary until 2022. With a remarkable history of over 170 years, it was one of Indiana's longest-running drugstores. This space is newly renovated and ready to welcome a new business into the downtown district!

128-130 E Main - Crawdaddy Music

128-130 E. Main St., is a two-story brick Italianate-style commercial building dating back to around 1880. The storefront features a mid-20th century Art Moderne addition with blue and grey porcelainized enamel steel panels and aluminum trim. Noteworthy architectural elements include a low-side gable roof with decorative sheet metal window cornices and a bracketed roof cornice. After a fire in the 1970's, Crawdaddy Music took occupancy in 1987. Owned by Rob and Dawn Houze, the music store expanded over the years, offering instruments and music lessons to the Madison community for several decades.

Credits and Sources:

Personal assistance was provided by Camile Fife at the Jefferson County Public Library and John Nyberg at the Jefferson County History Center.

  • Harry Lemon Photo Collection, Jefferson County History Center, and the Jefferson County Public Library

  • Madison City Directories 1850-2018, Jefferson County History Center and the Jefferson County Public Library

  • Madison Local Newspapers Digital Access

  • Jefferson County History Center notes on individual buildings.

  • Jefferson County Library notes on individual buildings.

  • Photos Credited to Stephanie Hellman, Nice SHots! Photography

  • In-depth histories were drafted by Madison Main Street volunteers: Laura Hodges, Brooke Peach, Sharyn Whitman, and Harold Lakeman.

We can't wait to see you in downtown Madison!


Written By:

Austin Sims

Executive Director | Madison Main Street Program

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